• John O’Neill

    Chairman

    John is a veteran in the IT industry having spent more than 30 years share holding, building, managing and selling IT businesses. By 2001, John had already built and sold his first three companies, Data Systems (Professional Systems) Ltd, Avenue Computers and Avenue Legal Systems. He became an early stage investor in a business start-up, Gowi Group Plc, and was instrumental in its rapid development and the acquisition of funds to grow the business, which eventually concluded in its successful sale to stock market-listed Bond International Software.

    He was a significant investor and part-time executive director in the business which became the Cloud Computing Centre using his considerable contacts to quickly build the business which was successfully sold in 2012 to the highly acquisitive data centre business, Six Degrees Group.

    John continues to be a non-executive director for several businesses, as well as the managing director of Strictly Education, a fast growing support services business to over 1,300 schools, which is a subsidiary of Bond International Software.

    John joins the Board of GOWI Ventures to bring his considerable talents to bear once more as a charismatic and energetic Chairman of the board.

    Email: John.Oneill@Gowiventures.co.uk

  • Mike Smart

    Director

    After a highly successful sales career working for Wang, Computers Inc. Mike went on to be instrumental in building Policy Management Systems Corporation (PMSC) - an international software provider to the insurance market - and was instrumental in building the business in Europe from some 13 people to well over 1,000.

    Mike left PMSC to create a new business start-up Gowi Group Plc, which he then grew through serial acquisitions to the point where it was ready to float on the London Stock Market. Just prior to this, the business was acquired by stock market listed Bond International Software.

    Gowi Group was built into a successful IT portfolio business through its acquisitions with interest in the public sector, human resources and payroll and the then, emerging, multi-media market.

    Following the acquisition by Bond, Mike set about developing a new start-up venture, Selfnet Holdings Group, where he has created a virtual insurance company processing model, delivering very significant cost reductions in a highly price sensitive market place.

    With Selfnet operating successfully in its own right, Mike has once again turned his attentions to development and acquisitions and has revitalised the Gowi name in GOWI Ventures. He joins the business at the outset to once again bring his drive and enthusiasm into running successful growing business.

    Email: Mike.Smart@Gowiventures.co.uk

  • Simon Hersh

    Corporate Finance Director

    Simon is an experienced financial manager and corporate finance specialist. He began his career as a graduate trainee with Marks and Spencer before leaving to set up his first business in the late 1980s. Since 2002 he has built a career as an entrepreneur and corporate financer specialising in the SME sector.

    Simon’s expertise in corporate finance and driving value into business has seen him become responsible for a substantial number of company restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, and fund raisings with an outage value of well over £120m.

    He currently acts as financial director for two companies in the educational services sector and has completed several business acquisitions and disposals on behalf of clients over the last 24 months through the operation of his own boutique corporate finance business.

    Simon’s experience over more than 25 years in business and business management enables him to operate in and make a significant difference to, businesses in many sectors, including IT, education services, food services, software technology and managed services.

    Email: Simon.Hersh@Gowiventures.co.uk

  • Robert J. Dearsley

    Marketing Director

    Bob has more than 20 years’ experience as a director and senior manager within the information and communications industries. He has worked for companies such as Cable and Wireless, A.T. & T. and Olivetti and latterly as the marketing director for a European software and systems reseller business based in Paris.

    He founded itpr in 1990 as a technology PR consultancy and since then the company has grown and flourished. itpr is one of the top 20 UK technology PR consultancies by revenue and in autumn 2012 was voted “Number 1” in the “Most rated Tech agency” in the PR Week survey of UK technology journalists.

    He is also a director of The B2B Marketing Laboratory, which was founded in 2012, and the business has a growing portfolio of B2B clients within professional services, channel partners and consultancies. Bob continues to help the senior execs of companies to build company profile in target markets, launch products, re-position and, most importantly, to drive sales enquiries.

    In addition, Bob has helped a variety of smaller businesses to raise their profile and as a result to raise second and third round funding, as well as helping the directors of many companies to exit their businesses through acquisition by larger businesses or competitors.

    Bob is a member of the alumni association of Kings College, University of London, he is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and spent three years as the Chair of the Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Group of the CIPR – winning CIPR Group of the year in his second year. Bob has also been a judge for five years on the CIPR’s Awards for Excellence in national PR and Social Media.

    Email: Bob.Dearsley@Gowiventures.co.uk

  • Jovica Bozic

    Director

    Jovica is a serial entrepreneur who has built businesses across the UK and Europe, with a primary focus in Eastern Europe. Jovica is a highly driven businessman with a firm grasp of the benefits of technological innovation.

    His expanding network of business operations includes: offshore software development, property development and IT recycling, together with a significant number of business investments in the UK market.

    Jovica was a co-founder of Gowi Group Plc which was acquired by stock market listed Bond International Software.

    Email: Jovica.Bozic@Gowiventures.co.uk