Ian Merricks

Ian Merricks


Founder of the Accelerator Academy, Ian is deeply involved in the UK start-up community and early stage investment space, as an investor, advisor, operator.

With 18 years’ experience within the Tech, Media & Telecoms market, its fair to say Ian is a serial entrepreneur. Ian has launched a music PR agency, 2 record labels, 16 radio stations (exited 2003), an academic contract publishing business (exited in 2007), a network of best-selling city guide books and websites (exited in 2009), a youth promotions agency, a B2B media planning and buying agency, a tech investment advisory business and of course, now the Accelerator Academy.

Along the way he has also worked with the boards of FTSE100 companies like EMAP, as well as IPC & The Wireless Group, as a commercial and corporate troubleshooter.

He is now a Partner in London’s leading TMT (Tech Media Telecoms) small cap investment brokerage; White Horse Capital LLP, which manages around £100m of Series A / B equity investments and M&A transactions each year, and as a firm is active in creating liquidity events and company restructuring for VC portfolio companies.

Since launching the Accelerator programme, Ian has spoken at numerous conferences including MOBIP, TechWorld, IP Expo and for the UK Business Angel Association, as well as directly to Government / BIS (receiving endorsement for the Academy from Mark Prisk MP, the Business Minister), UKTI and City Hall (where Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London directly supports the Academy). He has presented to the Icelandic Embassy, Antonio Tajani, the EU Commissioner for Industry and Enterprise and Isidro Laso Ballesteros, the Directorate Generale Information Society and Media of the European Commission about the importance of business acceleration programmes and international cooperation.

In December 2012, Ian addressed the Westminster Media Forum: ‘UK Tech Media - Investment, Skills and Growth’ on the specific topic of “Tech media sector investment - the role of angels, VCs and PE”, to an audience of 100 Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials and regulators, sharing the stage with Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade. Vince Cable subsequently commended the programme as “Outstanding”.

In its first 2 years the Accelerator Academy programme has supported 57 high growth start ups,through intensive training, mentoring from exited entrepreneurs (collective experience of £1bn+ of exits) and has assisted 71% of the fundraising start ups to attract investment; creating £40m of shareholder value (including Launchpad Recruits, Flockler, Fubar Radio, Marketplace Labs, CloudFind, Lutebox, Lloyd Mobile, Wooshping, Drillboard, Revision App, GoCarShare, Fluentify).
The Academy has to date been covered by the FT, City AM, Sunday Times, Fresh Business Thinking, Angel News, NESTA, Innovation Investment Journal, Virgin Media Pioneers, Startups.co.uk and Sky News.

Ian has judged entrepreneur competitions for UCL, Bright Ideas Awards and London Business Angels. He has evaluated entrepreneur applications for the Entrepreneur First programme, the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, Sweden’s Hyper Island Digital Media Management Masters Programme as well as Apps World Hackfest and he regularly lectures on commercialisation issues for UCL Advances’ Mobile Academy & the E-Challenge Finance Management programmes as an Honorary Associate.

Ian helped to launch the UK Technology Funding Gap White Paper for GLA / Barclays Bank and UKTI.

At a regulatory level Ian successfully lobbied HM Treasury for changes to the tax regime for seed investment, had input into the 2012 Budget on behalf of Entrepreneurs through Start Up Britain, and also for the Financial Services Industry through TheCityUK.

He has recently joined the Specialist Advisory Group of BCS Entrepreneurs, for the 72,000 membership base of the Chartered Institute for IT Professionals. He acts as Corporate Ventures Lead for TMT Connect and sits on the Investment Committee of the Startup Funding Club, a technology seed investment programme.

Ian writes a monthly column on early stage growth issues to an audience of 300,000 for Startups.co.uk, the number one website for start-ups. He is a panel expert for smallbusiness.co.uk supporting the launch of their Small Business Profit Club; an online membership service providing priority advice and support for the UK's 4.5 million businesses. Management Today voted Ian at No. 32 in the Top 50 business commentators to follow on Twitter.

In June 2013, Ian was invited to become an Advisory Board Member for the Cabinet Office’s £10m Social Incubator Fund, administered by the Big Lottery Fund, to provide recommendations to the Minister for Civil Society on which organisations to fund.

In early 2014, Ian joined the Advisory Council for Dell’s Centre for Entrepreneurs.

Also Ian has led a successful bid for the Accelerator Academy to create a pre-accelerator coaching programme co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Ian’s current focus is on uniting best-of-breed early stage support programmes, through The Accelerator Network, linked to a proposed £35m Accelerator Fund, to provide end-to-end support for high growth businesses, from Idea to Investment, from Seed to Series A, from Education to Exit.

Follow Ian on Twitter.