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The Accelerate Cambridge team

Luther Phillips

Accelerate Cambridge Programme Manager

Luther’s day job is to be the programme manager for Accelerate Cambridge, the CJBS “in-house” accelerator supporting venture creation out of Cambridge. Luther is a social entrepreneur and an environmental activist at heart.

Over the years, he has led many environmental initiatives around the river, combining volunteering and a social enterprising approach to organise many successful region wide river clean-ups events, attracting over 1,200 volunteers.

Michael Grange

Accelerate Cambridge Mentor, Cambridge Judge Business School

Michael is a technologist experienced in retail, ecommerce, supply chain and logistics, healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Michael’s career has seen him developing technology products for global markets, managing business transformation and directing the digitisation of businesses, from start-ups to FTSE 100 blue chips, leading teams across the UK, EMEA, US and India.

An advocate of Lean and Agile practices with a passion for delivering great customer experiences, Michael helps businesses become value-driven and customer-centric by applying a focused and disciplined approach to their work. Michael coaches start-up and scale-up businesses in the UK and US, and has recently established his own business, Parker Veese, helping others through the simplification of technology and business process leadership. Michael is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI).

Babita Devi

Accelerate Cambridge Mentor, Cambridge Judge Business School

Babita Devi is a coach and entrepreneur with nearly 30 years’ experience in marketing, strategy, and business development. Babita started her career in Enterprise Resource Planning where she successfully built pipeline through clearly defined strategies with measurable outcomes. She quickly progressed into management in her early 20s and then went on to work for the world’s largest optics company. As part of the European Marketing team, her role encompassed brand strategy, communications development, and implementation planning.

In 2004, Babita emigrated to Australia and set up bStrategic. Whilst in Australia, Babita’s work ranged from developing strategies for the launch of a major Civic Centre to raising investment for a major art complex.

Babita now resides in the UK where bStrategic has been operating since 2006. Clients have included the University of Birmingham where Babita was responsible for a complete overhaul of all commercial services offered by the university and successful implementation of a program that led to a direct increase in bookings. Other clients include Opus5K (clinical monitoring software) where Babita was responsible for identifying opportunities for commercialisation in the NHS. Babita has also worked extensively in the licensing industry during her time at Amscan International, where she advised on marketing and mentored the marketing team. Her role transitioned into Head of Strategy and quickly grew license revenues through product and market development in EMEA. She also set up a technology company in 2015, where she created an app to improve communication between communities, has lectured on entrepreneurial marketing at Anglia Ruskin University and Lincoln University Business School and has co-authored a book aimed at female entrepreneurs.

Babita is an advisor to several organisations in technology, medtech and games. As an independent consultant, Babita supports personal and business development, to scale up high potential, innovative start-ups and SMEs through Accelerate, Oxford Innovation and more widely across the UK, through Barclays Eagle Labs. Babita is part of several networks focused on supporting female founders and entrepreneurs and is a connector, bringing together strategic partners and supporting and growing networks of innovators, thinkers and change makers.

Kamilla Spark

Corporate finance specialist

Kamilla Spark is a corporate finance specialist with more than two decades of experience as an advisor, investment manager, and non-executive director of large industrials and public sector institutions.

Prior to founding her own corporate finance advisory practice, Kamilla was a Director of Mezzanine Management, the largest mezzanine investor in Europe. Before that, she was a banker with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Senior Advisor to a closed-end, listed private equity fund. In these positions, she sourced, structured, implemented, and oversaw debt and equity investments in various companies from both public and private sectors.

Kamilla also has extensive experience as a non-executive board member. She was a Non-Executive Director of Giza Polish Ventures (a regional venture capital fund), Chair of the Audit Committee of PCC Exol (a leading Polish-American producer of industrial chemicals), and Non-Executive Director of Kety Group (a listed manufacturer of aluminium joinery and flexible packaging with more than EUR 1 billion in revenues). She also served her community as a Governor and member of the Audit Committee of Long Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge and as a Trustee and member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the National Union of Students UK (NUS UK). As a Fellow of the Judge Business School, she led finance workshops and taught Intrapreneurship Practice from 2018 to 2020. Kamilla has been a mentor in the Master of Studies in Entrepreneurship programme and at Accelerate Cambridge since 2018.

Kamilla received her MBA (Finance and Accounting) from Columbia University Business School in New York. She has been a UK Chartered Director and Fellow of The Institute of Directors since 2010.

Reinhard Eschbach

Accelerate Cambridge Mentor, Cambridge Judge Business School

Reinhard Eschbach has more than 30 years’ significant practical experience, specifically focusing on digitalisation, digital marketing, business development, change management, and restructuring areas, such as e-commerce, product development and IT within several industries like travel, financial services, retail (food and other consumer goods).

