Cow Corner

About Us

Cow Corner was founded by a group of like-minded friends in 2018.

We are based in Brighton. It’s a great city to live and work in. Its full of interesting businesses, interesting people, and lots of opportunities for fun. We are a small team of investors and operators who love growing businesses

Between the Cow Corner Partners, we combine years of investment experience with years of operational experience and know-how.

As Partners, we are the largest investors in the Cow Corner fund, and we are all involved in all our investments, providing support collectively and expertise individually. We all know what our individual strengths are (and what they are not) and together they complement each other’s to maximise our success.

There are no big egos, politics or power grabs going on – we left all that behind in our previous careers

A letter from our founders

This (long) letter is written for all those entrepreneurs and founders out there who are contemplating the prospect of taking investment from an outside party, including from us. We hope it is also helpful to anyone who is trying to get a better understanding of Cow Corner.

Matthew & Stephen

Meet the team

Take a closer look at us...

  • Matthew Rourke

    Matthew Rourke

    Matt founded Cow Corner in 2018 after he escaped from the City to spend more time working directly with entrepreneurs.   Previously Matthew was the Managing Partner of HgCapital, one of Europe’s largest and most successful private equity investment businesses.   

    Before Hg, Matt was a corporate finance partner with Deloitte, working with private equity investment firms across the world.  Matt trained as a chartered accountant with Deloitte, joining from Liverpool University in 1992.  Like so many others, he fell into accountancy because he needed a job and then discovered that he enjoyed it.

    After 25 years working in the City, Matt was increasingly spending more time doing the things he was less good at and wanted to get back to his primary interest which was working alongside entrepreneurs.  He also wanted to build an investment business himself.  Working at what you want to do, with people that you want to be with, is one of life’s great privileges.

    Matthew has a wife (Leona, who also works at Cow Corner), two sons (Peter and Andrew) and two dogs (Molby and Digger). He spends his time shuttling between Brighton and Horsham.  He is an obsessive Liverpool fan and a lifelong Sussex cricket supporter. When not in the Cow Corner office he can be found at Cow Corner at the cricket ground.

  • Stephen Baxter

    Stephen Baxter

    Stephen is a serial CEO, having been in leadership and management roles for over 25 years. An engineering graduate, he learned business and leadership at Black and Decker both in the UK and the USA. He subsequently held a number of leadership positions in BAA, firstly running Scottish airports before becoming COO of all seven of BAA’s airports in the UK. He then led the UK’s largest ports business, Peel Ports, before becoming CEO of JLA, a specialist services business in HgCapital’s portfolio. JLA was Hg’s most successful investment in its ‘fund vintage’. After JLA’s sale to Cinven in 2018 for £640m, Stephen stepped down from the CEO role and became a Partner at HgCapital.

    Central to Stephen’s success as a business leader and CEO has been his capacity to align his teams around simple goals and get them to work as effectively as possible to achieve them. People businesses live or die by their culture and setting the right tone and building the right culture is what Stephen wants to help businesses achieve.

    He has a wife, Sharon, and three children (Emma, Andrew and Matthew). He is obsessive about Celtic FC but doesn’t understand cricket (yet).

  • Liam Grant

    Liam Grant

    Liam is a sales and marketing specialist with a background in successfully growing and re-positioning B2B businesses. Initially a marketer, Liam’s experience has broadened over the last fifteen years into commercial leadership roles, the last one being as Chief Commercial Officer at JLA Ltd.

    It was at JLA where his working relationship with Matt and Stephen started in 2010 and it was here that he helped drive the growth and commercial strategy of the business leading to a successful exit in 2018. During this time at JLA Liam initially embraced, and subsequently helped write, the Hg playbook for revenue development in ‘installed base’ or subscription/SaaS businesses.

    Liam’s role is primarily a hands-on portfolio role working directly with the CEO’s and management teams on the development, growth, and quality of their revenue lines. Liam is the first to say he is not a consultant, and his focus is on ‘doing’ not just ‘advising’.

    Liam is married to Stef and has two children, Eva & Sé. He is a Bradford City season ticket holder and is hoping to build upon his one live cricket match in 2007.

  • Chris Woolley

    Chris Woolley

    Chris joined Cow Corner after more than 20 years at Deloitte. During his time at Deloitte Chris worked extensively with private equity clients led Deloitte’s private equity transaction services team in the UK. Chris has worked with Matt for many years (initially at Deloitte and then during Matt’s time at Hg; and it was in this period that he first started working with Stephen and Liam during their leadership of JLA).

    At Cow Corner Chris focuses on origination, deal execution and supporting founders and management teams in compiling the highest quality data to support business decision making and evidencing the quality of their businesses.

