Founder and Managing Director
Shields Russell founded Rapid Innovation Group in 2003. Prior to founding RIG, Shields ran two technology companies and was a consultant at Charter Management Consulting working across sectors for large organisations and fast growth SMEs.Read more about Shields
Founder and Managing Director
Shields founded Rapid Innovation Group in 2003 with the intention of building a specialist consulting firm focused exclusively on the practice of entrepreneurial management. Over a decade RIG has developed a distinctive set of critical capabilities that when taken together represent the corpus of the firm’s method and know how.
In addition to client work, Shields’ strategic priorities include: recruitment and talent development, new client acquisition, optimising RIG’s client portfolio, and co-building new businesses in which RIG is a significant shareholder. He is actively involved in the firm’s initiative to develop a panel of investors that can provide financing options to both existing clients and new company starts.
Before RIG, Shields was a management consultant at Charter Management Consulting working across sectors for large organisations and fast growth SMEs. He founded and was CEO of Greychip, an e-learning company based on the principles of self-managed learning. In his early career, Shields spent two years running a landscape design company on Shelter Island, New York and three years as an English teacher at Maru a Pula, an independent, co- educational secondary school located in Gaborone, Botswana.
Shields is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and holds a Masters from Lancaster University.
Simon joined Rapid Innovation in 2009. He comes from a science background and has broad experience in growth and financing strategies for technology companies. Prior to RIG, he was a Managing Director and founder member at Langham Capital, a Delhi-London advisory firm specialising in international transactions for the Indian IT, outsourcing and media sectors.
At RIG, Simon works with established companies that need to focus and build reliable sources of accelerated growth; and with startups to help them develop financially compelling propositions and to allocate scarce resources to growth effectively.
He has a particular interest in technologies that simplify the management, interpretation and visualisation of data.
Simon has an MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge, was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard University, and has an MBA from INSEAD. He speaks Chinese and French, is a keen jazz pianist and is learning Python.
Sameer Pal has been with Rapid Innovation Group since its inception in 2003, having previously worked for Mercer Management Consulting in New York in projects in the Retail, FMCG and Financial Services sectors.
Sameer has a particular interest in working with IP-rich companies that have recently spun out of a university or the R&D department of a larger company. In particular, he specialises in commercialising engineering technologies with technology-led competitive advantage which have global applications across major industries. Key industries of focus are the Oil and Gas and the AEC markets. He also has a particular interest in driving growth for G7 companies in the Asian market.
Some of Sameer’s clients’ success stories at RIG include:
- Taking a single-customer company to 12 customers across the world in 5 different continents in the first year of significant commercial activity
- Assisting a client to negotiate out of exclusivity from an existing commercial partner and thus give them the opportunity to realise a 9-figure market potential.
- Spearheading the European construction market for a client by building a pipeline of 30 of the top 50 European construction companies each with a 7-figure annual revenue potential
- Driving growth in two companies (one in banking technology and the other in HR) both of which completed trade sales to a large global system integrator
Sameer has a double major in International Relations and History, with a minor in Economics, from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Sameer has lived in 6 different countries and speaks Hindi and Bengali fluently and is conversant in French.
David Gates is a Partner at Rapid Innovation Group. He has been with the firm since 2005, having previously worked with Freshminds and Bain & Company. His interest in disruptive technology spans both hardware and software businesses, although his stage focus is very clear: he is particularly interested in working with early stage businesses to find their market and achieve early traction – be this through partnering to enable growth or through early client wins.
His competence extends to developing and implementing organisational processes across partnering, marketing, sales, recruitment and delivery. Client feedback over the past decade consistently cite his rigour, tenacity and drive as key personality characteristics. He is actively interested in the training and development of leaders in a business context, instigated by the collection of a coaching qualification in 2008, and he regularly lectures on the subject.
He is particularly interested in the power of the network, and has had early involvement in companies creating vertical social networks and innovating on the crowdfunding and peer to peer funding models. Flexibility of mind, a willingness to challenge, a global outlook, and an attitude of ‘fail fast’ are personality aspects he considers critical in any potential entrepreneur.
David has a degree in Geography, with a focus on environmental change, from Robinson College, Cambridge. Reflecting his generalist personality, he has worked across multiple disciplines and verticals including (but not limited to): agriculture, telecommunications, healthcare, public relations and marketing, private and state security, equity and commodity investing, hedge funds, law, environment and health & safety practice, human resources, and strategy consulting.
Graham is a Partner in RIG’s energy and natural resources practice. He supports new and growing technologies in the industry, as well as seeking out mature technologies in other sectors with untapped application and value in energy.Read more about Graham
Graham is a partner in RIG’s energy and natural resources practice. He supports new and growing technologies in the industry, as well as seeking out mature technologies in other sectors with untapped application and value in energy.
Graham has a particular interest in companies that leverage genuine disruptive technological differentiation and have the capacity to make a material change to oil, gas, power, and related industries.
Before joining RIG, Graham spent 9 years with a boutique headhunting firm in oil and gas, working across upstream, midstream, and downstream, and leverages his contacts and immersion in the industry on behalf of clients.
Peter joined RIG in 2014 having spent over 10 years in advisory roles assisting both start-ups and major corporates with their strategic, growth, and innovation objectives.
At RIG, Peter is focused on supporting clients to commercialise their disruptive, IP-rich technologies in a way which enables them to extract maximum value and develop a competitive advantage. Peter is particularly interested in the Cleantech, Industrial Products, and Agricultural Technology sectors.
Peter started his career at Enterprise Ireland where he focused on identifying business development opportunities for Irish start-ups in France across the Technology and Industrial Products sectors. Peter then worked at strategy consultancy Kaiser Associates before moving to innovation firm Inzenka, leading ideation initiatives, developing new propositions, creating sales pipelines, and designing market pilots.
A fluent French speaker, Peter has a first class honours degree in International Commerce and French from University College Dublin and a degree in International Management from the Nancy Business School. Outside of work he is a keen squash player.
At RIG, Ffion is an Engagement Manager who supports both the energy and natural resources, and materials practices. A lead in market discovery and validation, Ffion is now designing and building a strategic network of distribution partners for an on-site renewable energy generation technology.Read more about Ffion
Ffion joined RIG in 2013 having previously worked at the Welsh Assembly Government.
At RIG, Ffion is an Engagement Manager who supports both the energy and natural resources, and materials practices. A lead in market discovery and validation, Ffion is now designing and building a strategic network of distribution partners for an on-site renewable energy generation technology. She is also leading market engagement for a novel noise attenuation materials technology; identifying global industry challenges, and shaping up joint development projects.
Ffion graduated from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, with a degree in Social and Political Sciences. Her focuses while studying were the Politics of the Iranian Revolution and Thatcherism.
Since graduating, Ffion has assisted in coaching the Welsh national debating team, which she captained at the World Championships in 2006. A fluent Welsh and French speaker, she is an avid football and rugby fan, and has a serious passion for food.
Helen joined RIG in 2014 having previously worked on the sales team at fintech start-up GoCardless where she managed relationships with significant clients as well as working on advertising efficiency.
Helen graduated from New College, Oxford, with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics where her main focuses were International Relations and Ancient Greek philosophy. While studying, she spent time volunteering with Streetlaw in HMP Pentonville.
Helen enjoys good food, particularly Thai, and is a terrible cook in her free time. She is also a keen cyclist and occasionally plays basketball.