Michael Richard Lynch
Michael Lynch in 2014, portrait via the Royal Society
Michael Richard Lynch
16 June 1965
|Alma mater||University of Cambridge (BA, PhD)|
|Known for||Autonomy Corporation|
|Thesis||Adaptive techniques in signal processing and connectionist models (1990)|
|Doctoral advisor||Peter J.W. Rayner|
Michael Richard Lynch OBE DL FRS FREng (born 16 June 1965) is an entrepreneur with a scientific background. He is the co-founder of Autonomy Corporation and the founder of Invoke Capital, and has several other roles, including membership of the Council for Science and Technology which advises the UK government. His entrepreneurship is associated with Silicon Fen. Lynch is known for his work applying techniques from signal processing and pattern recognition to unstructured information, and Autonomy is a leader in this area. In October 2011, Autonomy was sold to Hewlett-Packard for $11bn.
Early life and education
In 1976, aged 11, he won a scholarship to Bancroft's School, Woodford. From there he went to Christ's College, Cambridge to study Natural Sciences. He combined mathematics, biological and physical sciences, taking the combination of advanced physics, mathematics and biochemistry in the IB Tripos. For part II, he chose electrical sciences where he first met Peter Rayner, his mentor in the signal processing laboratory of the engineering department. After graduating he went on to do a PhD in signal processing and communications research at the University of Cambridge, and then undertook a research fellowship in adaptive pattern recognition.
In the late 1980s Lynch formed Lynett Systems Ltd, producing designs and audio products for the music recording industry including the first ever sampler for the Atari ST, the Lynex, which was followed by the ADAS sampler for Atari, Mac & PC. This led to the offshoot D2D Systems which produced a software-only hard disk recording system for the Atari Falcon.
In 1991 he set up Cambridge Neurodynamics, which specialized in computer-based finger print recognition.
In 1996 Lynch co-founded Autonomy Corporation. and he served Autonomy as CEO. During this time Autonomy acquired Dremedia, Virage ($13m), Verity ($500m), Zantaz ($375m) and Interwoven ($606m).
In October 2011 Autonomy was sold to Hewlett-Packard for $11 billion.
In May 2012, HP fired Mike Lynch.
In February 2013, Lynch raised $1 billion through his Invoke Capital fund to invest in up and coming British technology companies.
In September 2013, Lynch announced Invoke had made its first investment, putting up to $20m into Darktrace (alongside Hoxton Ventures and Talis Capital) which describes itself as "the world's first behavioural cyber defence platform." In July 2015, Summit Partners invested a further $22.5 million in Darktrace, valuing the company at $120million.
He is a member of the board of Cambridge Enterprise, and a member of the Council for Science and Technology. He is also a member of the Council of the Foundation for Science and Technology and a Hub Mentor in the Enterprise Hub of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Lynch is a trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a member of the board of the Create the Change Campaign at the Crick Institute, for Cancer Research UK.
He was a non executive director of Blinkx plc.
He has previously served as a non-executive director to the board of the BBC, on the board of the British Library, and as a trustee of the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), where he was chairman of their investment committee.
Awards, honours and media coverage
In September 2012 he was inducted into the Digital Hall of Fame, British Interactive Media Association.
In 2007, he was awarded Technology Entrepreneur of the year by the European Technology Forum at their 2007 conference.
In October 2008, Silicon.com readers voted him one of the top five most influential people in technology along with Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Jobs, Jimmy Wales and Eric Schmidt. In January 2009, Management Today chose him as entrepreneur of the year.
Lynch has twice been a finalist for Investor Relations award of the year. In 2009 he was voted one of the top 25 best CEOs pan sector in Europe by fund managers in the annual Extel survey. He is Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Suffolk. In October 2013 he accompanied the Chancellor, George Osborne, on a trade mission to China.
His nomination for the Royal Society reads
|“||Distinguished as a world leader in the application of non-linear adaptive signal processing and pattern recognition to unstructured information. Founder of Autonomy the UKs largest software company which was sold to HP for $11Bn in 2011. Creator of the Bayesian framework and platform at the heart of Autonomy's products and CEO of the company for 15 years. An inspiration and role model for entrepreneurs particularly in the engineering and technology sectors providing mentoring, enthusiasm, and financing at scale. An advisor to the government and major organisations at the most senior levels.||”|
The Financial Times has described Lynch as "the doyen of European software". PC Advisor has called him "Britain's most successful technology entrepreneur". In a profile in the Sunday Times, it was suggested in passing that Lynch is the nearest thing Britain has to Bill Gates.
Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, when dealing with Lynch and his colleagues said : "either Mr Lynch has a very poor memory or he is lying". However Lynch was proved right when Frank Quattrone, Autonomy's advisor, confirmed the presentation at the center of the controversy had been his and not given by Lynch as Oracle had asserted.
On 20 November 2012, Hewlett-Packard announced a writedown of assets following the Autonomy purchase due to "disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations at Autonomy", which occurred before the acquisition. The total writedown amounted to $8.8bn of the purchase cost of more than $10bn.  These irregularities have been contested. HP stated a major part of the issue was it was unaware that Autonomy sold hardware, and claimed that this was booked as software and hidden from the auditors.   An FT investigation unearthed documents that show that HP was in fact aware of Autonomy's hardware sales. They were booked as hardware and were fully disclosed to Deloitte, the Autonomy auditors.
Lynch wrote an open letter to HP's shareholders, accusing HP of misleading them over the matter. Deloitte have also gone on the record supporting Lynch's opinion. Lynch and other ex-Autonomy executives have set up AutonomyAccounts.org to provide a platform to voice their rebuttal of criticism.
In August 2014, HP did a deal with law firms suing them on behalf of shareholders over the matter. HP would pay them and they would help HP sue Lynch and the former Autonomy CFO for fraud. HP's deal was objected to by a number of parties and was considered highly suspect as the lawyers were to be paid but not the shareholders. Judge Breyer threw the case out. HP's claims were investigated at HP's request by the UK Serious Fraud Office, however the SFO announced in January 2015 that it was ending its investigation with no action.
On 29 November 2018 he was indicted for fraud in relation to the 2011 deal with HP.
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- Rayner, P. J. W.; Lynch, M. R. (1989). "A new connectionist model based on a non-linear adaptive filter". International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing. p. 1191. doi:10.1109/ICASSP.1989.266647.
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- Biography AutonomyAccounts.org