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Octopus Ventures, Europe’s top early stage venture capital firm, has announced that Howard Bell, the growth and product expert who helped PayPal to become Europe’s dominant online payment company, has joined its London office as a Venture Partner.

Howard will be responsible for supporting Octopus Ventures’ portfolio companies to scale their businesses by advising on product development and growth strategy.

Howard was one of PayPal Europe’s first employees, and was tasked with helping the company to break into a European market with a sophisticated and powerful financial sector. During his four years with PayPal, Howard helped establish PayPal as the UK’s fastest growing online payment system, increasing its UK membership from 2 million to 20 million and growing annual revenues from £3m to £200m.

Prior to PayPal, Howard served as Director of Product and Business Development and VP Marketing at cybersecurity company Content Technologies. In these roles he drove international revenue growth to 42% global market share, leading to an exit of £650m. He also previously served as Chief Commercial Officer at JustGiving, where his leadership on product development generated new products, a new revenue pipeline and profitable new channel strategies. JustGiving was recently acquired by Blackbaud, the world’s leading online fundraising platform, for £95m.

At Octopus Ventures, Howard will work with the portfolio companies’ CEOs to build long-term growth strategies that incorporate product development, marketing tactics and international expansion to scale quickly and effective.

Alliott Cole, CEO of Octopus Ventures, said:

“Howard is an accomplished and distinguished commercial leader, with an excellent track record in driving growth and creating market-leading brands. His expertise in constructing and implementing business growth strategies will add huge value to our portfolio companies and compliment the skillsets of our existing Venture Partners.”

Howard Bell, Venture Partner at Octopus Ventures, said:

“I am excited to join Octopus Ventures and bring my skillset to bear across the firm’s diverse portfolio of ambitious tech companies. I was attracted to the firm because of its emphasis on entrepreneurship and strategy of working with founders across the company lifecycle, from early stage startups all the way to multinational success.

“Octopus Ventures has a massive amount of experience and talent among its seven Venture Partners, and I look forward to adding my own expertise in growth strategy and product to this impressive group.”

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For journalists in their professional capacity only. Personal opinions may change and should not be seen as advice or a recommendation. We do not offer investment or tax advice. Issued by Octopus Investments. Octopus Ventures is part of Octopus Investments Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT. Registered in England and Wales No. 03942880. Issued: October 2017.