Paul Teather – Pragmatica
The risk capitalist who is thrilled to be investing in Wales-based businesses.
Paul Teather’s journey from engineering graduate to technology-focussed risk capitalist may not seem like an obvious one. But looking back, the signs were there from the start. Paul’s first job was as a graduate engineer for British Gas, where he quickly realised it was the big projects that stimulated him, rather than the ones that were more self-contained.
“I realised it was the bigger picture projects that interested me most. So I volunteered for an internal transformation project that was about how British Gas would use technology to drive efficiency. As a result, I met a lot of external suppliers and consultants who shared best practices and emerging technologies being used by big gas companies across the world. That was when I found myself gravitating towards the technology and consulting sector.”
After British Gas came business software giant Oracle, where Paul worked for the product group, leading the market development and deployment of mobile and emerging technologies in to European clients. Again, he put his hand up to work on the biggest, most strategic problems – but the scope of the client challenges he could take on were naturally limited by the breadth of functionality of the products, and ultimately he found himself eager to solve more strategic and transformational challenges.
Paul’s desire to broaden his horizons saw him join multinational professional services firm KPMG. “At KPMG we were prepared to tackle pretty much any problem,” he says. “I found it really liberating to go and talk to customers about literally anything and identify things we could help solve. Usually, the solutions were about the application of technology, and I gravitated more and more towards digital transformation solutions. From there, I guess it became a natural progression to establish my own company.”
That company is Pragmatica Consulting, where Paul is Managing Partner. Now in its eighth year, Pragmatica is a hybrid consulting and investment company with an innovative approach to consulting – one that is based on investing in partnerships with clients, and sharing successes, rather than charging traditional consulting fees. Pragmatica got involved in Wales, and burgeoning Welsh businesses, about two years ago. It was a move that made sense on multiple levels for Paul.
“I was lucky enough to meet Ken Skates [Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure at Welsh Government] who told me about the vision Welsh Government has for the Welsh economy. I was really moved by what he had to say, and I felt it was a great time to get involved in Welsh business. The fact that government, academia, entrepreneurs and large enterprises are all collaborating to create a digital economy that will support future generations is really inspiring.”
A key factor for Pragmatica investing in Wales was identifying credible co-investment partners. Pragmatica have co-invested with Catalyst Growth Partners (a Wales based smart capital provider) and the Development Bank for Wales on a number of transactions over the past 2 years. “Expanding co-investment partners from both an Angel and Institutional perspective is a key focus going forward as well as building on the existing partnerships”
Already invested in a number of high-tech Wales-based businesses, Paul identifies BeTheSpark as something that can encourage even more entrepreneurs in Wales to make their mark. “Wales’ community of entrepreneurs are in a great position,” he says. “They are getting unbelievable encouragement through BeTheSpark, and in general there’s a tremendous level of support and funding available that quite honestly sets Wales apart and offers almost limitless potential.”
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