Finance Durham

Maven’s Finance Durham Team

Our team has been investing in UK SMEs for almost 20 years, across a range of sectors and includes investment and portfolio executives from a wide range of professional and industry backgrounds. We build close working relationships with the senior management team of each company, to help the business fulfil its potential.

Michael Vassallo headshot

Michael Vassallo

Investment Director

Michael is responsible for new investments across the North East of England. He joined Maven in March 2017 having previously worked for FW Capital in Newcastle where he spent five years in their SME investment team leading transactions across the North East. Previously, Michael worked at Brewin Dolphin in Newcastle and London where he spent over eight years in the Investment Banking team working as an Associate Director on a range of listed company fund raisings.

Michael qualified as a Chartered Accountant (ACA) with Ernst & Young in 2002 having graduated from Oxford University with an MA (Hons) in Mathematics in 1999.

Michael Dickens headshot

Michael Dickens

Investment Manager

Michael is responsible for new investments across the North East of England. He joined Maven in March 2017 from Rivers Capital Partners in Newcastle, where he was a venture investor for over six years. Michael was previously responsible for the management of the £11m North East Angel Fund, and also made a number of investments on behalf of the £7.5m Micro Loan fund. His recent experience includes investments and board observer positions across a range of sectors, including manufacturing, engineering, automotive and app development.

Michael is IMC/CFA qualified. He has a PhD in Pharmacy from the University of Nottingham, and a Masters in Chemistry from the University of Leicester.

Emma Neal headshot

Alex Marsh

Investment Manager

Based in our Newcastle office, Alex is responsible for new investments across the North East of England.  He joined Maven in October 2017 from Northstar Ventures in Newcastle, where he was a venture investor and supported portfolio companies prepare for exits.  Alex previously worked in the Newcastle PwC Corporate Finance team for 6 years, where he advised on a broad range of M&A deals including private equity and corporate transactions.

Alex qualified with PwC as a Chartered Accountant (ACA) in 2011, having graduated from Newcastle University with a 1st class BA (Hons) degree in Geography in 2007.

Ben Jones

Investment Associate

Ben is working as an investment associate as part of Maven’s North East investment team. He graduated from Durham University in 2016 with a Bsc Hons in Biology and has recently completed an MSc in Finance at Newcastle University. During his studies he undertook internships in corporate finance at UBS, RBC capital markets, Liberum and Mazars.


Emma Neal

Marketing Associate

Emma works as a marketing associate in support of Maven’s North East investment team. She joined Maven in 2017, from Rivers Capital Partners in Newcastle. Emma had worked in investor relations and marketing 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.

Prior to joining Maven, Emma worked as a marketing assistant for The Sparkle PR Group in Monte Carlo, where she supported the Chief Marketing Officer, and also held former roles in brand & events management and business development.

Emma has a Business Management degree from The University of Northumbria and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. 

The Finance Durham Region

The Fund only invests in businesses currently located or set to relocate to County Durham at the time of investment. 

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