Why I joined Excelerator Partners as Chief Operating Officer

By Cate Poulson, COO

There are two things I am really passionate about in business: innovation as a driver of growth; and the multiplier effect of great dot joining.

It is also no secret that I love working with scale-ups.

I had the immense good fortune to work with more than 500 entrepreneur led growing businesses as we scaled BGF over 12 years; and have become mildly obsessed with the UK ecosystem for scaling businesses in my role with the ScaleUp Institute.

I have been so inspired by the entrepreneurs I've had the privilege to work with that I wanted to become one, using my many years of experience focused on leadership and executive talent, and finding the most effective, efficient and agile ways to join the dots between the entrepreneurs with inspiring vision, and the executives who have the know-how to deliver.  

One of the most pressing challenges for scale-up founders and CEOs remains access to talent and expertise (reference ScaleUp Institute's annual review); but when they do get access to exceptional leadership talent, amazing things happen.

I have seen over and over again the difference a really well put together Board makes to the speed of growth and the value of a business; and have also seen the incredible impact of businesses getting a little creative in how they engage with really experienced leaders with deep functional expertise.

The introduction of the right senior advisor at just the right time can supercharge a CEOs execution plans; the connection to a fractional executive, whether that be a CFO, CCO or CTO gives the CEO and Board access to the insight to lay the foundations for best-in-class systems, products and teams in an incredibly cost and time efficient way. Put simply, the right leadership expertise delivers better execution, faster growth, and a stronger more valuable business.  

The other side of this coin are the exceptional talent pools waiting to be unlocked. We have a curated network of both experienced portfolio career talent, and as yet untapped, diverse executive expertise considering a portfolio career, but unsure how to go about it. The benefits to the ecosystem of having highly experienced leaders working across several complementary businesses simultaneously is clear, with the bar for high quality operational execution being constantly raised, and the strategic and innovation insight transferring and multiplying. 

The unmet demand on both sides of the scale-up ecosystem is the opportunity we are very excited about, and why Excelerator Partners has come into being.

We can see what needs to happen and between us have the experience to build the solutions. We are combining our passion for entrepreneurship with our years of experience both building our own hyper-growth businesses as well as supporting the growth of hundreds of scaling businesses to deliver scale-up founders, CEOs and investors the leadership expertise they need, exactly when they need it, and as flexibly as they need it. We are ready to be your chief networker, dot-joiner, board-developer and team-builder.

So, you now know about who we are, what we do, and how to reach us - we're looking forward to hearing what you need. 

About the author:

Cate Poulson, COO

With a background in executive search and board effectiveness, Cate is the founder and former leader of the £2.5bn private equity growth investor BGF’s Talent Network. She and her team developed the largest and most active Board and leadership team value creation capability in the UK scale-up eco-system, partnering over 500 businesses and curating an expansive network of the UK’s leading fractional executives, consultants, NEDs and Chairs. Cate is a NED at the ScaleUp Institute.

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