Hazel Moore, co-founder, chairman, FirstCapital, is one of 36 dealmakers named in Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. Click here for the full list. This year, we asked the dealmakers to tell their stories in their own voices through Q&As.
How did you get into dealmaking?
I had an unconventional start in dealmaking. I have a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, and had a brief flirtation with a technical career before moving to Hong Kong and starting to work in financial services. I was inspired by the entrepreneurial activity and rapid growth occurring in China, so after returning to the UK I co-founded FirstCapital to provide investment banking advice for high-growth technology businesses.
What is your current role?
I am the co-founder and chairman of FirstCapital. I lead the development of major strategic initiatives, such as the setting up of our office in Silicon Valley a few years ago. I do a lot of speaking engagements, to raise the profile of FirstCapital, and I continue to have an active role in deals.
Describe your influence on the middle market.
I was awarded an OBE by HM the Queen in 2017 for services to entrepreneurship and innovation, recognizing not just my work at FirstCapital, but also my role as a non-executive director of Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. I am an adviser to the Future Fifty, the UK’s fastest growing tech companies, and on the Advisory Board of Tech Nordic Advocates, the leading tech ecosystem in the Nordic and Baltic regions.
Describe a recent deal.
FirstCapital advised the shareholders of Bloomsbury.ai, a European AI company which recently joined Facebook. This was a deal I sourced, and which was significant for a number of reasons: Bloomsbury.ai’s team is world-leading in natural language processing; it further cements the UK’s position as a global leader in AI; and it provides a major boost to Facebook’s development efforts in using AI to combat fake news and inappropriate content.
How do you support women?
As co-founder and chairman of an international technology investment bank, I am one of very few women at my level of expertise and seniority in our industry. I actively insist on and seek out female candidates when recruiting, with the result that FirstCapital is one of the very few tech investment banks led by women (not only myself – our US office is led by Sheana O’Sullivan), but also with a 40% female workforce.
What is your advice for women?
Investment banking is a demanding job, and there can be both highs and lows. You need to be confident and resilient, with a positive, can-do mindset. The culture can be challenging, whether intentional or not, for women, if only because most banks have such a low proportion of women. However, there is also a great opportunity for women to stand out and be noticed, and it is interesting, challenging, rewarding work.
When you’re not making deals, what is your favorite thing to do?
Outside of work, I have three children aged 18, 16 and 10. I’m a black belt in karate and the former senior JKA England national champion. I also enjoy travel and outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing.
What other career path might you have chosen?
I guess I didn’t actually choose my current career in the conventional sense, I arrived at it through a set of seemingly random and unconnected decisions, which arose because I was doing things that I was interested in.