Chairman Steven Strauss

Steven is a Chartered Accountant and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Reading Economics at the LSE he gained a BSc Honours Degree in 1981, studied for his articles and qualified in 1985, receiving an associate membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales later in that year. In addition to specialist work in the tax field, Steven has also had a significant amount of commercial experience, advising and consulting corporate entities on a wide range of matters.

Steven has been a Director of an Australian Stock Exchange Quoted company, is currently Chairman of an International payments solution company and until his retirement in 2020, he was the Senior Partner at Simmons Gainsford LLP, a top 50 London accountancy practice based in W1.

Sales Director Mark Gilmore

Mark is a highly motivated, tenacious and achievement orientated individual who has constantly delivered on business, margin and project targets throughout his career. Be it participating in successful IT start-ups, or working within a ‘FTSE 500’ company, Mark brings more than 25 years successful operating experience at senior and executive sales management level to Guru.

Mark’s most recent corporate role was managing COLT Managed Services strategic markets region (6 countries and 27 employees). In his last year he delivered over £30 million in revenues (118% against target) and nearly £13 million of new business bookings (122% against target). This achievement was coupled with the process of transitioning the pre-sales technical architects, with corporate incentive structures to technical consultants holding personal incentive schemes.

Prior to this Mark held a number of senior Business Development roles including: Dimension Data for over 4 years, significantly exceeding revenue, bookings and margin targets in each of the 4 years he was there; GTS Carrier Services; and TGNS S.A. In between these roles, Mark started Big Picture Interactive, a brand new digital multimedia and interactive web company and took the company from start-up to over £1m turnover in the first year, and prior to that converted an antique shop into a pub and restaurant and ran it for 2 years before exiting. Mark is co-founder of VN Capital Partners, the specialists in targeting the renewable energy and ‘bleeding edge’ technology start-up funding gap experienced by inventors, engineers and scientists alike. Mark manages Subscriber and Promoter / Provider relationships.

Commercial Director David Newman

David is another highly commercial, innovative and success driven individual. Trained as a mechanical and electrical engineer, he is also an entrepreneur with a strong sales and creative marketing background.

Following 10 years of military service operating throughout the world, David spent the next 10 learning the commercial realities of international business by apprenticing himself to the most successful business owners and companies he could find. During this time he was tasked via involvement in a broad range of Startup, SME and Bluechip Companies across a wide range of industries, including; leisure, media, entertainment, automotive, telecoms, advertising and IT.

His corporate roles have included: Project Management, New Business Procurement, Financial Restructuring, Technical Creation and Support, IT Solution Creation & Delivery, Training Program Creation & Delivery, and Change Management.

In 1999 he formed his own Telecoms consultancy and later that year created Trans Global Network Services S.A, the world’s first global fibre optic leasing operator with online point-to-point connection quotation capability.

After successfully exiting TGNS in 2002 with annual revenues of $27 million, David accepted the role of Commercial advisor to the then Maltese Minster of Finance, The Right Hon Mr John Dalli. There he formed part of a 3-man team charged with redesigning the Countries FDI programme, agencies and Industrial Estate Management.

Successful completion of this project delivered a ‘step change’ in Government attitude toward FDI procurement, Business Promotion and even its own workforce, pre the Country’s accession to Europe.

In 2004 David continued his career by taking on international consultancy roles within the restructuring IT and telecoms sector and later within the emerging renewable energy industry.

He returned to the commercial ‘start-up’ market place in 2008, designing and building an ‘outsourced’ Debt Management and Cash Collection business for top 50 London accountancy practice, Simmons Gainsford LLP. SG Debt Management was initially created to assist SG clients post-recession but today has exceeded that brief. The business currently manages annual cash collections in excess of £ 16 million, David successfully exited the business in 2013.

In mid-2009, David was invited to lead the design team in building an algae to fuel Photo Bio Reactor for a US project. In mid-2010 working with the same US affiliates, he went on to manage the design and build of an innovative oleophilic membrane crude oil recovery rig. With support from the US Department of Energy, the machine was deployed in the Gulf of Mexico and trialled as part of the Deep Water Horizon clean-up operation.

In September 2010 David joined forces with Mark and formed Viridis Navitas Capital Partners Ltd (VN-CP) specifically to target the renewable energy and ‘bleeding edge’ technology start-up funding gap experienced by inventors, engineers and scientists alike.

Since inception VN-CP has delivered 9 successful funding rounds for platform technology application spinouts, raising in excess of £ 2.8 million via HMRC Pre-approved Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes and Enterprise Investment Schemes.

