Sean is Founder, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer at Anthemis. He combines a powerful mix of entrepreneurial, investment and corporate experience and is widely recognized as a leading independent thinker on the future of Financial Services, informed by his many years as an early stage investor and senior executive in capital markets and investment banking.
He is the author of The Park Paradigm, and serving as non-executive director on the board of a number of high growth companies, Sean has a proven track record of successfully investing in and advising innovative and disruptive startups.
A founding investor in innovative companies such as Betfair, The Climate Corporation (WeatherBill), Markit and an early investor in Zoopla, before founding Anthemis Group, Sean was part of the Global Markets Management Committee at Dresdner Kleinwort where he ran a number of businesses including their ground-breaking Digital Markets initiative.
He was instrumental in driving the introduction and adoption of electronic book building in the European fixed income markets in early 2000s and authored the seminal “AmazonBay” video exploring the future of finance in 2005.
Areas of expertise
Ventureship, Capital markets, Financial Services innovation
What is the most important lesson you have ever learned?
Success in life as in business is all about people. Associating with great people doesn’t guarantee good outcomes but creates the conditions that allow good outcomes and makes great outcomes possible. And although identifying great people is very subjective I’ve learned that focusing on character, passion and open-mindedness, and running from hubris is a useful heuristic.
Why focus on positive social impact?
Besides the obvious – our continued survival and happiness depends on creating conditions that allow all of humanity to live in dignity – focusing on positive social impact leads to investing in and building more resilient companies and higher long term value creation. Businesses that create positive social impact are “anti-fragile” and tend to attract great talent and to build sustainable competitive positions.
What is so important about Financial Services in Growth Markets?
Finance is the nervous system of our economies and societies, as such if such systems are under developed, broken or simply non-existent, it is impossible to create or maintain a healthy society. The technological revolution we have experienced in the last few decades has created a unique opportunity in Growth Markets to leapfrog traditional (Western) financial systems and infrastructure and provide excellent, modern financial products and services to consumers and businesses in these markets, irrespective of their current wealth. This will create a virtuous circle of healthier and successful economies, which will in turn drive better and more successful Financial Services companies, and so on.