Finance Durham

Maven makes three new appointments to its North East team

Michael Vassallo, Michael Dickens and Emma Neal bring significant regional SME investment experience to Maven’s North East investment team 

Maven has recently appointed investment director Michael Vassallo from Newcastle-based FW Capital and investment manager Michael Dickens from Rivers Capital Partners, supported by marketing associate Emma Neal, who has also joined Maven from Rivers Capital.

These appointments, following the announcement of Maven’s appointment to manage the new £20m Finance Durham fund, will strengthen an established, highly experienced Northern investment team, which has been successfully investing in high growth SMEs across the region for almost 20 years. These new appointments will enhance Maven’s presence across the North East and enable Maven to work closely with SMEs and high growth businesses to help them achieve their growth plans.

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Michael Vassallo will be responsible for transacting new investments in the North East on behalf of Maven’s client funds, and joins from  FW Capital bringing more than 15 years’ experience of listed and private company analysis and fundraising to Maven’s experienced northern investment team. Since 2014 Michael has been a senior investment executive working on SME investment funds, where he has led on more than £10million of investments. Previously he was an associate director at Brewin Dolphin Corporate Broking and Advisory where he covered listed equities across a variety of sectors as an analyst, identifying investment opportunities for fund managers and advising companies on IPOs and capital raisings.

Michael Dickens will also be responsible for transacting new Maven investments in the North East, and joins from Rivers Capital Partners in Newcastle with more than six years’ experience of sourcing and completing debt and equity investments in SMEs across a wide range of sectors and at all stages of the business life cycle. At Rivers he held the position of fund manager of the £11m North East Angel Fund, making investments on behalf of the £7.5m Micro Loan fund. Michael has significant board level experience across a variety of industries within portfolio companies. 

Supporting the team will be marketing associate Emma Neal, who has joined Maven from Rivers Capital Partners in Newcastle. Emma has worked in investor relations and account manager roles with Rivers Capital and sister business Finance Tree since 2014, where she supported the investment team in helping SMEs raise finance and manage investment vehicles.

The £20m Finance Durham LP fund has been established by Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham working on behalf of Durham County Council. The fund can invest between £200,000 and £2m to support the growth of businesses, across a wide range of sectors, located in the county.

Michael Vassallo, Investment Director for Maven in the North East, said: “We are really excited to be strengthening the Maven brand across the North East, where Maven is already an established investor in SMEs and has a strong record of backing dynamic regional businesses. The firm’s strong record of backing innovative British businesses, and recent appointment to manage the Finance Durham fund, is an opportunity to work with some of the highest potential smaller companies in the region to deliver their growth aspirations.

As a team we bring an in-depth knowledge of the local SME sector, and a range of sector specialist knowledge, allied to the national resource of Maven’s UK business which is currently invested in over 50 high-growth SMEs. We look forward to working with Business Durham to invest this innovative new fund and support County Durham’s ambitious small businesses.”