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Team

The team at Colman Equity combines a wealth of experience in early stage investment, international growth plans and economic development.

Diane Roberts, Partner

Diane Roberts, Partner

Diane is a successful entrepreneur and CEO with a diverse set of business skills earned over more than 25 years working with and for private companies, and economic development agencies. She spent the last 8 years building Xcell Partners, working with high potential startup companies that want to achieve accelerated global market growth.She is at the heart of the investment community on the island, and brings extensive knowledge and early stage investment expertise. Over the past five years she has developed a number of key enterprise development programmes for semi-state economic development agencies, and is known well for her work in the Propel programme, where since 2009 has seen over £10m investments made in its’ participants. She also leads the delivery of the first Seed Stage Start-up Accelerator (StartPlanet) in Northern Ireland.

In 2009 she established the Irish Halo Business Angel Network, where she was the National Director for 3 years, leading the development and establishment of an all-island umbrella group for business angel investing in Ireland. This lead to the creation of several Angel Investor syndicates, across Ireland, facilitating over €3m of angel investment into start-up companies

Immediately prior to establishing Xcell Partners, Diane spent 6 years as a Senior Vice President for Enterprise Ireland Silicon Valley and New York developing a strong network of contacts, and an up close understanding of some of the world’s leading technology companies, and in particular the approach of the world’s largest venture capital community. She has a wealth of experience, and an extensive contact base in the Irish and USA technology and digital sectors. She brings an in-depth and detailed understanding of the global technology market and its’ challenges and opportunities. She holds a BA (Hons) Business Studies from the University of East London and holds CISI UK Financial Regulation (Capital Markets Programme).

Mark Roberts, Partner

Mark has over 20 years experience working in the international technology and startup sectors, ten of those years with Fujitsu, working in the sales and operational delivery of professional and technical consultancy services. During his role as UK & Ireland Sales Manager for Stream International, he dealt with the European support requirements for a number of global bluechip technology companies.Based in Silicon Valley over 2002 to 2007, he worked with a number of European early stage companies assisting them on market entry and validation exercises.  He was Director of Business Development with Connexed Technologies, a Palo Alto based start-up. Since 2009 he has acted as a mentor in the Propel Programme, specialising on pitching and business plan development. In 2012 he lead the effort to stage LeanStartupMachine in Belfast and the delivery of Business Launchpad in the Queen’s University of Belfast.

Mark holds a BA in Business Studies and an MBA from the University of Liverpool.   Mark is also a director of Colman Equity and holds CISI UK Financial Regulation (Capital Markets Programme).

Sean O'Hare

Sean O’Hare, Investment Team

Sean O’Hare has 25 years of Engineering, Management and Finance experience. This experience has led to the position of Managing Director of a number of successful Retail and Property companies both in the UK and internationally. In 2010 Sean obtained an MSc in Risk Management and Financial Regulation from Queen’s University and joined Mercer (RSC) as an Actuarial Analyst. In 2012 he worked for the Al-Ateeqi investment group (Kuwait) as a business manager overseeing the completion of a residential property scheme in Turkey.Sean has worked with a number of startups since 2012 and is the founder of SMETRIC|RISK, a company that provides SMEs with credit risk and revenue forecast modelling to support applications for loans and equity funding proposals. Since 2013 Sean has been a mentor on the Propel Programme and more recently Northern Ireland’s newest start up accelerator StartPlanetNI where he provides guidance and practical financial advice to many startups. He is also engaged as an “Entrepreneur in Residence” for the Northern Ireland Science Park’s Springboard Program. Sean currently works as an Interim Manager for three companies across the Engineering and IT sectors including Rekkur, Rovipak Packaging Solutions and Fieldmotion.

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