The above-mentioned experiences have allowed David to build up a broad network of contacts throughout Governments and industries alike that he leverages to the benefit any company he works with. Understanding the financial risk versus reward balance for investors, as a ‘real’ investor himself, he brings an unusual but extremely useful skill set to the company. David handles all commercial aspects of the business and manages the IT team.

Specialist Technical Due Diligence Consultants:

Mick Avison Conventional and Renewable Power Generation Specialist

Mick is a highly experienced Senior Executive Manager, with a referenceable track record in the development, construction, operation and management of power generation projects and businesses (renewable and conventional energy) in Europe. Mick has significant knowledge and experience of Private Equity and Commercial Banking Finance and Risk Management.

He has particular skills in the development of renewable projects, particularly the negotiation and management of EPC contracts for the construction of Power Plants, fuel supply and Power Take Off agreements (PTAs) together with operation and maintenance contracts. Mick also advises private institutions on energy-related issues and asset management.

This expertise has been gained in a number of professional and commercial roles over the last 28 years. Aged 54, his skills mix reflects core training as an engineer, leadership roles in Joint Venture companies and blue chip power generation companies.

Since 2004, Mick has provided independent practitioner and advisory services to private investors, government agencies and independent power companies. In particular, Mick has managed a power business in Italy comprising 230MW CCGT power plant utilising industrial producer gases to co-fire the gas turbines. In addition, he has developed wind, biomass and solar projects in the EU working with a strong network of contacts. Mick was instrumental in the contract restructuring of the Elettra business in Italy resulting in a successful $170m refinancing in 2007.

Specialist Technical Due Diligence Consultants:

Jeremy J. Ramsden Ph.D. Honorary Professor of Nanotechnology, at Buckingham University UK.

Jeremy was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Princeton and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, where he obtained his doctorate in the Institute of Chemical Physics for research on semiconductor nanoparticles.

He held the post of visiting scientist at the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule (Laboratory of Chemical Engineering), Zurich (1993) and the Biocenter (Institute of Biophysics) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Szeged (1987).

Jeremy worked for 12 years at the Basel Biocenter (Institute of Biophysical Chemistry), served as a Member of the Faculty of Natural Philosophy of Basel University 1994-2002. Chair of Nanotechnology at Cranfield University 2002-2012 and Research Director for Bionanotechnology, Cranfield University at Kitakyushu 2003-2009.

His main research focus today is integrated-optic and optical fibre sensors complex adaptive systems, and emergent nano-info-bio-cogno converging technologies. He has authored or co-authored more than 200 research articles published in international refereed journals, made a comparable number of conference presentations, co-invented three patents, written or edited a dozen books, chaired several international conferences, and served as visiting professor in Argentina, France, Hungary and Japan.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (London) and a IUPAC Fellow.

Specialist Technical Due Diligence Consultants:

Keith Scott Professor of Electrochemical Engineering at the School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, Newcastle University.

Research activities include: Electrochemical power sources: fuel cells, batteries, microbial and biological fuel cells – Electrochemical environmental engineering, photochemical processes, Membrane materials and membrane separations.

Research Interests are: Fuel cells, power sources and energy systems, Electrocatalysis Electrochemical systems and engineering, Reaction engineering, catalytic reactors Membrane separation processes and membrane reactors

Research themes & Projects: Alkaline Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

An Oxygen Electrode for a Rechargeable Lithium Battery.

Enhanced Fuel Cell Flexibility

SUPERGEN III Fuel Cells: Powering a Greener Future. To develop a potential energy self sufficient process to treat waste and waste water using Microbial Fuel Cell

Project Leader(s): Prof Keith Scott

Specialist Technical Due Diligence Consultants:

Trevor Marshall – Electro/Mechanical Design Engineer

Trevor is an Electro/Mechanical Design Engineer with over 20 years extensive experience within the Power Generation and Process industries providing design services for Plant upgrades and special-to-type Test Equipment for major projects particularly associated with emissions control and plant performance assessment. Possessing a comprehensive knowledge in all aspects of Design for Manufacture and a working knowledge of Control and Instrumentation Systems design and implementation together with production of Plant Layout and Control System drawings for both Safe and Hazardous areas.

Current projects include: Electro/Mech. Design Mechanical Handling Equipment within a Nuclear environment C & I Design Pneumatic Systems design design and integration of handling equipment for security cleared environment -Test Systems Design and Development Test Rigs Control Panel Layout. Plant layout for purpose built Nuclear-handling facility. Civil and Mechanical handling Interfaces. AWE MENSA Project with SC Clearance.

Previous experience has been gained delivering: Electro/Mech. Design C & I Design Control Systems for Combustion, Generation and Process Plant Test Systems Design and Development Fuel Transport Systems Test Rigs Control Panel Layout Mechanical Handling Equipment Plant Safety QA.

