Russell Champion has always been interested in business, having set up his first company at the age of just 15. Watching the technology market as a young entrepreneur from Reading, Russell and two close friends spotted an opportunity to build PCs at a third of their retail value by ordering parts directly from manufacturers.
As PC prices plummeted, the enterprise grew and adapted a new model offering web design services to small companies on the newly emerging World Wide Web. In time, the business pivoted again to specialise in web hosting and the friends cashed in on the internet’s expanding potential. After 10 action-packed years, Dedipower had grown to 50 employees with an £8.5 million annual turnover.
Russell chose to study Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southampton while he was still contributing to Dedipower and specialised in Astronautics and Materials. He and his partners eventually took the decision to sell the business and started a six-month bidding process which resulted in the company being acquired by the international private equity group Bridgepoint.
Russell has a wealth of knowledge and contacts which he is keen to use to help others starting their own ventures. He has valuable experience with early stage startups and regularly invests as a business angel. Every year, Russell meets around 100 CEOs from some of the world’s largest companies and its these connections that he can use to create unique networking opportunities.
Russell is happy for Future Worlds members to contact him through the contact form on this page, “I’d be willing to speak to anyone for 10 minutes and give advice on whether a business will fail or (hopefully) succeed,” he says.
Russell’s business experience with Dedipower helped secure a place at Fidelity Investments, where he stayed for three years analysing technology and small capitalisation businesses. It was this role that gave him valuable experience in investing in public companies. He joined investment management firm Pensato Capital in 2008 along with a number of ex-Fidelity colleagues. Today he is a partner, portfolio manager and TMT (Technology, Media and Telecoms) specialist analyst. His main role is to decide which public stocks in the European TMT Universe will make the best investment over the coming years.
Russell says he is motivated by seeing businesses flourish and thinks it’s important that successful individuals give back their expertise to the next generation.
He would encourage students to gain work experience before they leave university and try to always have a three or five-year plan. He has also found that people who enjoy what they’re doing will work hard to succeed. “The best advice I can give is to be patient,” he says. “You’re not going to get it right first time.”