Nightcap’s executive team is led by prominent hospitality entrepreneur and investor, Sarah Willingham, and boasts a market leading operational and corporate finance track record. Collectively, they have been involved in the operation of over a hundred bars and restaurants and have led a number of successful exits of hospitality companies for investors. The team is exceptionally well positioned to capitalise on the market opportunity.
Board of Directors
Sarah Willingham, Founder and CEO
Sarah is an entrepreneur and investor with extensive experience in the hospitality industry. She appeared as a Dragon on BBC’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ and also as a judge and investor on ‘The Restaurant’. Sarah was formerly a director of the Clapham House Group plc where she co-owned, developed and sold the Bombay Bicycle Club. She was also responsible for the development of The Real Greek and Tootsies brands and the combined estate of 47 restaurants. Sarah is chair of the PE-backed Tonkotsu Group and a shareholder of the UK’s largest subscription business for alcohol, ‘Craft Gin Club’. As a director of and a shareholder in the London Cocktail Club, Sarah has played a pivotal role since its inception and will lead the next stage of its expansion as Nightcap’s Chief Executive Officer.
Toby Rolph, Chief Financial Officer
Toby boasts over 20 years of experience in the hospitality sector and was instrumental in growing the cocktail bar chain Be At One and night venue operator Academy Music Group, where his work as Finance Director led to successful trade exits to Stonegate and Live Nation respectively. He worked closely on the management buyout of Academy Music Group to RJD Partners and was later involved in organising its trade sale to Live Nation. Toby subsequently joined PE-backed Be At One where he oversaw the finance function whilst undergoing significant site expansion from 12 to 33 sites, before co-leading the successful exit to Stonegate in 2018.
Michael Toxvaerd, Founder and Executive Director
Michael is a serial entrepreneur, investor and venture capital and private equity professional. He founded and led the IPO of NeutraHealth plc in 2005 which he grew to a turnover of £34.6m and EBITDA of £2.3m in 2009. He was previously Managing Partner of HBG Holdings UK and CIO of HBG Holdings, the Dubai based private equity group as well as a director of the specialist asset management and investment banking group Rasmala plc, which has $1.82 billion of assets under management. He has over 15 years of mergers and acquisitions experience and extensive experience in capital markets, strategy, founding, finance, listing and advising companies privately and on the London Stock Exchange. Michael will lead Nightcap’s acquisition strategy.
Gareth Edwards, Non-Executive Chairman
Gareth is a qualified solicitor and was previously a partner at law firm Pinsent Masons LLP, where he held both the positions of Global Head of Corporate and International Development Partner. He is currently a strategic consultant and an Executive Director of London Bridge Capital Limited and is also a director of FXPress Payment Services Limited. He has significant public markets experience and is Chairman of Honye Financial Services Limited and Senior Independent Director of The Local Shopping REIT plc which are all quoted on the London Stock Exchange. He brings significant AIM experience to the Board, having acted on the AIM Disciplinary and Appeals Committee until 2017 and is currently a Non-Executive Director of AIM listed Various Eateries plc.
Toby Van der Meer, Non-Executive Director
Toby is Group Chief Executive Officer and a Board Director of Hastings Group, one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing retail financial services businesses. Having joined in 2011 as Managing Director of Hastings’ retail business, Toby has helped lead Hastings growth, and has taken the group through private equity investment, its IPO and growth to a FTSE 250 company, and more recently successfully completed a £1.6 billion take-private. Toby became Hastings’ group CEO in 2018, served on the plc Board from 2018-2020, and is also an Executive Director of HISL, the group’s FCA regulated retail business. Before joining Hastings, Toby was a Managing Director at Moneysupermarket plc, the FTSE 250 comparison business.
Thi-hanh Jelf, Non-Executive Director
Hanh is a senior corporate lawyer and was a partner in London law firm Pinsent Masons LLP. She founded her own boutique corporate law firm in 2013 and now acts for clients in the retail, leisure, technology and fintech sectors. Specialising in corporate and commercial advisory, Hanh has over 20 years’ experience of mergers and acquisitions and investment transactions. She has acted for both buyers and sellers in private company transactions and public company takeovers. Whilst at Pinsent Masons, she set up the firm’s corporate office in Shanghai, implemented internal procedures, standardising business development opportunities and raising the firm’s profile.
Lance Moir: Non-Executive Director
Lance has over 30 years’ senior business experience in financial and strategy roles. He has been Chief Financial Officer of WIN plc and Executive Director of IMImobile, Group Finance Director and Director of Planning and Business Development for First Choice Holidays plc, Director of Corporate Finance for Bass plc and Head of Corporate Finance and Planning for Storehouse plc. He has formerly been the senior independent director and chair of the Audit committee of Henderson Global Trust plc and also of Raft International plc. He has a PhD from Cranfield University. He is a fellow of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.