Michelle is Sugar’s Chief Credit & Risk Officer and has been in finance all of her career so is new to the games world and super excited about the journey ahead in this fast growing sector. We caught up with her to share her experiences and why she instantly loves this industry so much.
Hi Michelle, can you tell the Sugar readers a bit about your background?
I have spent most of my working life in banking and specialised in Asset Based Lending which is a brilliant form of debt finance for companies! I did have a year out when I was mobilised by the Territorial Army and found myself in Iraq for 6 months – it was slightly different!
What did you want to do when you were younger??
I wanted to be a Harrier pilot in the Navy – unfortunately when I went for my physical tests my arms were about 2cm too short! Top Gun is still my favourite film as I like to think I would have been that good!
What do you love so much about the world of finance and games?
I like the challenge – I find with finance no day or deal is ever the same. I also like to think outside the box and at Sugar I love the fact that we are making funding accessible to the gaming industry. An incredibly successful industry which is underserved and misunderstood by more traditional lenders.
Are you a gamer at heart and what was the last game you played?
If playing on a hockey pitch counts! Although I do use Zwift (quite addicted to that) and I’m trying to develop some kudos at work with trying new games.
What has surprised you about working in the games world so far?
The creativity and also how hard studios have to work to get traction for their games and I cannot wait to see how Sugar Boost can help these studios achieve their full potential.
Do you feel like the concept of finance is well understood in the games world and why?
I think there has been a lack of access to debt financing. That’s why we want to raise awareness about new ways to finance a studio. Our products are built for the games world – you don’t need to give up equity or get personal loans to grow or support your business.
Where do you hope Sugar will be in 5 years’ time?
I hope we will be the partner of choice for gaming studios and that we are seen as easy and fair to deal with.
What’s your work ethos and routine like?
I tend to go by the motto ‘work hard play hard’ I have been known to work until 5am to ensure being included in a big transaction at close! I have to make an effort to have a good work life balance – I actually really enjoy working but have learnt that having a balance does make you more productive (or starting to learn).
You have worked in finance most of your career, what are the best learnings from your experience that could be applied to the games world?
To always ask the question. I have always asked questions if I do not completely understand something. Often someone would say to me at the end of a meeting that they were glad I asked the question as they were wondering the same thing! There is never a stupid question and you can’t make informed decisions without completely understanding.
If you could change one thing about the way the games world operates, what would that be?
It’s the same reason why Sugar exists, I want to see more brilliant studios have access to resources they need to scale up their games.
What do you do when you’re not working?
As much as possible! I like doing different things and also being challenged – I have even dived with Great White Sharks (in an open cage – I am not that brave). I enjoy playing hockey, cycling, scuba diving, free diving and skiing. My most favourite thing to do is walking my two little doggies.
If you could go on holiday now (dare to dream!) – where would you go?
I am going to be a little greedy here! Val Thorens, Ibiza and an adventure holiday in Norway.
We hope you enjoyed hearing a little a bit more about Michelle, Sugar’s ethos and why she is so excited about the future. Keep an eye out for more blog posts following Michelle’s journey with Sugar!