Sherry Coutu

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Sherry Coutu CBE

Sherry Coutu speaking at Policy Exchange.jpg
Alma materHarvard Business School,
University of British Columbia,
London School of Economics

Sherry Coutu CBE (born 1964) is a serial entrepreneur, former CEO, angel investor and non-executive director based in Cambridge, UK and originally from Canada.


Coutu graduated from University of British Columbia, with a first class honours BA, in 1986, with distinction from the London School of Economics, with an MSc, in Economics, and from Harvard Business School, with an MBA, in 1993.

As an entrepreneur, Sherry founded interactive investor international in 1994. She ran it until 2000 when it was floated on the London Stock Exchange and she stepped down when it was acquired by AMP in 2001.

She became an angel investor in 2000 and since then[1] has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and specialised in consumer internet, information services and education. She has made angel investments in more than 50 companies and holds investments in five venture capital firms.

In November 2014, Coutu authored the "Scale-Up Report"[2] which was commissioned by the Digital Economy Council.[3] The report urged the UK government to support 'scaleups' and not only 'startups'.[4]

In June 2015, partnering with Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, Coutu launched the Scale Up Institute, a non-profit body to support UK businesses wishing to scale up.[5] Support for businesses will include help in improving leadership skills, accessing a network of advisers and raising finance.

In early July 2015 it was reported[6] and later confirmed by Coutu[7] that she would be curtailing her angel investing activities in favour of investing philanthropically in charitable endeavours in the future via Founders4Schools,[8] a charity to improve the employability of young people. In 2017, Founders4Schools launched their work experience service for 16- to 24-year-olds, Workfinder. Workfinder is a TripAdvisor-style app to easily connect young people with fast-growing companies across the UK.[9]


Coutu is the Chairman of Founders4Schools, Workfinder,The ScaleUp Institute and Raspberry Pi Trading Ltd. She also serves as a non-executive board member of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport,[10][11] The London Stock Exchange plc[12][13] and Pearson plc.[14][15] She serves on the Advisory Board of the Royal Society.

Past positions include serving on the Advisory Boards of LinkedIn, the University of Cambridge (Finance Board) and the Natural History Museum.

In February 2020, Coutu was announced as the incoming David Goldman Visiting Professor of Innovation and Enterprise at Newcastle University.[16]


Coutu was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2013 New Year Honours for her services to entrepreneurship.[17][18] In 2019, she was inducted into the BIMA (British Interactive Media Association) Hall of Fame[19] and was the winner of the Veuve Clicquot Social Purpose Award.[20][21] She was named Most Influential Woman in UK IT 2017, Barclay's Entrepreneur of the Year 2017, Top 50 inspiring women in Europe by the Management Today and Top Entrepreneur contributing to 'Queen and Country' by Sunday Times Magazine. In July 2015 Computer Weekly named Coutu in the top ten[22] most influential women in UK IT industry. In the same year she was ranked 29 on Wired's The 2015 WIRED 100.[23]


Coutu supports Founders4Schools, Prince's Trust, Crick Institute, Cancer Research UK and serves on the Harvard Business School European Advisory Council.[24]


  1. ^ "BBC Bottom Line – Angel Investors". BBC. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  2. ^ "The Scale-up Report". Archived from the original on 9 November 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  3. ^ "The Digital Economy Council is developing a long-term strategy to drive the growth of the Information Economy sector". Archived from the original on 21 October 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  4. ^ Dredge, Stuart (17 November 2014). "British government urged to support 'scale-ups' not just startups". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  5. ^ Hurley, James. "Web giants begin search for the next big thing among Britain's start-ups". The Times. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Cambridge angel Coutu hands in her wings". BusinessWeekly. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  7. ^ "How to Get Any Job You Want (even if you're unqualified)". LinkedIn. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Trustees". Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  9. ^ Coutu, Sherry (22 November 2018). "Work experience is broken – and this is how we can fix it". The Telegraph.
  10. ^ "Sherry Coutu, CBE appointed as Non-Executive Board Member to DCMS". GOV.UK. 29 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Sherry Coutu, CBE appointed as Non-Executive Board Member to DCMS". Mirage News. 29 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Non-executive Directors Appointed to the Board of Directors of London Stock Exchange Group Plc". Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  13. ^ "London Stock Exchange plc Board". Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  14. ^ "Pearson strengthens Board of Directors with two senior appointments". Pearson plc. 26 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Pearson records 2% revenue increase in first quarter". The Bookseller. 26 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Leading businesswoman announced as new Goldman professor". Newcastle University. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  17. ^ "The New Year Honours Lists 2013". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Guide to the Honours". BBC News. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  19. ^ "ITV Chief Executive and a serial entrepreneur named BIMA Hall of Fame 2019 Inductees". BIMA. 9 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Winner of the 2019 Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award Announced". We are the City. 27 May 2019.
  21. ^ Britten, Fleur (19 May 2019). "Social Purpose: The Start-Ups with a Heart". Sunday Times Style.
  22. ^ Bateman, Kayleigh – Computer Weekly reveals the 50 most influential women in UK IT 2015 – 8 July 2015
  23. ^ "The 2015 WIRED 100". Wired. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  24. ^ "Sherry Coutu CBE Entrepreneur, Non-Exec Director, Investor and Advisor to Companies, Universities and Charities". LinkedIn. Retrieved 8 November 2015.