    Chris studied at the LSE and is a qualified accountant. He lives in a small village in Sussex with his wife Margarita and three children. In his limited spare time he enjoys cycling and has been watching Brighton and Hove Albion for 39 years. As a Sussex man, Chris naturally supports the county cricket team. 

  • Nicky Craddock

    Nicky Craddock

    Nicky joined Cow Corner as employee #1 in 2018.  She had previously spent a decade in the world of high-end property and was the youngest ever partner at Strutt and Parker (UK affiliate of Christie’s Auction House). At Cow Corner, she brings a unique perspective to her many conversations with founders, partners and entrepreneurs.  Her role involves identifying possible future investments and building long-term friendships with business owners.  She understands how to help people navigate selling their most precious asset.

    She is married to a rugby player and has two young daughters. Nicky goes to ground during tennis Grand Slams but has little interest in cricket.

  • Charlie Ross

    Charlie Ross

    Charlie joined Cow Corner in 2021 after more than a decade of working in private equity. Having trained as an accountant at PwC, he quickly realised his passion wasn’t spreadsheets – it was spending time with inspirational founders and management teams.

    After leading a number of private equity transactions as an advisor at PwC, Charlie joined the private equity firm Livingbridge. There he gained a broad range of experience working with technology and software businesses.

    Charlie is a northerner who lives in London. He has an Irish partner, Jodie-Jane, who works as a lawyer at Google and keeps him on his toes. He likes going to live music, comedy and theatre and making the most of the London and Brighton eating scene. He is failing to keep his Manchester United support a secret from Matt, and is doing an even worse job at pretending to know anything about cricket.

  • Dan French

    Dan French

    Daniel has over 20 years experience of understanding businesses, helping them solve problems by transforming their processes and technology. 

    Before joining Cow Corner in 2023  Daniel held Commercial roles for various SaaS businesses in Hg, Summit Partners and Vista portfolios. He is obsessed with growing ARR and is happiest when identifying ways to create value for the customer that increases bookings or reduces de-bookings. Which is handy given his role at Cow Corner is helping our CEOs do this. 

    Having founded and co-founded businesses, Daniel knows the challenges founders face when proving product-market fit, especially when dealing with cash management and product development. This is why he may be found discussing databases or web interface technologies with people of a technically minded disposition (even more so if they have been a DJ, played rugby or studied Economics in a past life).

    He is married to Penny who is the second biggest cricket watcher in the French household after their son! 

  • Poppy Cole

    Poppy Cole

    Poppy joined Cow Corner in 2021 after eight years at Deloitte (across tax and transaction services). In transaction services Poppy worked with Chris, providing financial due diligence services to private equity clients.   She has also worked as an interim FD in a pharmaceutical business, following its acquisition by private equity.  Poppy really enjoyed the experience of working with the management team post deal, helping to improve their financial reporting, and enabling them to make better business decisions to drive faster growth. The ability to spend more time supporting founders and the management team post investment attracted Poppy to Cow Corner and this is how she now spends most of her time.

    Poppy lives in Hove with her husband Matt and their Labrador Hector.   When not working Poppy can be found cycling, running, sailing and occasionally swimming (after Russell “inspired” her to do an Ironman). Poppy has certainly developed her cricket knowledge since joining Cow Corner and is very happy spending an afternoon at the cricket, especially when its sunny and the bar is open!

  • Rob Griffiths

    Rob Griffiths

    Rob joined Cow Corner in May 2022 after working for Aldi Stores for three years as an Area Manager. Graduating from Loughborough University in 2019 with a First in Computer Science he went into the Aldi graduate program. During his career he headed the operations and management of five stores. The job required adaptability in recruiting staff and coaching store managers as well as a keen eye for detail to achieve the maximum sales and minimum loss for each store.

    Rob lives in Camberley, Surrey but spends a lot of time on the road, travelling, to his partner, Alice who is an Olympic swimmer living in the midlands. Rob enjoys watching cricket and tries to watch all of the England games. In fact… he loves pretty much every sport!

  • Will Cooke

    Will Cooke

    Will joined Cow Corner in 2023 after 10 years of corporate finance experience, most recently in corporate development at IRIS Software Group (backed by Hg Capital) where he worked on acquisitions to extend the business' portfolio of products across both the UK and US. Prior to IRIS, Will worked in acquisitions at Clear Insurance (an ECI-backed insurance broker) as well as in advisory roles at Alantra and EY. Over his career Will has always had an passion for working with entrepreneurial businesses in the lower mid-market and supporting management team to achieve their ambitions.


