Tech East Member Interview with Chris Marsh of Venture Risks Group

Can you tell us about Venture Risks and what the company does?

Venture Risks is a corporate insurance broking and risk management firm based in East Anglia, but with a new Edinburgh office opening in the New Year.

We work with clients from all sectors to help them understand their unique and very real business risks. These companies are typically pushing hard on a growth agenda and can easily take their eye off the ball, or be given poor supporting advice, when it comes to their risk exposure.

Our job is to watch their back and advise on how to protect their cashflow, balance sheet, corporate reputation and directors’ personal assets against loss and disruption.

Although we work across many sectors, we have a particular expertise in technology led businesses.

What’s the story behind Venture Risks: when and why were you founded?

Venture Risks was launched in June this year by three founders: John McLaren-Stewart, Jeff Alcock, and myself. We wanted to deliver something special to growing, innovative and entrepreneurial businesses.

We saw that the insurance market was being driven by brokers focused solely on price. There is more to business protection than the cost of an insurance policy. Understanding risk means really getting in deep and understanding everything our clients are involved in from international contract risk, corporate espionage and cyber (a very real threat these days where we have many a story to tell), 2nd tier supply chain and on to basic office and computer risks amongst many other areas.

The devil really is in the detail when it comes to business insurance policies. Our view is that there is no point in companies spending money on an insurance policy if it won’t pay out when they most need it. Nonpayment of a claim can cause very real distress to growing companies

We have created a business where we engage with our clients in a very holistic way. Take a look at our website to see more about this.

Can you sum up how 2018 has been for Venture Risks?

As we only launched in June this year, it’s been very busy. We have had brilliant support from many, many companies and are somewhat humbled by the types and size of company that trust us to look after them. This includes some very exciting US and international companies who have been locating in the UK.

We have found that companies seem to like our approach. The insurance and risk world is complicated and often clients are unaware of just what support they can get from a broker and an insurer. We have adopted a style that follows the statement ‘The customer doesn’t know what he wants until he gets it’ meaning that we really have to open their eyes to just how supportive our industry can be to them.

What are you hoping to achieve in 2019?

2019 is going to be really exciting. We have received considerable financial backing to accelerate our growth but we know that in order to grow we have to convince business leaders that their current broker isn’t as good as they thought. That means we have to prove that we can bring very real added value and special results

Our Confidential Corporate Reviews are very powerful. Our risk analysis always highlights existing insurance programme problems and errors. We are hoping that by continuing to do that well, word of mouth will spread good stories about us amongst the East Anglian tech community

Finally, we have also some exciting opportunities coming up in 2019 that we’ll be able to talk about soon!

How does Venture Risks participate in the East Anglian tech community?

We have numerous clients in the tech and media space, ranging from startups to well established businesses making a name for themselves in the national and international arenas.

Locally, I like to think we are positive and active members of various groups based in London, Ipswich and Norwich. Engaging and supporting these groups is at the root of what we do and is part of our DNA (or should I say base code!)

We’re also proud to participate in the TechEast community. We attend and support the great events they host, as well as working with TechEast members and we will continue to help our clients grow through business introductions through our extensive network.

In your opinion, what are the biggest strengths and challenges for East Anglia as a tech hotspot?

In the East Anglia’s business community there are so many innovative businesses, all with a drive to succeed.

However, there’s still work to be done when it comes to persuading people that East Anglia is a great place to live and do business. We need to dispel the pervasive myth that you need to be based in either London or Cambridge to achieve something. Norwich and Ipswich need to create a brand that entices people to work here.

And finally, why did Venture Risks join TechEast?

We recognise the value that TechEast brings to the region. If we all want to have a vibrant tech sector, we should be supporting TechEast. It has rapidly become an important power in the UK tech community.

The pace of change in the tech sector means that we have to keep up to speed. We need to keep understanding new innovation so that we can keep an eye on developing risks. The global interconnected economy is complex, legally challenging and moving at pace. Who else but TechEast members can keep us updated?!

TechEast gives a great voice and focus to the sector. Tim and Brigette offer massive support at a strategic level for businesses in the East. We know that with more companies involved it will help create a bigger voice and influence for our region.

Contact Tech East: or @TechEast


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