Specialist Technical Due Diligence Consultants:

Professor Alasdair Cairns

Chair in Propulsion Systems, Faculty of Engineering Nottingham University


Professor of Mechanical Engineering with a background in low carbon propulsion systems within both academia and industry.

  • 2016 – Professor & Director of Powertrain Research Centre, University of Nottingham
  • 2016 – 2016 Deputy Head of Mechanical Engineering Department, Brunel
  • 2014 – 2016 Director of Teaching and Learning, Brunel University London
  • 2013 – 2016 Professor of Automotive Engineering, Brunel University London
  • 2010 – 2013 Senior Lecturer, Brunel University London
  • 2006 – 2009 Principal Research & Development Engineer, MAHLE Powertrain Ltd.
  • 2003 – 2006 Senior Research & Development Engineer, Cosworth Technology Ltd.
  • 2000 – 2002 Development Engineer, Cosworth Technology Ltd.

Professor Alasdair Cairns is a member of the Fluids and Thermal Engineering Research Group.

Expertise Summary

  • Hybrid powertrain systems integration
  • Powertrain thermal management (e-machine, batteries, IC engines)
  • Low carbon IC engines and fuels (heavy duty and light duty, H2, ammonia, biofuel)
  • Advanced combustion systems (HCCI/CAI, turbulent jet ignition, dual fuel)
  • Advanced electric machines (design, operation, manufacture)

Specialist Technical Due Diligence Consultants:

Dr Mohamed Mamlouk

Senior Lecturer

Dr Mohamed Mamlouk is a Senior Lecturer for the School of Engineering at University of Newcastle with an area of expertise in Electrochemical Engineering Science.


Ph.D. Electrochemical Engineering:  Investigation of High Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells, Newcastle University, August 2008.

M.Sc. Chemical Engineering: Applied Process Control (Distinction), Newcastle University, Sept 2003.

B.Sc. Hons: Applied Chemistry, Equiv (2:1), Aleppo University, Syria, 2002.


  • Fellow of the UK higher education academy (D2 UKPSF)
  • Electrochemical society
  • European Energy Research Alliance steering committee
  • Society of Chemical Industry
  • Carisma European Coordination Action on increasing the impact of research European COST action on fuel cell durability
  • Electrochemical Technology Group executive committee ECTG (SCI)
  • Energy Group (SC)

Current Funding

  • EPSRC- £1.5m (PI), EP/W005204/1. £10m programme grant: Ocean Renewable energy Fuel (Dec 2021- Nov 2026)
  • EPSRC- £450k (PI), EP/T00939X/1 Next generation anion-exchange membranes (AEM) with covalently-bound antiradical functions for enhanced durability (Oct 2020- March 2024)
  • EPSRC–£264k (CoI), EP/T025522/1 Sustainable Heavy Duty Truck, Marine and Rail Transport  SMaRT (Oct 2020- Sept 2023)
  • EPSRC-£740k (CoI), EP/S032134/1 A network for hydrogen-fuelled transportation (£1m), EP/R020744/1 earth abundant metal air batteries (Oct 2019-Sept 2023)

Previous Funding

  • Faraday institution-£10m (CoI), EP/R042012/1 Li-ion batteries degradation (March 18-March 2021)
  • EPSRC- -£740 (CoI), Earth-Abundant Metal-Air Batteries in collaboration with Liverpool University (Oct 17-March 2021)
  • Centre for Advanced Materials for Renewable Energy Generation CAMREG- £50k (CoI), Sodium battery
  • EPSRC/H2FC-£128k (PI), EACPR-P65919 Perovskite Anode for Affordable Precious-Metal Free AEM Electrolyser
  • Newton Fund-£223k (PI), Affordable electrolyser technology based on transition metal catalyst for energy storage in collaboration with the Philippines (Apr 2017 -Mar 2018)
  • EPSRC-£291k (CoI), Ionic Liquid Electrolytes for Intermediate Temperature Electrolysers in collaboration with Nottingham University (Dec 2016 – Nov 2019)
  • EPSRC-£146k (CoI), Hydrogen Generation by Electrochemical Water Dissociation in collaboration with NewCell Technologies ltd (Jul 2017 – Dec 2018)
  • Innovate UK-£153k (CoI), Knowledge transfer partnership with Encoell, Light enhanced fuel cell performance (Feb 2017 –  Feb 2019)
  • EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account-£15.4k (PI), SEBS based polymer to remove the barriers behind the commercialisation of alkaline polymeric fuel cells (Sep 2016 – Jan 2017)
  • Newcastle Institute for Sustainability-£15k (PI), Unitised regenerative electrochemical Cell for Energy Production and Storage, with the University of Connecticut USA (Apr 2017 –   Sep 2017)

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