Piers Linney

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Piers Linney
Born Jonathan Piers Daniel Linney
(1971-02-15) 15 February 1971 (age 43)
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England
Residence London, England
Education The University of Manchester
Occupation Businessman
television personality
Known for Dragons' Den
The Secret Millionaire
Spouse(s) Tara Linney
Children Tiger and Electra

Jonathan Piers Daniel Linney (born 15 February 1971 in Stoke-on-Trent[1][2][3]) is an English businessman, who is the current Co-CEO of cloud-based IT business Outsourcery, best known for being a 'dragon' on the BBC Two business series Dragons' Den.

Linney also appeared on the Channel 4 series The Secret Millionaire in 2011, where he worked in Wolverhampton at a Young Offenders' institution.

Early life[edit]

With both Barbadian and English heritage, Linney, the son of Derek and Norma Linney, grew up in Stoke-on-Trent before moving at the age of nine with his family to the small mill town Bacup in Lancashire,[4] where he attended the local comprehensive school after failing his 11+. With aspirations of being his own boss even at the age of thirteen, Linney cut out his local newsagent by going direct to the wholesaler to start his own paper round, planting his entrepreneurial seed by building it up and then selling it off.[5]


Although Linney is usually described as an entrepreneur, he has a professional background in the City. After studying Accounting and Law at The University of Manchester, he qualified as a solicitor in the City with SJ Berwin. He left law to join the UK investment banking team at Barclays de Zoete Wedd, where he met Simon Newton in 1997, followed by time spent working at Credit Suisse, where he specialised in mergers and acquisitions and leveraged buyouts. Linney left banking in 2000 to start an internet business and has since been involved in a number of technology, media and telecommunications businesses as a founder, director, investor and adviser. After becoming the CEO of a corporate finance boutique, Linney became a partner in an alternative investment fund providing structured debt and equity financing to small cap public companies.

In 2007, Linney led, in alliance with his friend and business partner, Simon Newton, the buyout of Genesis Communications,[6] a mobile voice and data reseller company. In 2009 Genesis acquires Thus Mobile from Cable&Wireless and rebranded as Outsourcery to focus on the cloud IT and communications opportunity. In 2012 the company was valued at £43 million[7] and the mobile business was sold[8] to create a pure-play cloud business, which was funded by the founders and private investors.

Outsourcery was floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in 2013 raising £13 million.[9] The business is now regarded as one of Microsoft's leading Cloud Services Providers after it was selected as one of only five UK Cloud OS Network partners.[10] Linney was a founding member of the Governance Board of the UK's Cloud Industry Forum[11] and regularly appears in the media to discuss the benefits of cloud computing. In 2013, Linney was recognised in the JP Morgan sponsored Power List 2013 as one of the top 100 most influential black Britons.[12]

Recently Linney has joined the Cabinet Office SME Panel advising on small and medium business issues.[13] Linney has also established the not-for-profit organisation workinsight.org, a national digital platform that connects young people to local employers. The scheme aims to create better access to work valuable work place experience, and has received backing from Microsoft and Esther McVey, MP and Minister for Work and Pensions.[14]

Dragons' Den[edit]

Main article: Dragons' Den

In 2013, Linney joined the panel on the BBC Two television series Dragons' Den, along with fellow new dragon Kelly Hoppen. They joined in the eleventh series. Linney also appeared as a dragon in the twelfth series of Dragons' Den which began airing on 20 July 2014.

Dragons' Den investments
  • Skinny Tan – £60,000 for 10% of the business (joint investment with Kelly Hoppen)
  • Mainstage Travel – £100,000 for 15% of the business
  • Vini & Bal's Rustic Indian – £50,000 for 30% of the business
  • energyEGG – £50,000 for 30% of the business
  • Skribbies – £30,000 for 12.5% of the business (joint investment with Kelly Hoppen)
  • Lost My Name – £100,000 for 5% of the business


As an extension to his interest in business, Linney is a founding Trustee of the Powerlist Foundation[15] which aims to identify and support tomorrow's leaders irrespective of their race, gender, faith or ethnicity. He is also a trustee of the innovation charity with a £300 million endowment, NESTA[16] and he is also a trustee of Plotr.[17]

Linney is involved with Virgin Unite[18] and a range of other charities as a donor or patron. Linney is also in the process of establishing his own charity, Work Insights, to provide equal opportunities for work place insights. Linney believes in 'do well, do good' and in the power of business as a positive force for change.

Interests and Personal life[edit]

Linney married Tara Bishop in 2003: they have two children Tiger and Electra. Linney is a keen cycling and mountain-biking enthusiast.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ Daisy Buchanan (11 August 2013). "Dragon's Den Piers Linney: 10 things you need to know about new Dragon – Mirror Online". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Marcus Leach (11 March 2011). "Who is Piers Linney? – Fresh Business Thinking website". www.freshbusinessthinking.com. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Begum (12 November 2013), Shelina. "Outsourcery on cloud nine". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  8. ^ James Graham (3 September 2013). "Outsourcery sells mobile business – The Business Desk website". www.thebusinessdesk.com. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Doug Woodburn (22 April 2011). "Piers Linney: If you're not gunning for £100m, get out of cloud – CRN website". www.channelweb.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Outsourcery (12 December 2013). "Piers Linney: Outsourcery enters new alliance with Microsoft – by joining the Microsoft Cloud OS Network – Outsourcery website". www.outsourcery.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  11. ^ Cloud Industry Forum (8 September 2012). "Piers Linney – Cloud Industry Forum website". www.cloudindustryforum.org. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Kaya Burgess (12 March 2013). "Piers Linney, Dragons' Den latest, flies in from the cloud – The Times website". www.thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Cabinet Ofice (28 July 2014). "Dragons' Den investor Piers Linney joins Cabinet Office SME Panel". Gov.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  14. ^ New Business (8 May 2014). "Technology entrepreneur and Dragons' Den star launches innovative digital portal to transform work experience". newbusiness. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Powerlist Foundation (13 November 2011). "Piers Linney Trustee – Powerlist Foundation website". Powerlist Foundation. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  16. ^ Nesta (24 January 2014). "Piers Linney Trustee – Nesta website". Nesta. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  17. ^ Enterprise Nation. "Enterprise Nation Founder Emma Jones joins Plotr as Chair". Enterprise Nation. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  18. ^ Natalie Graham (27 September 2013). "Piers Linney: I won’t take no for an answer – FT Online". FT.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 

External links[edit]