Our team

The SHAKE teams are committed to working with entrepreneurs to help build their business. Each member is giving their time and expertise to entrepreneurs taking on the challenges of climate change in agriculture and pushing the boundaries of food and farming.

Angela Karp

Programme Director
Angela is Director for Science Innovation, Engagement and Partnerships at Rothamsted Research. She is leading the Institute's overall strategy on external engagement and partnerships, and is developing new mechanisms for collaborative innovation, including a new accelerator (AgRIA) to co-develop innovative solutions with businesses to challenges in agri-food, and a farmer-led innovation programme. Angela has been instrumental in the creation of the SHAKE Climate Change entrepreneurship programme. Launched in June 2019, SHAKE Climate Change is specifically designed to attract entrepreneurs or start-ups who have developed early stage science or tech-based ideas that can have a significant impact on reducing climate change arising from agriculture, as well as become sustainable and socially responsible businesses within the agri-food sector. Angela's career includes more than 35 years' experience in crop genetics and breeding for food and bio-renewables. She has over 130 refereed publications, co-authored a book on genetics, and is co-editor of books on genetics and bioenergy. In 2007, she received the Royal Agricultural Society of England Research Medal and, in 2008, the Alfred-Toepfer Prize for her research achievements.

Nigel Titchener-Hooker

Programme Steering Group Member
Professor Nigel Titchener-Hooker, Dean of UCL Engineering directs the EPSRC Future Manufacturing Hub for Targeted Healthcare, which involves collaboration with an international consortium of 40 companies and is valued at over £45M. His particular research interests are centred on the delivery of whole bioprocess solutions. He pioneered studies in the area of process-business decision making. Nigel is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and led the Department of Biochemical Engineering at UCL to win a Queens Anniversary Trust Award for its pioneering studies underpinning the bioprocessing industry in 2014. He holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering from UMIST and a PhD in Biochemical Engineering from UCL.

Krista Friis

Programme Manager
With over 15 years of experience in business development, Krista brings an entrepreneurial mindset, strategic planning experience and project management capacity. She helped lead the international expansion of a successful SaaS business and, working with clients to grow in the Canadian and international markets, she has advised 75+ companies from climate and sustainability related sectors. She has worked alongside founders, owners, and C-level executives in ventures ranging from start-ups to multimillion dollar businesses in translating strategic objectives into actionable plans.

Nigel Culkin

Programme Steering Group Member
Dr. Nigel Culkin is a Senior Academic Manager at the University of Hertfordshire (UH). He has attracted in excess of £24M investment to help implement the UH Enterprise Strategy, which has created or sustained over 75 enterprise posts at UH. He has been a Non-Executive Director/Advisor on a number of early-stage ventures. He is primarily involved in major projects today and recently concluded Scale-Up projects in Vietnam and the six Western Balkan states. Nigel is a regular contributor at the UNCTAD Expert Meeting on entrepreneurship and building productive capacities, held every year in Geneva. He has published widely in the areas of small business leadership, entrepreneurial universities, graduate enterprise and digitalization in the creative industries. In 2014, Nigel was elected to the post of President at the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE); and, in 2015 invited to join the prestigious Peer Review College at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). His latest book, Tales of Brexits Past and Present: Understanding the Choices, Threats and Opportunities In Our Separation from the EU, continues to sell well and has been featured on Sky News, BBC World Service, R5L and LBC Radio. His new book entitled, Entrepreneurial Capitalism is set to be published later in 2020.

Claudio Marinelli

Programme Steering Group Member and Mentor
Dr. Claudio Marinelli - CEO of Cambridge Photon Technology, Cambridge, UK - has 20 years of experience in founding, managing and investing in technology start-up companies, in sectors such as advanced materials, telecommunication, cleantech and medical technologies. Claudio's expertise includes restructuring, fund raising and transfer of technology to an acquirer (as CEO of Eight19, Cambridge, UK); venture growth and business development in preparation for a public listing (as Business Development Director of Applied Graphene Materials, Redcar, UK, listed on AIM in 2013); corporate R&D and technology scouting (as Director of Open Innovation for Nokia); seed investment in academic spin-out companies (Advance Nanotech - US investment fund); high-tech product design and commercialization (as Senior Engineer at Luxnet Corp, California). In the last 3 years, as a mentor to researchers in the UK QTEC program, he has contributed to the launch of more than 10 start-up companies, which have secured £12m in funding. Claudio holds a first degree in Physics (University of Trieste, Italy), a PhD in Electronic Engineering (University of Bristol, UK) and an MBA from the Judge Business School (Cambridge, UK).

Toby Waine

Programme Steering Group Member
Dr Toby Waine is an agricultural engineer with a farming background. His areas of expertise cover a broad range of topics from digital agriculture, land use monitoring, instrumentation and measurements to soil, soil resources, natural capital, and water science. He helped commercialise an electromagnetic induction-based soil property sensor and consults with industry and agencies within two main themes of land resources monitoring for crop inventory and food security through precision agriculture. From measuring illicit opium production in Afghanistan to monitoring crops - working internationally with tea in Kenya, coffee in Vietnam, potatoes in China, wheat in North America, sugar in India, and UK arable and horticultural crops, the innovative use of remote sensing is a key theme in his research and consultancy work. Senior Lecturer in Applied Remote Sensing at Cranfield Environment Centre.

