Duncan Morrison – Profile

Summary

Duncan has worked for over twenty years as an SME owner/manager, and has experienced the full SME business lifecycle, starting his own IT business from scratch, developing it over the best part of two decades before negotiating a trade sale with a UK based plc as his own exit strategy.

During that time he has developed considerable first-hand knowledge about how to survive and overcome most of the growth problems and strategic issues facing SME managers. More recently he has specialised in helping his clients to raise growth funding, via both equity investment and most forms of available debt options. He has built up a large number of relationships with lenders and investors with available funds for growing SME’s. He has also invested personally as a business angel and understands the investment process from both sides.

A lot of Duncan’s time is spent working with clients to assess their real funding needs and to prepare them to engage effectively and successfully with lenders and investors.

Key skills: A solid and proven understanding about what are the most appropriate funding options for an SME, and how to successfully secure external funding. This can include debt or equity finance, or a mixture of both, but almost always requires a comprehensive assessment of the financial needs of the business, followed by a period of preparation for investment. Duncan has an IT background, but has successfully worked in many business sectors and considers himself to be sector agnostic. He is an FCA registered CF30 and has gained the ifs School of Finance/NACFB qualification ‘Diploma in Commercial Finance’.

Career

Harting Finance Ltd, 2009 – present: 3 years after the acquisition of his own IT business

Duncan returned to his roots in the SME sector, and subsequently worked as a non executive director in a new IT start-up. It was whilst fundraising during this period that Duncan formed Harting Finance Ltd to help new and fast growing businesses raise finance in an increasingly difficult economic climate. Harting Finance works with ambitious SME’s that have a compelling business proposition, strong growth potential, good management and who are looking to raise capital to develop their business to its full potential.

Ruffena Capital Ltd, 2013 – present: Duncan is a founding member, partner and shareholder in Ruffena Capital, which was formed from a group of leading associates at Beer & Partners Ltd, a leading business angel network. They provide access to funding and professional support services for high growth businesses. Duncan heads up the debt team at Ruffena.

The business has developed a comprehensive community of funding sources for both debt and equity, comprising investment funds, family offices, corporate and private investors (business angels), and debt providers, all who have an appetite for high growth unquoted investment opportunities up to circa £20M. Debt and equity are often integrated as part of an overall funding solution for clients.

Ruffena works very closely with clients to prepare them for investment/funding, and work collaboratively on the development of business plans, financial projections and cash flow forecasts. Ruffena is FCA authorised. www.ruffena.com

Beer & Partners Ltd, 2012 – 2013: Duncan had joined as an Associate with Beer & Partners Ltd in 2012, one of the largest business angel networks in the UK. This association gave his clients seeking between £100K and £3M of equity investment targeted exposure to over 1800 active high net worth private investors, and over 300 private and commercial funds. www.fundingforgrowth.co.uk. Beer & Partners ceased trading in 2013.

Direct Media Technology Ltd, 1983 – 2003, and as part of Skillsgroup plc, 2000 – 2003:

Duncan founded DMT in 1983 which became a solutions provider in the e-learning market, as well as a distributor of training content. This activity led to the development of their own web based Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS managed multi-media training delivery and tracked skills across a corporate intranet (or over the internet), and provided much of the key information needed for a large corporate to establish the return on their  training investment. The system sold widely into the corporate market in the UK, and also through an international reseller network. Continually developed over many years, the LMS also encompassed classroom based training delivery, and had the functionality to identify an employee’s skills gaps (mapped via competencies against their job role), and subsequently to schedule appropriate training outcomes through a variety of media. DMT was acquired by Skillsgroup plc in 2000, who were an IT training and consultancy company, primarily for access to the LMS and DMT’s customer base. Duncan served as one of three divisional directors at Skillsgroup plc until his departure in 2003 to work as a mentor with fast growing businesses in the SME sector.

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