Meet the Member - Ajay Shah - Knight Corporate Finance
*Name of Business Knight Corporate Finance
• Who are you? Ajay Shah, Marketing and Business Development Manager
• What sets you apart from the competition? Knight are ICT specialist advisors and have unparalleled experience in this sector. Utilising this sector knowledge and strong relationships within the market, Knight are able to hit the ground running when starting a project which helps us maximise value for our clients.
• How did the business come about? Paul Billingham was Commercial Director of Opal Telecom (now known as Talk Talk Business) when they acquired V Networks where Paul worked closely with Adam Zoldan, Managing Director of V Networks. Adam had previously worked as Corporate Finance Director at PWC and analyst at Gartner. Paul and Adam saw an opportunity to leverage their M&A sector expertise and provide unique advisory services to the ICT space and set up Knight Corporate Finance.
• What are your main target markets? Knight primarily work with owner managed businesses in the telecoms, media and tech (TMT) sector.
• How long has your business been in existence? Knight was founded in 2008 so we are celebrating our 10th birthday at the end of this year!
• How many staff do you employ? 14 staff across our Warrington and London offices
• What job or achievement makes you most proud? Knight recently advised the shareholders of The Voice Factory on its sale to US based Evolve IP. This deal particularly stands out as Knight were long term advisors to the The Voice Factory and played a big part in their journey, having provided assistance on business and financial planning, enhancing its management information and preparing the business for exit.
• Where do you see the business being in five years? Knight are going from strength to strength, we are on track to complete our 100th transaction by our 10th birthday at the end of the this year. We are looking to grow and develop the business further and are currently recruiting at our Warrington office to help drive the business forward. It is hoped that Knight will build on our leading position in the telecoms market and recent successes within the IT and software sectors to become the be the go-to advisor for the wider tech space.
• Why Warrington? Warrington is thriving with SMEs and there is a real buzz around the business community. Knight work UK-wide so Warrington’s excellent rail and road links are utilised by the team on a regular basis. Being based in Warrington gives us access to local talent as well as the skilled workforces of Liverpool and Manchester. Located in the heart of the town centre means that Las Ramblas and San Lorenzo are on our doorstep which have become firm favourites for Friday team lunches!
• Tell us one interesting thing about the business that might surprise us? We have two sister businesses, Knight R&D (they help clients maximise their R&D tax credit claims) and Knight Debt Advisory (they advise business owners and the private equity community by raising new and restructuring existing debt facilities).
• Tell us one interesting thing about you that people might not know? (ie, hobbies, amusing fact, etc) I have lived and taught English in Inner Mongolia, China (Mandarin is a tricky language to pick up!)
• Brexit – good, bad, opportunity? Knight hasn’t seemed to have been impacted by Brexit, the market is buoyant and our strong pipeline indicates there is continued appetite for deals in the TMT sector. Brexit wasn’t a factor for the US based buyer for thevoicefactory, nor has it impacted other cross border trade sales we have recently advised on.
• Fantasy dinner party – which six people alive or dead would you invite? Michael Palin, Richard Branson, Pablo Escobar, Nelson Mandela, Jurgen Klopp (I am a big Liverpool fan), Barack Obama