Kate Ashworth

Programme Steering Group Observer
Kate has been the Societe Generale UK Foundation Manager since January 2020, where she assists the board of trustees by providing governance, operations and project management support. Prior to this, Kate was Head of CSR for Societe Generale for eight years and was responsible for overseeing the CSR strategy and delivery in the UK. Kate is a CSR professional, and community engagement specialist with over 15 years experience across the private, public and charitable sectors. Alongside her Societe Generale UK Foundation role, Kate also provides consultancy support to small charities. She has a BSc in Environmental Studies from the University of Birmingham and an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial University.

Rob Hill

Programme Steering Group and Mentor
Rob is a business and social enterprise investor and mentor, with 20 years of investment experience across a broad range of businesses. Rob qualified as an accountant with Arthur Andersen in 1998 and subsequently joined the banking and debt advisory business of NM Rothschild in London. In 2001 he joined the UK investment team of CVC Capital Partners, one of the world's largest and most successful private investment firms. After leaving CVC, Rob led the start-up of a private debt investment business to support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK, and now runs a family office investment practice. Rob comes from Staffordshire where his family and ancestors have farmed for several generations. Rob has a BEng in Aerospace Engineering from Bristol University and is a member of the ICAEW.

David Priseman

David has thirty years of experience working for specialist consultancies, major banks (in London, Paris and Geneva) and private equity houses as well as independently advising entrepreneurs. David has also served on boards ranging from £1 million to £120 million turnover. David is currently, working with a small number of focused alternative finance companies that help private UK companies that are seeking funding of £100,000 - £10 million, in debt, equity or a combination, covering most sectors and stages. David also engages with private investors who are interested in lending to or directly investing in private companies David is part of the SHAKE Climate Change mentor team and has many years experience working with entrepreneurs

Mary Ellis

Dr. Mary Ellis has spent over 20 years working hands-on with innovators, entrepreneurs, and scientists in early-stage companies and business start-ups. She was founding member of a technology commercialisation fund investing in Canadian based health care and Agri-tech start-ups. Mary has been a board member for several for-profit and not-for-profit organisations. She currently serves as Chairwoman of FarmTech Society, an international industry association that unites and supports the Controlled Environment Agriculture sector, and has previously served on the board of Biotalent Canada, a sector council of the Government of Canada focused on strengthening Canada's bioeconomy. Her passion for farming began at a very early age. She grew up on a farm. Her mother and father were pioneers of organic farming and to this day the family still run a regenerative agricultural farm that has not seen chemicals applied to the soil since 1968.

Nicole Sadd

In her role as CEO of Rothamsted Enterprises, Nicole is responsible for driving forward the growth and development of the business portfolio whilst supporting our business community to grow on site leading to our science delivering impact. She is the recipient of the National Business Women's Awards n the Corporate Leader of the Year category and her infectious enthusiasm coupled with her significant leadership and management experience in public and private sectors mean she has the perfect blend of business acumen and communication skills to support growing businesses like the SHAKE entrepreneurs.

Belinda Clarke

Chair of the Investment Panel
Former scientist, Belinda Clarke is founding Director of Agri-TechE, Europe's largest commercial membership network connecting farmers and growers with researchers, technologists, entrepreneurs and investors. Agri-TechE brings together those who see innovation as way to enhance the economic growth, agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability of the agri-food value chain and was named national Networking Group of the Year at the UK SME Business Awards 2019. Belinda is a Non-Executive Director of Agrimetrics, one of the UK's Agri-Tech Centres, and was a member of the Council of UKRI-BBSRC and a Trustee of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (2015-2021). In 2021 she was awarded the Sir Timothy Colman Prize for "outstanding leadership in the agri-tech sector." She has a first degree from the University of Cambridge in Natural Sciences (Part II Plant Sciences) and a PhD in plant biochemistry following her research on starch production in peas and potatoes at the John Innes Centre. She is a Nuffield Scholar, a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Councils, a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Biology, and the Clean Growth Leadership Network, a Chartered Biologist, and a qualified business coach.

Louise Warren

Secretary of the Investment Panel
Louise is a qualified Company Secretary with 15 years' experience in the financial and charity sectors. Louise is responsible for managing effective interactions between the Board of Trustees, the Chair and Deputy Chair and the Institute Director. Louise also takes responsibility for statutory obligations arising from our status as an incorporated charity and ensuring the smooth running of the associated Committees operated by the Board. The role encompasses responsibility for all subsidiary companies and the provision of governance and administrative support to joint ventures as required.

