Moonshot Academy, the growth accelerator for start-ups, has today announced the appointment of two new directors.
Launched in July, Moonshot was created by CEO Al Walker and E-Spark founder Jim Duffy to tackle the problem of two thirds of seed-funded startups failing to secure second round investment.
Sharon Mars, a former company director at Big Partnership, and Gus Sekhon, previously head of European inflation at RBS Group, have joined the leadership team.
Originally recruited to Big Partnership’s Glasgow headquarters as a graduate intern in 2009, Sharon joined the agency’s board in 2014 and spent three years establishing the company’s operation in North West England. She joins Moonshot as a co-founder and head of marketing working both on the strategic direction of Moonshot as well as with individual founders in need of marketing support.
Sharon said: “It can be difficult for entrepreneurs to find the support they need to grow their business beyond the initial start-up phase. There is a fantastic community of programmes and mentors for early stage businesses and likewise for well-established ventures.
“However, businesses which have just secured seed-funding and are preparing to grow exist in a veritable no-man’s land – outgrown some support networks, yet not quite big enough for others. Moonshot provides a long-term partnership to guide growing businesses to the specialist support they need without breaking the bank. We want to help more startups make it to the next level.”
Gus was a derivatives trader for Barclays before taking the role in European inflation at RBS Group where he was based in both London and Tokyo. He joins the Moonshot leadership team to head up its finance and analytics operation based out of London.
Gus said: “Investors have told us that they are frustrated with the lack of financial rigour that exists within potential investee companies. The founder is highly capable, the idea is great, but the unit economic understanding often lets them down. Attracting seed funding is just one step in a much longer journey. Building a large-scale business requires great financial foundations and I’m looking forward to getting under the hood of the businesses we work with to create just that.”
CEO Al Walker said: “Bringing Sharon and Gus on board gives us a fantastically strong set of skills within our founding team which has already had an incredible impact on both our ability to serve our customers and the commercial direction of our own business.
“The ability to add marketing and financial rigour to our existing expertise in leadership coaching, revenue, supply chain and investment, means we can deliver exceptionally targeted specialist support to the founders we work with as and when they need it.
“After securing seed investment, many start-up founders experience niche challenges across each of these areas and it’s important to us we can bring in the right support at the right time to help them grow.”