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who we are

Toucan is an eco-system that supports your creative potential as a long term partner through the tough start-up phases by using our Mentor and Investor network specialising in Food & Beverage, Lifestyle and Retail.

what we do

We cultivate your future potential

IN-HOUSE

We take you under our wing by offering you long-term business support and connecting you with the Toucan Ecosystem

PARTNERS

We use our connections to get you hard to match services

MENTORS

We match you up with a Mentor and Guru who will add rocket fuel to your business

INVESTMENT PARTNERS

We work with you using our investor network to help you secure appropriate funding

our criteria


We are looking for creative ideas and companies:

  • That are based in London or Greater London

  • In the Food and Beverage, Lifestyle, or Retail industries

  • That have passionate, committed and ambitious founders

  • With a clear market opportunity

  • That are commercially scalable

the toucan process

1. PITCH

PITCH YOUR CREATIVE BUSINESS

2. INITIAL FEEDBACK

YOU WILL RECEIVE INITIAL FEEDBACK ON WHETHER YOUR BUSINESS MEETS OUR CRITERIA WITHIN 7-10 BUSINESS DAYS OF THE APPLICATION

3. INVESTMENT COMMITTEE

YOUR APPLICATION IS SUBMITTED TO TOUCAN'S INVESTMENT COMMITTEE FOR REVIEW

4. NEXT STEPS

OUR INVESTMENT COMMITTEE WILL PROVIDE FEEDBACK ON YOUR BUSINESS WHICH WE WILL DISCUSS WITH YOU

5. SUPPORT

WE WILL HELP PREPARE YOU AND WORK WITH YOU TO CONNECT YOU WITH THE TOUCAN ECOSYSTEM OF MENTORS, PARTNERS, AND INVESTMENT PARTNERS

the team

Meet Our Vibrant Toucan Team

Rasha Khawaja
Rasha Khawaja
Founder & CEO
Francesco Boni Guinicelli
Francesco Boni Guinicelli
Operations Director
Erin Oberholtzer
Erin Oberholtzer
Startup Manager
Angela Ririe
Angela Ririe
Startup Manager
Nicola Gartenberg
Nicola Gartenberg
Operations Manager

our board

James Davis
Chairman

James is a founding partner of The Sidebyside Partnership which makes investments in businesses by working closely with the leadership team in a mentoring capacity. He helps the entrepreneur organise and shape operations and strategy as well as plan and co-ordinate the business’s financing requirements, fund-raising strategy and the eventual exit process. James also advises the Business Growth Fund and over the last 12 months has worked with them on seven potential investments. Prior to this, the majority of his career was spent as a CFO where he had a successful track record in building businesses and delivering value for investors. He was the CFO on the sale of uSwitch to Zoopla plc for £190m. He was part of a management team that raised $45m in seed capital from a large Asian corporate and built a new Asian facing digital services group. At Sporting Index he was the CFO on the take private of the company and subsequent two management buy-outs. The last one was for £76m. In summary, James is an adviser, investor and has been a main Board Director for over 14 years and brings strong financial skills and business experience gained from working across a number of different sectors and geographies. He’s passionate about growing businesses and in particular enjoys helping fast growing businesses to see around corners.

Rasha Khawaja
Director

Rasha Khawaja is the founder and CEO of Toucan. Rasha’s innate desire for knowledge took her to Brown University where she studied Psychiatry and Cognitive Science. Further education followed at both Oxford University and Cambridge University before Rasha started her career at Condé Nast Publications and went on to work at Christie’s. These experiences heightened her entrepreneurial drive and after spotting a gap in the market for a way to help creatives get their businesses out in front of influential business luminaries, Toucan was born. Rasha’s passion for innovation and nurturing new talent and business continues through her role as a member of the UKBAA, and being an active member of the advisory board of Innovation RCA and the development and strategy board of the ZSL. Outside of the world of Toucan, Rasha is a devoted mother and an adventurous traveller who one day hopes to conquer Kilimanjaro and The Great Wall of China. Rasha is also dedicated to a number of charities and sits on the board of ‘The Playing For Change Foundation’, as well as supporting her family’s charity, ‘The Said Foundation’. Toucan Ventures were proud to win ‘One to Watch – Best Entrant to the Angel Ecosystem’ at the 2016 Angel Investment Awards.

Rory Bernard
Non Exec Member

An experienced IT professional working at senior board and project level with a strong record in the internet sector working with both start-up and large corporations. Co-founded and CEO of a high growth, multi-million pound internet software developer becoming one of the UK leading independents before selling to a global consultancy. A self-motivated team player, committed to the delivery of results by using creative solutions and a personal network of clients and investors.

Paola Cuneo
Non Exec Member

Currently Paola runs the Sirius programme at UKTI, which she has designed and implemented following the Government’s announcement in the Autumn Statement 2012. The Sirius alumni have raised over £18M in equity investment for a valuation of over £80M and have won grants and awards of over £2M. Prior to running Sirius, Paola spent over 10 years at BT in senior roles, ranging from running the P&L of the UK mobile unit, to setting up the international operations of the professional services division. While at BT, Paola was selected for a secondment at London&Partners, the Mayor of London promotional agency for business and tourism. Paola ran both the European team and for 6 months, the Asia Pacific team. Paola was focusing in managing the multiple stakeholders and influencers, while promoting London with foreign companies and helping them to setting up in the UK. Paola is often found mentoring and supporting entrepreneurs.

our advisory board

Farid ul haque

Gabriella Windsor

Director of Arts and Travel, Branding Latin America Group

Gabriella Windsor, Director of Arts and Travel at Branding Latin America Group, is a keen and experienced advocate for social enterprise. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Playing for Change Foundation, a non profit providing communities in need with music and arts education, as well as wider schooling and basic community services. Since graduating from Brown University she has written about social and cultural topics worldwide. She spent six months in the Middle East, taught in some of Brazil’s most challenged favelas, supported crucial health work for Amazonian village communities and curated arts events with emerging artists and musicians in Buenos Aires. She also undertook extensive research with socio-educational dance initiative The School of the Body in Colombia as part of her recent Masters at Oxford University in Social Anthropology.

Farid ul haque

Camilla Al Fayed

Owner, Farmacy

Camilla Al Fayed was born in London and educated in Surrey.

From the age of sixteen and throughout her twenties, Camilla worked for Harrods, the family business, working and gaining experience across all departments.

Following her interest in fashion, Camilla worked as a buyer for her sister’s brand, Jasmine Di Milo, and with British and American Vogue.

Alongside the family business, Camilla began visiting hospitals and hospices with her father in her early teens. In 2005, she began a more active role with the AlFayed Charity Foundation in 2005 and became an ambassador and patron of many charitable foundations.

In September 2011, Issa London brand was acquired and Camilla became Chairwoman, responsible for the brand and directing expansion.

Camilla set up the plant based restaurant Farmacy in London’s Notting Hill in 2016 and her life’s passion is about creating a space for healthy, organic eating within the concept of ‘Food is Medicine’.  She and her team run this successful restaurant in the heart of West London’s food district.