Stephen Morana of Octopus Ventures.
Billy Wood

Octopus Ventures' new partner has helped to grow three British unicorns

London-based venture capital firm Octopus Ventures has appointed a former executive at some of the UK’s biggest and most recognisable tech unicorns as its new Venture Partner.

Stephen Morana joins the team at Octopus having spent 20 years working with some of the UK’s biggest tech success stories of the last two decades, including betting exchange Betfair, property portal Zoopla and retailer

The VC house is hoping to leverage Morana’s in-depth experience growing some of the UK’s biggest names, including shepherding both Betfair and Zoopla to IPO in 2010 and 2014 respectively, to support the continued growth of its portfolio companies.

Following ten years in executive roles at Betfair, Morana took up another high flying role at Zoopla Property Group in 2013, where he helped to scale and professionalise the business, leading it through the IPO process in 2014 and its high-profile acquisition of uSwitch in 2015.

He now holds various non-executive director roles at a raft of companies, including Boohoo and FTSE 250 gambling business GVC Holdings. He also currently assumes roles at AIM-listed communications company Satellite Solutions and the Open Data Institute.

Following his appointment Morana 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.”

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.”

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