John Coombs

John Coombs

Managing Director

John joined Unilever from University, initially following a technical career in Engineering, Research and Development and as a factory GM.  This was followed by a switch into consumer marketing where he had responsibility for a number of food brands including PG Tips, Colman’s and OXO, he also sat on the Board of Unilever’s UK Foods Company. This was followed by a period as GM of Unilever’s European Culinary business. He has been Managing Director of Unilever Ventures since 2002, and is currently on the
Board of four portfolio companies.

Andrew Lane

Andrew Lane

Director

Previously European Business Development Director at DiverseyLever in the Food & Beverage Hygiene Group, Andrew joined Unilever as a marketing trainee in 1985 after studying Biochemistry at Cambridge University.  Andrew worked on setting up Unilever’s Corporate Venture Group prior to the establishment of Unilever Ventures, which he joined as a founding director in 2002.  Andrew focuses on investments in the core areas of food and person care as well as technology spin-outs.  Andrew is chairman of Arecor and a director of SSI, VHsquared and BAC.

Anna Ohlsson

Anna Ohlsson

Director

Anna joined Unilever Ventures in 2003 after close to 10 years in equity capital markets, M&A and venture capital investment.  Anna works on new investment opportunities, primarily in Personal Care, the structuring and execution of deals as well as the Board level management of both consumer and technology oriented portfolio companies. Anna is Swedish; she lived 12 years in France and holds a degree from the French graduate school of management ESSEC.  She previously worked from investment to exit on V Water, CyDen, PharmaKodex and BAC as well as UV’s investments in iluminage, Froosh and several technology spin-outs.

Lisa Smith

Lisa Smith

Director

Lisa has a background in operations in healthcare and packaged goods sectors.  She built factories for Unilever in South Africa and practiced lean operations with McKinsey in North America and Europe.  Lisa has an abiding interest in healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa and is currently Treasurer of the international NGO, FORWARD, seeking to end violence against women and child marriage.  Lisa is a chartered engineer and has received an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MSc in Bio-Mechanics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Natal.  Lisa is on the board of Voltea, Catexel, Parogle and an observer in P2i.

Jan Harley

Jan Harley

Director

Jan is a founder member of Unilever Ventures when it was set up in 2002.  Jan’s focus is on technology companies that help Unilever improve its return on marketing investment, as well as consumer-facing businesses.  Jan started his career in marketing 1989 and had over 12 years of marketing and sales experience with Unilever.  He had a number of international marketing roles including European Marketing Manager for Persil and regional Marketing Manager for Oral Care for the Middle East and North Africa based in Dubai.  Jan has a degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Cambridge University.  Jan is a director of Froosh and Brandtone.

Stephen Willson

Stephen Willson

Investment Director

Stephen joined Unilever Ventures in 2006 from Burlington Consultants, a small strategy consultancy which was acquired late in 2005 by Deloitte & Touche LLP.  At Burlington / Deloitte, he worked on a number of commercial due diligence assignments for private equity clients and debt providers as well as advising corporate clients on a variety of strategic business issues. Stephen focuses on new investments, particularly in the consumer space as well as the ongoing management of existing portfolio companies. Stephen holds a first class honours degree in Business from the University of Bath and is a Director of Froosh AB, SNOG Pure Frozen Yogurt and IOTA NanoSolutions. Stephen is also a Board Observer in Spa & Salon International and Arecor.

Andy Donner

Andy Donner

Director

Andy joined Unilever Ventures in January 2013 to establish the North America office and invest in digital marketing and eCommerce ventures.  He has 15 years of investment and management experience in the information technology, digital media, and consumer health industries.

Prior to joining Unilever Ventures, Andy was a founding partner at Physic Ventures where he led the firm’s Connected Health investment practice and served on the boards of Alliance Health Networks, WaterSmart Software, and Yummly.  Andy graduated cum laude from Duke University’s pre-med program and earned his MBA at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was awarded full-tuition as a Haas Merit Scholar.

 

Ian Lane

Ian Lane

Principal

Prior to joining Unilever Ventures in 2010, Ian was a strategy consultant with L.E.K. Consulting in London and Melbourne for three years.  As a generalist he worked across a range of sectors, including energy/cleantech, communication technology strategy and private equity.  Ian has a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Cambridge University and an MSci in Chemistry from Bristol University.

Chris Sponiar

Chris Sponiar

Principal

Chris joined Unilever Ventures in 2011 following three years as a strategy consultant with Booz & Company in Sydney and London.  At Booz, Chris’s main focus was on the communications, media and technology sector, in addition to projects across financial services, consumer products and oil & gas.  Chris also spent four years with Telstra in Australia, with roles covering large corporate market development and online/mobile media and content strategy.  He holds a first class honours BSc in Business Information Technology from the University of New South Wales.

Paul Hart

Paul Hart

Financial Controller

Prior to joining Unilever Ventures in 2006, Paul had 13 years of experience supporting Unilever FMCG operations in Europe.  His roles have ranged from sales and marketing support, category finance manager, financial accounting operations, company planning and analysis to internal audit and business systems implementation.  Paul’s primary roles are to work with directors to manage total fund return and to give financial support to early stage investments.  He also has responsibility for ensuring UV acts within its FSA permissions and Unilever policy guidelines.