    Will lives in South London with his partner Katie and outside work he can be found trying to stay fit on his bike as well as playing the occasional game of (semi) competitive rugby. Will's been a casual cricket fan for many years and tries to get down to a game or two each season, particularly when there's an opportunity for a cold drink in the sun!

  • Russell Jones

    Russell Jones

    Russell joined Cow Corner after more than 5 years of working in RSM’s M&A team in London. He worked on both buy and sell side transactions across a wide range of sectors, with a focus on B2B services. His experience is primarily in the UK lower-mid market, helping business owners going through a sale process or management teams conducting a management buyout. Working with these entrepreneurial types is what has always excited Russell, and spending time with business leaders who have built something from the ground up is one of the privileges of his role at Cow Corner.

    Russell is a proud Welshman who lives in Brighton with his partner Kate. When not working he can be found watching pretty much any sport, in particular rugby or football, or trying out new Brighton restaurants. Since moving to the south coast he has taken up triathlons and he is convinced his Ironman was the inspiration for Poppy to do hers (she says otherwise). He is starting to get the hang of cricket and can feign enough interest to have a conversation with Matt but in truth, he is only there for a drink in the sunshine.

  • Leona Campbell

    Leona Campbell

    Leona is another member of the team that fell into accountancy after university (Heriot-Watt) and then discovered that she was good at business. She started work for Bank of Scotland in their structured finance team which lent money to MBOs and private equity. She then joined Babson Capital, a global specialist credit investment business. At Babson Leona was a Managing Director responsible for running the European leveraged finance credit team before taking a career break to bring up two boys.

    Leona supports internal operations at Cow Corner.   She is also normally the voice of reason when others are getting carried away with themselves.  Leona pretends not to be that interested in cricket but is often found watching it…

  • Steven Oliver

    Steven Oliver

    Steven joined the team in September 2022. He began his private equity career in 2009, working for Charterhouse Capital Partners in Central London. He spent ten years working within the finance team at Charterhouse, before making the move across town to Mayfair, joining Agilitas Private Equity in early 2020. After almost three years at Agilitas, Steven decided to make the move south and join Cow Corner as CFO. 

    Steven lives in Brighton with his wife and their two children, plus various different animals. He has been a Liverpool supporter since the mid-eighties (even sharing a season ticket for a few seasons) and has followed Sussex for many years.  Any spare time is taken up with watching sport, spending time with his family and sampling the many restaurants and bars in Brighton.

  • Rafi Ali

    Rafi Ali

    Rafi joined the Cow Corner team after spending five years at BDO where he was fortunate to join the school leaver program and qualify as a chartered accountant at the age of 21. He spent four years in Audit and one year in the Transaction Services department where he gained valuable insight into the complexities and intricacies of what makes a business tick. He gained experience working with entrepreneurially spirited and ambitious business leaders in the mid-market.

    Having been born and raised in Brighton, he enjoys strolls along the beach and trying out the various restaurants the city has to offer.

    Rafi is oblivious about cricket but is mostly found watching Formula One cars race around in oddly shaped circles or cheering on his home team Brighton and Hove Albion.

  • Rebecca Shepherd

    Rebecca Shepherd

    Rebecca joined Cow Corner in November 2023 after two years at Cambridge Associates, where she focused on investing in primaries across private equity and venture capital funds, direct co-investments and managing portfolios for Endowments and Foundations. 

    After graduating with an MSc distinction in Economics from SOAS University, she joined Silverfin, a specialist cloud accounting business in HgCapital’s portfolio, later acquired by Visma. At Silverfin, Rebecca worked on their go-to-market strategy, first through organic sales and then on the partnerships & acquisitions team, pursuing revenue-sharing and distribution deals.

    Rebecca is excited to channel her experiences and curiosity into partnering with Cow Corner’s portfolio businesses. 

    In her leisure time, you will find Rebecca attempting extreme jumps on her horse, Graffio, or travelling to a new country with her partner, to explore new cultures and cuisines. She’s an avid reader of historical novels and is best at sports which don’t involve hitting a ball.

  • Klara Kockova

    Klara Kockova

    Klara joined the team in 2021 after working as Office Manager for a marketing company based in Brighton. She is task-driven with a slight addiction to stationery. Klara aspires to support all her colleagues and to run the office smoothly, maintaining a friendly environment.

    Klara comes from the Czech Republic and her hobbies are going on trips to visit National Trust places, paddle boarding and skiing.  Now she is a part of the Cow Corner team, she will have to learn at least two facts about cricket to fit in.


Cow Corner Investing Ltd
30 New Road
East Sussex

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