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Building a team to envy and service that delivers

We kick-started the calendar year with two deals – bringing iHorizon and Acclivity into CP to create a platform to service early stage companies alongside that we have been building specifically for scaleups.  Adding another 30+ people, it rocketed the Tech & High Growth team to 100+ team members and enabled us to offer a complete service to startups and scaleups – from seed stage to exit.

A couple of months on and Head of THG, Steve Leith, is sharing the thinking behind the deals, what it means for the tech ecosystem and importantly, how it will impact CP clients…  

From a standing start two years ago to working with 200+ post series A scaleups – it’s been a fun ride so far to say the least. I’ve been working with the high-growth, venture funded community since the early days of the startup scene in the UK, experiencing first hand the challenges 100s of founders and CFOs have faced scaling their businesses and raising £Bn’s in venture capital along the way. This has provided a unique insight on what really matters when designing a service and team to support those companies: people dedicated to, and connected in, the ecosystem; people used to tackling the same issues and situations; people who are passionate about the venture journey and the ups and downs that come with it; and finally people who have your back, and can get ahead of issues created by rapidly scaling a business, before you’ve even got there.  This is our DNA. This is what we have built the team on.

It’s this ethos that has driven our success with Series A and beyond companies – resulting in us onboarding hundreds of scaleups across audit, tax and R&D services who connected with our message and our approach.

Following this, it felt like a natural next step to add an early stage team who could support startups with an outsourced service with the same DNA at the heart of it. Building a portfolio of high quality startups means our clients can transition seamlessly from basic support (designed for startups) to complex support (designed for scaleups) with zero friction.  An organic build was possible, but finding quickly the best people in the market already servicing early stage companies was optimal and ultimately the fastest way to capitalise on the opportunity. This is where the deals come in.

I had been talking to Asif Ahmed for some time about what it would take to “win” the early stage market – a notoriously difficult product to get right, let alone accel in. It was in us deep diving on the principles of this, as well as the power of connecting an early stage team with our fast growing scale up team, that we started to get excited at the possibility of what we could build together: the UK’s best early stage and scale up team for founders and CFOs of venture stage companies.

Asif built his Acclivity practice around strong principles of operational excellence, straight forwardness in client communications, and truly connecting with the ecosystem to add value wherever it was needed. Startups don’t need another commoditised accounting product at the lowest price point they can find (there are plenty of those in your Google searches!); they need a team who ‘get it’ and are 100% all in; they also need a team who are committed to building a scalable finance function inside a business not outside. Acclivity were on that path already and Asif was a perfect fit to lead the charge with our Early Stage Tech & High Growth team.

Over the years Asif has been in the unique position of being a founder that advises founders; at CP he will be cultivating personal relationships with founder teams and will help navigate what is needed across their venture journey, busting some myths along the way and laying the foundations for scale. Asif will also form an important connecting role deep into the ecosystem covering VCs, Accelerators and wider partnerships.

iHorizon, having been around supporting startups for over a decade, is a team most people in the early stage market know about. Acquiring one of the leading early stage accounting players in the market and creating the platform overnight for our early stage offering, felt like the right next move. Accelerating the deal, and adding 30+ people dedicated to supporting startups, meant we could immediately gain momentum in delivering the vision and the product we wanted to create. Pratik, who had founded iHorizon over a decade ago, moved on to new challenges as part of the acquisition, with myself, Asif and Tom Watts – who had been instrumental in building and leading iHorizon’s practice in recent years – took the lead on integrating both Acclivity and iHorizon into the Tech & High Growth business at CP. 90 days in, and it feels as good as we expected it to. And in truth, we’ve barely even started.

I truly want to leave a legacy that CP has developed 100s of high growth specialists with successful and fulfilling careers, and supported companies and founders who have changed people’s lives in their ventures. These recent deals are a key part of building this legacy and I hope it’s clear that CP are now equipped to support this market in ways others cannot. From a startupcoming to life, to the pressure of creating momentum and managing venture rounds, and from rapid growth to planning for a major liquidity event  – we’ve got you covered.

Across Audit, Tax, R&D and Early Stage – our expert team are specialists who are dedicated and eager to help people like you.

We can’t wait to see what the next two years has in store. Watch this space… There is more to come. This is just the start.



Steve Leith, Partner, Head of Tech & High Growth


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