Team

Thor Björgólfsson

Chairman and Founder


Thor began investing in frontier markets in Russia in 1991, founding a bottling company that grew into the Bravo brewing group, subsequently sold to Heineken in 2002.

Following that transaction Thor founded Novator in 2004, diversifying into telecoms and pharmaceuticals, building a portfolio of business investments that led to Forbes magazine naming him as Iceland’s first billionaire in a 2007 cover story. The fallout of the global financial crisis of 2008 resulted in personal guarantee debts of €350m. Refusing to go bankrupt, Thor rebuilt his portfolio and paid off the debt by 2014. He has been described as an ‘adventure capitalist’ because of his unusual tolerance for risk.

Today, through Novator, Thor continues to be an active investor in the emerging economies of Central and Eastern Europe as well as Latin America and his native country, Iceland. He also personally invests in cutting-edge sustainability focused initiatives including Princeville Capital, a fund for growth-stage tech companies focused on positively impacting climate change and David de Rothschild’s eco-driven lifestyle brand, The Lost Explorer.

Thor is a finance graduate from the Stern School of Business at New York University and was honoured in the World Economic Forum’s first Young Global Leader cohort in 2005. In 2014 he co-wrote a book with financial journalist Andrew Cave called ‘Billions to Bust and Back’ which was published by Profile Books. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and events including delivering the opening keynote at WIRED’s London event in 2016 and a think tank event in Reykjavik that same year titled, Social progress, What works?

More information about Thor’s career history and interests is available on his personal website.

Andri Sveinsson

Partner


Andri is a Cand. Oceon from the University of Iceland focusing on accounting.

He started his career in the banking and finance sector in Iceland, working at Skandia, and Bunadarbanki, where he was the Head of Corporate Finance. Along with collegues, Andri then funded the Investment Company Gilding, that later merged with Bunadarbanki in 2001. From 2002 he has been working with Thor, being a founding Partner at Novator in 2005.

Andri’s main focus at Novator is sourcing investments, M&A, finance and operations. He has worked across industries mainly in the health, telecoms and tech space.

Currently Andri is a board member and leads several investments in the generic pharma, health and tech space. These include Xantis, Catapult, Nova, Dreamlines, Playfusion, and SideKick Health.

Andri‘s other interests include football, skiing, boxing, rock and riding motorcycles. He is the co-founder of the Icelandic Punk Museum and an executive producer of best grossing Icelandic movie this century.

Birgir Már Ragnarsson

Partner


Birgir started his career practising law and working in academia focusing on finance, corporate law, financial markets and e-commerce. He founded and served as CEO of a tech start-up in the cybersecurity space (digital signatures) and worked in public service and private practice before joining Novator as a Partner in 2005. Birgir has as the managing partner at Novator co-founded and served on the board of multiple successful businesses.

His main focus areas at Novator are sourcing investments, M&A, negotiations, finance, and operations. Birgir has worked across several industries including pharma, banking, gaming, telecoms and technology. Across all sectors, his passion is building new businesses and supporting founders and management teams in achieving their goals.

Currently, Birgir is a board member and leads multiple investments in the digital consumer, computer and mobile gaming and green energy spaces. These include Tier Mobility, Monzo Bank, Numan, Cazoo, Robin Games, Lockwood, Zwift, Verne Global, Playfusion, Sidekick, Deliveroo, and Klang Games. Birgir is a Harvard Law School graduate and a member of Harvard Law School European Leadership Council and the Langdell Society.

Birgir’s other interests include skiing, cycling and riding horses. He and his wife built and operate a horse farm in Iceland where they breed horses and operate a high-end retreat. They also co-founded one of Reykjavík‘s most popular restaurants, Eiriksson Brasserie.

Bruce McInroy

Partner


Bruce’s primary role is sourcing and deal execution, both entries and exits, as well as active involvement in portfolio companies, particularly in the telecoms and tech sectors.