John Oberman

Investment Panel Observer
John joined Société Générale in 2013 and is responsible for distribution and trading of project finance and emerging market loans in EMEA. He started his career in investment banking in 1998 in London followed by a 10-year posting in the Middle East. John is a trustee of the SG UK Foundation. John has a BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Durham and a Masters in Shipping, Trade and Finance from Cass Business School.

Jo Southernwood

Investment Panel Member
Jo Southernwood is an experienced energy and sustainability consultant with over 15 years' experience working on energy efficiency and low carbon technology projects. Jo started her career as a Sustainable Development Manager for a small breakfast cereal manufacturer, moving into consultancy after a few years and specialising in helping organisations to better manage their energy consumption. More recently, Jo worked for the International Energy Research Centre where she led the Integrated Energy Services team on research projects that validated new business models for accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy. Now, as the Director of Carbon Minded Ltd, Jo is applying her research experience and helping organisations to develop robust net zero carbon plans and implementation strategies. She is also a visiting lecturer in Environmental Management at the University of Hertfordshire. Jo holds an MEng in Chemical Engineering (Cambridge, UK), an MSc in Sustainability for Business (London South Bank University, UK).

Andrew Muir

Investment Panel Member
Dr. Andrew Muir is a Director of Midven, an FCA-authorised fund management company, where he is the Investment Director for the UK Innovation ? Science Seed Fund (UKI2S). UKI2S is a pan- UK early stage fund focussed on building global companies from UK publicly funded science laboratories and science campuses (including Rothamsted) with a top quartile track record for its peer group of successful exits and impact. He also manages the Stephenson Fund which is backed by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Starting his career at Zeneca in advanced materials, he went on to roles in research and business development at the medical device company Biocompatibles and then Vice President of Technology for a US start-up in disinfection of medical equipment. He began his career in venture capital with NESTA (the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts). He has a degree and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Oxford.

Eli Kershavarz-Moore

Investment Panel Member
Eli Kershavarz-Moore is a Professor of Bioprocess Science and Enterprise at UCL, Biochemical Engineering department and Vice-Dean (VDI) for International affairs for the Faculty of Engineering Sciences. Her research interest is in the bioprocessing of complex molecules including those produced in transgenic plant materials, working with large as well as small start-ups. With an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and a Master's degree in business Eli worked as a management consultant (PwC) before returning to academia. Eli Kershavarz-Moore led the development and implementation of a highly innovative enterprise training scheme at UCL, encompassing a range of entrepreneurial training courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. As part of this continuum, she created and currently lead, VISION, a programme designed for executive leaders in the Life Sciences sector. The course has been delivered successfully in the UK and the US.She is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineer and has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and participated in raising over 15 million pounds in research grants from public and private sources.

Subhash Jogia

Investment Panel Member
Subhash Jogia is the co-founded Ikigai.Capital, a personal mission to champion disruptive technology ventures driven by a deep desire to create exponential impact on our environment and societies. Specifically focused on Impact Investing in near horizon technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution, Subhash advises Family Offices, HNWIs and VCs who are actively allocating to this alternative asset class. Subhash serves on the Investment Committee of Consilience Ventures, a Deep Tech VC fund and advisor to UCEA Capital Partners. Subhash has over 30 years' experience in Investment Banking Technology bridging global commercial, technology and business expertise. Having worked with Morgan Stanley spanning a 22 year Technology career developing Equity Finance and Post Trade Technology systems whilst overseeing the global portfolio of IT Service providers, he has a wealth of FinTech experience with scaling up deep tech talent, particularly in India. Subhash has also previously work with the UK Cabinet Office to support the strategic relationships of its £9.8b annual portfolio of IT Service providers. Based in Cambridge, Subhash is an avid adventure sports fan, martial artist and ultra-marathon runner. He holds a degree on Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College, London and Fellow of The Institute of Engineering & Technology.

Wilfred Otten

Investment Panel Member
Professor Wilfred Otten Wilfred Otten is a Professor of Soil Biophysics at Cranfield University. Prior to joining Cranfield. He worked in the Department of Plant Sciences of Cambridge University and was Director of the Scottish Informatics, Mathematics, Biology and Statistics Centre at Abertay University in Scotland, Dundee. Wilfred teaches on the MSc Environmental Engineering program. He has a track record of successfully delivering projects funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Natural Environmental Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the private sector. He works with a range of organizations to improve physical properties that reduce soil and water losses. He tests how soils can improves the way they support ecosystem services and novel ways to measure soil structure. Together with the Agri-tech Centre CHAP he designs and delivers projects for organizations in the new Soil Health Facility to enhance efficacy and uptake in innovations in agriculture to deliver more profitable farming, increased agricultural productivity, a greener environment and improved soil health. Wilfred is a Fellow of the Institute of Soil Science and was President of the British Society of Soil Science (2017-2018).

Colin Spiller

Investment Panel Member
Colin is an experienced professional with valuable experience for start-ups seeking investment and rapid growth. Active in numerous entrepreneur and SME focussed organizations, Colin also founded and manages the London Angel Club for Angel's Den and provides masterclasses in all things from equity valuation to due diligence in investing.