Piers Linney

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Piers Linney
Born Jonathan Piers Daniel Linney
(1971-02-15) 15 February 1971 (age 46)
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England
Residence London, England
Nationality British
Education The University of Manchester
Occupation Businessman
television personality
Known for Dragons' Den
The Secret Millionaire
Spouse(s) Tara Linney[1]
Children Tiger and Electra[1]
Website pierslinney.com

Jonathan Piers Daniel Linney (born 15 February 1971 in Stoke-on-Trent[2][3][4]) is an English businessman, who was the co-CEO of cloud-based IT business Outsourcery. He is best known for being a "dragon" on the BBC Two business series Dragons' Den from 2013 to 2015.

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 Bajan (Barbados) 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,[5] where he attended the local comprehensive school after failing his eleven-plus exam. At the age of 13, Linney cut out his local newsagent by going direct to the wholesaler to start his own Sunday newspaper round.[1]


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 acquired 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 was provided with a debt facility by Vodafone, which won two large FTSE 100 customers based on Outsourcery's solutions.[clarification needed] However, the company suffered from slow revenue growth and remained unprofitable. In return for additional working capital from Vodafone the business was required to be sold in June 2016 for an undisclosed sum and an offer that required the business to be placed into administration.[citation needed]

Linney was a founding member of the Governance Board of the UK's Cloud Industry Forum[10] and regularly appears in the media to discuss the benefits of cloud computing.[citation needed] In 2013, Linney was recognised in the JP Morgan-sponsored Power List 2013 as one of the top 100 most influential black Britons.[11]

In 2014, Linney joined the Cabinet Office SME Panel, advising on small and medium business issues,[12] despite never having sold anything to the government.[citation needed] Linney has also established the not-for-profit organisation workinsight.org, a national digital platform that connects young people to local employers. The scheme has received backing from Microsoft and Esther McVey.[13] Linney was named Entrepreneur Leader of the Year at the 2014 Black British Business Awards.[14]

Linney is a founding Trustee of the Powerlist Foundation,[15] and is also a trustee of both the innovation charity Nesta[16] and careers website Plotr.[17] Linney is involved with Virgin Unite[18] and a range of other charities as a donor or patron.

Dragons' Den[edit]

In 2013, Linney joined the panel on the BBC Two television series Dragons' Den, along with fellow new dragon Kelly Hoppen beginning in the eleventh series. In January 2015, Linney announced that he would be departing the show at the end of series twelve, in order to focus on various other projects.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Linney married Tara Bishop in 2003. They have two children Tiger and Electra.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Daisy Buchanan (11 August 2013). "Dragon's Den Piers Linney: 10 things you need to know about new Dragon". Mirror Online. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Piers Linney biography at Dragons' Den, BBC Two. Archived 3 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Findmypast.
  4. ^ "Piers Linney Net Worth", Spear's.
  5. ^ Hannah Prevett, Emilie Sandy, "Dragons' Den star Piers Linney is sitting pretty", Elite Business, 2 May 2014.
  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. ^ Cloud Industry Forum (8 September 2012). "Piers Linney – Cloud Industry Forum website". www.cloudindustryforum.org. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  11. ^ Kaya Burgess (12 March 2013). "Piers Linney, Dragons' Den latest, flies in from the cloud". The Times. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Cabinet Office (28 July 2014). "Dragons' Den investor Piers Linney joins Cabinet Office SME Panel". Gov.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  13. ^ New Business (8 May 2014). "Technology entrepreneur and Dragons' Den star launches innovative digital portal to transform work experience". newbusiness. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  14. ^ 2014 winners. Black British Business Awards.
  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. 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. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  19. ^ Rebecca Burn Callander, "Piers Linney quits Dragons' Den after just two years", Daily Telegraph, 30 January 2015.

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