While at Novator, Bruce has been a member of the Boards of Play (Poland), Netia (Poland), Turknet (formerly NetOne, Turkey), Bulgarian Telecoms Company (now Vivacom), Forthnet (Greece), Be* Unlimited (UK), Mo-de (Kenya), TransferTo (Singapore), Tradus (UK, formerly QXL) and WOM (formerly Nextel Chile).

Prior to joining Novator in 2004, Bruce gained wide-ranging experience in the telecom and technology sectors with BT, and then in equities research covering the U.K. and European technology and telecom sector. More recently, he was employed in investment banking at Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch. He received an M.A. degree in Computer Sciences from Trinity College, Cambridge. Bruce is married with two children and enjoys sailing, ideally with two or three hulls rather than one, and ski touring in strange places.

Chiehmi Chan

Partner


Chiehmi is a Partner and CIO of Novator Capital Advisors. He is responsible for seeing through investments from sourcing to exit, with a particular focus on structuring and risk management.

Chiehmi has deep, first-hand experience in start-up and private equity investing in addition to his career trading and leading at Bulge Bracket Investment Banks. For over 25 years, he has been active in capital markets, including serving as Head of Equity Structured Products, Asian Head of Equity trading and Head of Global Emerging Markets, Equity at Deutsche Bank. In addition to his time at Deutsche Bank, he has held numerous trading and leadership roles in equity derivatives and credit trading across flow and structured products at UBS, J.P. Morgan and Citigroup.

Chiehmi is married with two children and has many and diverse interests, but above all he loves good food and great wine.

Prabhu Narasimhan

Partner


Prabhu is a partner at Novator and he together with Chiehmi Chan leads the capital markets division of Novator.

Prabhu focuses on sourcing, structuring and executing structured products and debt and equity capital markets investments as well as, selectively, pre-IPO investments in technology and media companies.

Prabhu has over 15 years of experience as attorney at three global law firms (and as partner in two of them) advising alternative investment firms, family offices and founders and private equity funds on structuring and executing global multi-billion public and private M&A and corporate finance transactions.

Prabhu has spent the majority of his career as key advisor to multi-billion founders and family offices using his breadth of investment structuring and execution experience. As a result, Prabhu has deep network and connections in the founder and family offices space particularly in Europe and the Middle East which he often calls upon to provide guidance and support to founders and management teams of portfolio companies.

Prabhu received his M.A degree in law from Cambridge University where he was a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar. Prabhu is a keen cricketer and enjoys motorcycling particularly in high altitude locations.

Serdar Çetin

Partner


Serdar Çetin has been a Partner at Novator since the firm’s inception with a keen focus on both deal sourcing and execution. He is active in the monitoring and supervision of portfolio companies, particularly in the telecoms sector.

Serdar has been a key Partner for Novator at both WOM and Play from their respective launches, with Play growing from a start-up to market leader and with WOM advancing from a loss-making, turnaround situation to a profitable and fast-growing challenger.

Previously Serdar has been a key Partner and board member for investments in a number of countries including Poland (Netia), Greece (Forthnet), Turkey (Turknet), and the United Kingdom (Be* Unlimited).

Prior to joining Novator, Serdar worked at Merrill Lynch investment banking and BNP Paribas Asset Management. He holds an Msc in Management (Grande Ecole) from HEC School of Management in Paris and BSc in civil engineering from Middle East Technical University in Ankara. He is fluent in English, Turkish and French.

Serdar is a keen runner having represented Turkey in international competitions.

Thomas Leslie

Partner


Thomas Leslie is a Partner and the General Counsel at Novator, having joined the firm in 2015.

Thomas graduated with an LLB and B.Com (Honours) from Otago University, New Zealand. Prior to joining Novator, he worked in private practice at Bell Gully (New Zealand), Linklaters LLP (London) and White & Case LLP (London), with a focus on corporate law, mergers and acquisitions and private equity. He was a primary legal advisor to Novator, prior to joining the firm in 2015.

His main focus areas at Novator are mergers and acquisitions, financing, deal execution, sourcing and operations, with a focus on the telecommunications and tech sectors.

Thomas is married with two children and his other interests include cycling, skiing and rugby.