He has worked in several senior executive roles up to board level, implementing cultural and organisational change with a strong focus on business improvement combined with key strengths include setting strategic directions, problem solving combined with sound technical understanding and the ability to translate business requirements into technical solutions.

A subject matter expert with the skills, knowledge and confidence, to lead and implement highly complex and sophisticated projects from start to finish being able to make effective judgement and prioritisation calls and influence at all levels. Several developments and implementations from new business ideas into a proper operation.

Gaynor Fryers

Accelerate Cambridge Mentor, Cambridge Judge Business School

Now an independent consultant, Gaynor was previously Vice-President of Business Development at AstraZeneca. Her UK and US teams were responsible for identifying, evaluating and negotiating opportunities in the areas of Oncology, Infection, Personalised Healthcare and Science & Technology Licensing.

Gaynor joined AstraZeneca in 2007 from Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) where she was the Vice-President of Business Development. Before joining CAT she worked at Bespak and at Bio Products Laboratory.

She has a wide range of experience in healthcare organisations, including licensing, merger, disposal and company acquisition. She has worked for large and small organisations, public and private sector and has established startup and joint venture businesses.

Gaynor has a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford and an MBA from Manchester Business School. She lives near Cambridge with her husband and has three children.

Tony Kypreos

Tony is an entrepreneur with exits and an authority on corporate innovation, startups and entrepreneurship across sustainability, telecom, media, technology, healthcare and consumer brands.

His corporate experience includes being a member of the Executive Board of T-Mobile International & Deutsche Telekom’s corporate venturing T-Ventures as global EVP Business Development & Innovation and Group Managing Director of Bauer Digital for the €1.4 billion M&A and post-merger integration of EMAP. He has held senior international leadership positions in FMCG brand marketing (Nestle, Diageo).

His startup and growth stage experiences include being the co-founder of mobile entertainment company Mobilephonia, leading the turnaround and sale of digital services agency Bluewave (Maersk) and the leadership team for the $800 million IPO of Agency.com (NASDAQ: ACOM). Co-founder and the founding investor of accelerator Springboard (acquired by Techstars).

Tony was Founder and CEO of healthtech company Dupl, which provides context to biometric sensor data via communication and evidence-based sports psychology. Exit achieved via acqui-hire and IP sale. He is an investor and board advisor in mobile technology, digital media, gaming, nanotechnology, sustainability, cleantech, healthtech and software ventures with M&A exits to Oracle, Piksel, Nokia and Opentext.

He is currently an advisor to the UK government’s Global Entrepreneur Programme identifying the world’s leading IP-based startups for global expansion from a UK headquarters, a coach at Cambridge Accelerator and an advisor and mentor with Accelerate2030 to scale internationally the impact of entrepreneurs working towards achieving positive social and environmental change.

Tony has an MBA from Henley Business School specialising in corporate venturing, BSc (Hon) Physics & Electronic Systems, from Brunel University and is a certified NLP practitioner from the University of California.

Pantea Lotfian

Pantea Lotfian has more than 15 years’ experience in innovation and strategy consulting that spans various industries including manufacturing, engineering chemicals energy, pharmaceuticals and FMCGs. She is a the founder and director of strategy consultancy Camrosh, Non-Executive Director of Ridgeway Information, and has served on boards of the Science Council and Pepal ltd. She has a multidisciplinary background in both science and technology with a PhD in Biochemical engineering and MPhil in Technology policy. She has built and led teams of scientists and engineers to deliver consulting projects while providing inspirational and inclusive leadership, balancing the need for world-class expertise and approachability. Pantea has a proven track record of working with businesses, governmental and academic organisation to redefine their challenges and find new opportunities. She brings new insights and ways of thinking to complex, hard to address challenges. She also has considerable experience working with start-ups and SMEs in a mentoring and advisory capacity.

Visit Pantea’s LinkedIn profile

Nitin Patel

IOD Manufacturing Ambassador for Cambridge

Nitin is a general management executive and CEO with operational and commercial skills gained from developing strategy and implementing change/turnround programmes involving design innovation, operational and manufacturing excellence in the UK and Internationally.

He has worked on several acquired businesses for a private company, developing a culture of efficiency, innovation and an entrepreneurial attitude to growing the business and its markets, both in the UK and Internationally.

A significant part of Nitin’s early work experience was gained from working with General Motor in its various global operations in Europe, Asia and North America, reaching the position of European Powertrain Manager based in its European Head Office in Zurich, leading design, innovation and manufacturing.

Nitin is a graduate in manufacturing from the University of Bath and a fellow in manufacturing management at Cass Business School. Nitin is married with two daughters and enjoys playing golf and watching sports.