Ex-Betfair and Zoopla Executive joins Octopus Ventures Octopus Press Release • Published 2017/07/10

Stephen Morana has joined Octopus Ventures as Venture Partner

Stephen Morana

5th June 2017, London, UK: Octopus Ventures, one of the Europe’s leading venture capital investors, has announced that Stephen Morana has joined the team as a Venture Partner. Stephen brings with him 20 years’ experience working with some of the most successful UK digital businesses such as Betfair, Zoopla and boohoo.com.

In his role as Venture Partner, Morana will be supporting Octopus Ventures’ portfolio businesses in their growth strategies. Having been integral in three British businesses achieving unicorn status, and driving two to IPO, the high-growth companies will benefit from Morana’s first-hand experience in scaling up an organisation. Morana will be working with a variety of Octopus’ portfolio businesses to advise them on growth and how to manage the challenges that accompany it.

Morana held a number of executive roles at Betfair over a period of ten years where, using its exchange-based technology, it disrupted an industry and helped create what is now a FTSE 100 giant. He also helped guide the business through its successful IPO in 2010. Morana then took up an executive role at Zoopla Property Group in 2013, helping scale and professionalise the business, leading to an IPO in 2014, the game changing acquisition of uSwitch in 2015, and a valuation of close to £2 billion today, securing its unicorn status.

Today, Morana holds a number of NED roles at organisations including boohoo.com, the leading fashion brand which is now worth over £2 billion;  GVC Holdings, the FTSE 250 gambling business which operates such brands as bwin and partypoker; Satellite Solutions, an AIM-listed communications company specialising in rural, last-mile and emergency communications via satellite and wireless technology; and the Open Data Institute, which, co-founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt, aims to inspire governments and corporates to innovate with data.

On the appointment, Alex Macpherson, Head of Octopus Ventures, said: “We are delighted to welcome Stephen to the team. Having worked with him previously via our portfolio business, Zoopla, we know that he’s a world-class executive with an incredible knack for growing businesses. Access to his experience around scaling UK tech businesses to £1 billion plus valuations and managing IPOs will be an incredible asset to our portfolio, and is an example of the additional support we always strive to provide for the businesses we back.”

Stephen Morana, Venture Partner at Octopus Ventures, commented: “During my time at Zoopla I witnessed first-hand Octopus’ passion and drive to support its portfolio businesses. Octopus is a phenomenal partner for any high-growth business to have and the team’s transparency, honesty and support make it unique. I’m looking forward to working with the portfolio and helping those teams as they look to the next phase of growth.”


Notes to Editors

Octopus Ventures

Octopus Ventures is a London and New York based venture capital firm, focused on identifying unusually talented entrepreneurs. In recent years we have been fortunate to back the founding teams of over 60 companies, including Conversocial, graze.com, LOVEFiLM, Property Partner, Secret Escapes, Sofar Sounds, SwiftKey, Swoon Editions, Uniplaces, tails.com, Zoopla Property Group and Zynstra.

We can invest from £250,000 to £25 million in a first round of funding and will look to follow in subsequent rounds. We are proud to be known as one of the most entrepreneur friendly investors in Europe and a significant part of our portfolio consists of referrals from teams we have already invested in or serial entrepreneurs who we have previously backed.

Octopus Ventures is part of the Octopus group. Octopus is a fast-growing UK fund management business with leading positions in several specialist sectors including property finance, healthcare, energy and smaller company investing. Founded in 2000, Octopus manages more than £6 billion of funds on behalf of 50,000 investors.


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