Anna-Kreeta Rantamaa-Hiltunen

Director


Anna has been at Novator since the inception of Novator’s Luxembourg office and was one of two to set it up in early 2009.

Her main focus at Novator now is the management of the Novator group entities, including legal, corporate governance, financial, and regulatory aspects of entities in Luxembourg and abroad, and also managing the Luxembourg office. Anna is also a director of Novator Luxembourg and holds board memberships in various other Novator group entities.

Anna holds an LLM degree and started her career working at a district court in Finland. She moved to Luxembourg in 2006 and worked at Equity Trust (Luxembourg) S.A. and Landsbanki Luxembourg S.A. prior joining Novator. In her roles, both legal and tax, Anna has been dealing mainly with wealth management, tax and financial restructuring, transaction management and other corporate law matters for private equity clients.

Anna’s other interests include skiing, cycling and all other kind of endurance sports which she is doing for fun after having introduced herself to the more serious side of it earlier in her career.

Jan Rottiers

Director


With over twenty years of experience in the financial and wealth management sector, Jan is responsible for the crafting and implementation of cross-border investment structures for Novator (and its group companies).

Jan joined Novator in 2009 and was instrumental in establishing its Luxembourg office and operations which manages the full spectrum of Novator’s investment portfolio. He is also a board member of various companies where his experience and understanding of cross-border investment structures is of strategic importance.  In this capacity, he is also responsible for establishing and maintaining “best in class” corporate governance and compliance processes.

Prior to Novator, Jan held various senior positions with Deloitte across Europe, Asia and Africa, in its audit, corporate finance and advisory departments. As a result, Jan has broad and in-depth experience in international corporate structuring, financing and investment.

Jan graduated cum Laude from the Law Faculty of the University of Louvain (Belgium) in 1987 and subsequently obtained magna cum laude a M.B.A. (with a major in Finance) from the same university.

Jan is married with two children and enjoys hiking, skiing and travelling.

Sigthor Sigmarsson

Director


Following a brief period of studying in the engineering field, Sigthor went to banking, spending eight years with Íslandsbanki in Iceland, in divisions including research, capital markets, treasury and risk. He headed the Risk Management department of Islandsbanki for several years until joining Novator in 2006.

At Novator, Sigthor’s focus spans group treasury and funding and the management of holding structures as well as certain assets, mainly in the telecoms space.

Sigthor is a director of Novator Iceland and Novator Luxembourg and is on the board of various Novator holding entities, such as Chilli Investments, Xantis Phama Investments in Cyprus and NC Telecom in Norway. He has also been on the board of Nova in Iceland since before the launch of its operations in 2007.

His other interests include motorcycling and snowmobiles, vintage cars and cooking.

Sigthor holds a CSc. degree in electronic engineering and is a chartered securities broker.

Jaroslav Valiukevic

Principal


Jaroslav Valiukevic joined Novator in 2016 and has since been engaged in a number of investments and exits in the tech and telecommunications sectors, amongst others.

He joined from Morgan Stanley where he was in the investment banking division within the media & communications team, based in London. Prior to Morgan Stanley, Jaroslav was in investment banking at Nomura International, London.

Jaroslav holds an MSc Finance degree with distinction from Imperial College London and BSc Economics degree from Vilnius University. He is passionate about sport and was a member of the Lithuanian Modern Pentathlon national team.

Ingo Eschweiler

Investment Professional


Ingo Eschweiler joined Novator in 2018.

Prior to joining Novator, Ingo worked in Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking Division in Frankfurt, Sydney and London, where he worked on M&A and IPO transactions across a variety of industries.

He holds an MSc in Management from London Business School.

James Manning-Coe

Investment Professional


James joined Novator in 2019.

Previously, James was an Associate in the Investment Banking Division at Citigroup in London, focusing on Telecom, Media & Technology.

He holds a first-class BSc Economics degree from Loughborough University.

James is passionate about sport, having won two consecutive u-19 National American Football championships. James’ other interests include tennis and clay pigeon shooting.