Meet the Virti Team: Mark Ashworth, COO & CFO
As Virti’s new COO and CFO, Mark is using his extensive experience in the technology sector to help drive our international scale-up agenda.
Tell us a little bit about your background and your career journey.
Born and raised in Yorkshire, I studied Mathematics at Cambridge University and launched my career in and around the booming Cambridge technology scene – the so-called Silicon Fen.
I am a qualified accountant - working in corporate finance and strategy - and over the past two decades I have worked across a number of different industries, from biotech, to software, semiconductors, industrial printing and Agritech.
Before I decided to embark on this new role with Virti, I was managing a Sales team of 200+ people across five continents - it was a lot of fun and the team had a lot of success! I decided to step back from that in order to support a rapid-growth, innovative company to scale up globally from a smaller base - and that company was Virti...
When (and why) did you join the Virti team?
I joined in March 2021. I recognised the business’s potential, and felt that my operating experience could be brought to bear to take good early execution into global exponential growth.
I saw the successes that the team had achieved in such a short time frame, and became excited about how Virti’s products could be used to change and save lives. Whilst I didn’t go into teaching myself, it is a bit of a family trade, and I’ve always put development at the heart of my organisations. Becoming a part of Virti’s mission to bring world-class training to a global audience was an opportunity I seized with enthusiasm.
Can you describe your role at Virti? What does a ‘typical’ day look like?
As Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer I have a broad range of involvement in the business. Typically, anything we are looking to achieve will involve having motivated people to deliver it, and a financial return that needs to be evaluated.
I start each morning by thinking about the Virti team - about how we can communicate more effectively, how we can maintain our unique culture, and how I can make sure that they have what they need to be successful. When our team members are motivated and equipped to delight customers, everybody wins!
After that, I’ll usually be on calls with customers, colleagues or investors, helping them to overcome any problems or to generate new solutions and ideas. Later on in the day I might set aside time to work through some contracts, considering the right pricing approach for customers and for Virti to create value from what we do.
What skills did you bring to the team, and what skills have you developed since joining?
I bring experience of scaling an organisation successfully and knowing what great looks like: it’s my role to bring that in at the appropriate time. However, attitude is equally as important as skills: having done it before doesn’t give you an entire playbook for success; you still have to work on taking a fresh perspective and on identifying key areas for improvement.
Since joining Virti, I have learned how far I have come as an individual, as a communicator, as a leader, since I was last in a COO/CFO position. Reflecting on this is helping me to understand my next areas for development as I progress further with Virti.
Looking ahead, what do you think the rest of 2021 holds for Virti?
2021 is going to be a brilliant year for Virti. We’re in the midst of planning some very exciting new projects and partnerships, and I’m really looking forward to bringing the right talent on board to show us things that have not yet even been thought of. That’s going to be amazing fun.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
My family - my wife and children - are my priority, and my joy!
When I do have some free time, I enjoy exercising, playing and watching cricket. I have been learning Swedish throughout lockdown - motivated by my fascination with language history and linguistics - and have become pretty good at reading (although I’m finding the speaking much harder)!