The Converge Challenge External Judging Panel 2018 was drawn from across the business community, creating a diverse panel of experts who run, influence, evaluate, research and write about entrepreneurial and business ventures. 

Sandy Finlayson OBE

Chair

Sandy Finlayson has more than 25 years’ experience advising young high growth companies and their investors. 

Sandy Finlayson is a co-founder of law firm MBM Commercial, which is dedicated to serving the needs of young technology companies and their investors. He was involved in the formation of Business Forum Scotland and served as its Chairman for two years.  He has also been a Director and Company Secretary of several successful companies.  

Sandy has been involved in numerous initiatives to support the funding of high growth companies including: introducing the founders of Archangels, which developed into the biggest business angel syndicate in Scotland; the formation of Seraphim Capital, the UK's first Enterprise Capital Fund; and several other Enterprise Capital Funds as well as a number of other early stage venture capital funds. Sandy has built a strong reputation across the business community for his knowledge of corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, high growth start-ups and spin outs, corporate governance and strategic advice.

Professor David Milne

Founder and former CEO, Wolfson Microelectronics plc

Professor David Milne, founded the company Wolfson Microelectronics plc from the Microelectronics Institute associated with the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh in 1985.

As CEO and Managing Director until 2006 he took the company to an IPO on the London Stock Exchange in 2003, subsequently reaching a value of over $1bn in 2005 and becoming one of the most successful university spinouts in the UK. The company became a global supplier of high performance audio solutions for many of the world's leading consumer electronic products, including smartphones, tablets, e-readers and wide range of hi-fi equipment. The company was acquired by the US semiconductor company Cirrus Logic in 2014.

Mary Jane Brouwers

Non Executive Director and early-stage company consultant

Mary Jane has worked in equity investments since 1997 when she joined the team that became Bank of Scotland Growth Equity, managing a portfolio of companies ranging from SME to FTSE.

While working at Bank of Scotland Mary Jane was a director of First Welsh General Investment Trust Limited, a bank subsidiary. Subsequently she worked as an Investment Manager for the Scottish Investment Bank for two years before joining Archangels, Scotland’s most successful business angel group, as an Investment Executive in 2010. At Archangels she was responsible for reviewing new investment proposals as well as the active portfolio management of investee companies.

Mary Jane was appointed to the board of Edinburgh Instruments Limited as the Scottish Enterprise NXD in 2010 and played an active role in developing the commercial focus of the company, resulting in significantly increased sales and profitability and subsequently the sale of the business to Hong Kong-based Techcomp Holdings Limited.

She is currently a director of LINC Scotland Limited, the national association for business angels in Scotland, and the University of Glasgow’s GU Holdings Limited. Mary Jane is a Chartered Management Accountant and served as Regional Secretary on the board of CIMA Scotland from 2009-2011.

Prior to 1997 Mary Jane worked as a management accountant for various blue-chip corporates in the UK and Continental Europe.

Andy Porter

Director - Chief Technical Officer, Elasmogen Ltd

Andy is currently Professor of Medical Biotechnology, University of Aberdeen, Scotland and Director of the Scottish Biologics Facility.

He was founder and CSO of the University spin-out Haptogen Ltd. until it was acquired, in October 2007, by Wyeth Inc. In 2005 he was made the Ernst and Young Plc, UK Science and Technology Entrepreneur of the Year.

In 2006 he was became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in 2012.

Andy has been on the Board of the biologics company NovaBiotics Ltd since 2009. NovaBiotics currently has two products in Ph 2 clinical trials, a global licensing deal with Taro Inc and a City funding round by Woodford Investment Management.

In 2016 Andy became a Burgess of Guild, Aberdeen and received a Scottish Samurai award for services to Medical Research. Andy is a graduate of St Andrew’s University.

Ian C Ritchie CBE, FREng, FRSE, FBCS

Chairman, Iomart plc

Ian Ritchie is the non-executive Chairman of Iomart plc, Computer Applications Service, and Krotos.

He founded OWL in 1984 which pioneered hypertext application development (a forerunner to the world wide web) and sold the company to Panasonic in 1989. Since then he has been involved in over 40 start-up high-tech businesses.

He serves on the board of Red Fox Media, the Edinburgh International Science Festival, the National Theatre of Scotland, and Chairs the Board of Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh's Science Centre. He is a Trustee of the Saltire Foundation and The David Hume Institute.

He was a board member of Channel 4 TV (2000-2006) deputy Chairman of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (2002-2011), Vice President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2012-2016) and Honorary Treasurer of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2012-2016).

He was awarded a CBE in 2003 for services to Enterprise and Education. He has a degree in Computer Science from Heriot-Watt University (1973) and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by Robert Gordons, Abertay, Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities.

He was widowed in 2001 and has two grown up children.

Professor Janice Kirkpatrick CBE

Creative Director, Graven

Janice co-founded Graven in 1986 after graduating from Glasgow School of Art. The Glasgow studio has many prestigious clients, across a range of sectors, and works on branding, packaging and interior design projects for ambitious start-ups and established companies in over 30 countries.

Janice chaired NESTA’s £20M seed fund and she is a member of the Advisory Board for V&A Dundee and The Scottish Government’s Creative Industries Advisory Group.

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