Our Business Development Tom has a background in film finance and produced his own indie video game. He was the star baker of our birthday bakeoff, with a showstopping Animal Crossing Cake. Find out more about Tom’s vision for Sugar and what led him to us!

Tell Sugar readers a bit about your background.

I was born and raised in Milton Keynes (and yes there are a lot of roundabouts!), before studying International Business Management at Cardiff University with a semester abroad studying in the US.  I started out in film production working on the sets of Spiderman: Far From Home, Vanity Fair and Gangs of London to name a few, before studying a masters at the National Film & Television School and then going into feature film finance and eventually video game finance. 

Are you a gamer at heart and what was the last game you played?

100%, I’ve been playing video games since I was very small when I first had a Gameboy, PS1 and Gamecube. I’ve also sunk a lot of hours into MMORPG’s over the years. Most recently I completed Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Orcs Must Die! 3. I also played some sessions of Civilisation VI.

What did you want to do or be when you were younger?

Like most kids this kept changing! My earliest memory is of wanting to be a police officer, then in my early teens I thought about being an actor as I did a lot of school plays and musicals. By my mid to late teens I had decided I wanted to be an astrophysicist, so studied Physics and Maths for A Level and even went to a lot of university open days for Astrophysics. Eventually though I decided that I really wanted to work in the business side of the creative industries and that led me to where I am today!

Why did you join Sugar?

I believe in Matt’s leadership and what he’s setting out to do. I have friends working across a number of studios and even produced my own small indie game with a talented developer friend, so I understand how important it is to get the right funds for your project at the right time and what an impact it can make on the pipeline, scope and growth of your game. I’ve always worked in lending from a place of genuinely wanting to help businesses and I believe that what Sugar can offer studios and developers is truly the best in the market. 

Where do you hope Sugar will be in five years time?

That Sugar will be the first point of call for game studios for any debt-based lending, globally. 

What’s your work ethos and routine like?

I like to read the trades first thing in the morning as there’s always lots you can learn! I’m definitely most productive in the afternoon and evening as it can take some time to get my momentum going first thing in the morning, which was tough growing up as I had a 6am paper round from the age of 12!

What do you like to do when you are not working?

I love being outdoors and I love playing video games, so a healthy balance of the two usually! Last year I got an allotment and we had a very successful crop of broccoli, kale, carrots, sprouts and onions. Recently we got upgraded to a bigger plot, so I’ve been digging it over, removing weeds, fertilising soil, planting, building beds, building compost bins and painting a shed, so that’s kept me very busy! I’m also a cinephile, but have been to the cinema much less than I usually would because of the pandemic. 

Do you have any pets?

Not currently, but I grew up with a lot of pets. We had dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, fish, chinchillas, terrapins and degus! So I definitely hope to have pets again one day soon. Wait, do indoor houseplants count as pets? If so, I’m currently raising a small bonsai tree with the help of some decorative koroks!

How do you keep healthy?

I’ve always worked out at home using weights and doing body weight exercises, so the pandemic didn’t shift this much – if anything I only had more time to exercise working from home. This year I got a rowing machine that I use a few mornings a week, as I used to row at university and had missed it. I’m also big into hiking, so I often go for long walks and I try to climb at least one UK mountain a year. Most recently I climbed Great Gable in the Lake District.

Do you cook and what’s your favourite thing to eat?

All the time, it’s one of my favourite things to do. I’m very experimental in the kitchen so I don’t always follow recipes (I have a 99% success rate so far though!). I would say my favourite thing to eat is any seafood dish. I love to cook seafood paella.

If you could pick any super power, what would it be and why?

Teleportation, I can see friends and family wherever in the world they are at a drop of a hat!

If you could go on holiday now (dare to dream!) – where would you go?

New Zealand. I’m a big Tolkien enthusiast and it’s been a dream of mine to visit since the films were shot there.

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