Lara Morgan: Pacific Direct

February 14, 2019

Lara Morgan is a British entrepreneur and the founder and former CEO of Pacific Direct. Having sold her share in Pacific Direct she is now involved in several UK startups. Her first business, Pacific Direct was founded in 1991 at the age of 23. Having arrived in the UK with little or no hotel experience, Lara quickly grew Pacific Direct into a specialist global supplier of luxury high end brands to five star hotels, which she has become world renowned for. Lara sold this business after 17 years for £20 million having acquired battles scars and experience spanning extremely large organizations to small start-ups. She has been involved in multiple disciplines, including, luxury brand licensing, marketing and retail operations to commercial and private label development. She has also managed and owned factories in Czech and China. Lara’s investment strategy is pinned to improving life’s journey, she invests in the fantastic British brands, dryrobe, the ultimate change robe, Gate8 lightweight time-saving functional business luggage and KitBrix, modular sports kit bags. ActiveBod and Global Amenities Direct are two other companies that Lara has built in line with her portfolio strategy.

We talk about:

 

  • Growing up in Hong Kong
  • Early stages of starting and growing a business
  • The importance of spotting innovating and declining markets
  • Managing 400+ employees
  • Turning down an acquisition offer (then selling for £20m)
  • The many challenges for founders and how to pick yourself back up
  • Letting go of 34% of the team
  • Setbacks as a female founder
  • The future of the high street
  • The 5 year BHAG
  • So much more

 

Hosted by Ollie Forsyth.

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Christopher Mirabile: Launchpad Venture Group

February 1, 2019

Christopher Mirabile is the Chair Emeritus and Public Policy Chair of the Angel Capital Association and the co-founder of portfolio management tool www.seraf-investor.com. He is also co-Managing Director of Launchpad Venture Group, a venture investment group focused on seed and early-stage investments in technology-oriented companies. Launchpad is the largest angel group in New England and top-three ranked group in the U.S. As a full-time angel investor and an active member of the Boston-area angel investing community, Christopher has personally made more than 60 investments in start-up companies. He was named one of the "Top Angel Investors in New England" by Xconomy. Christopher is a columnist for Inc.com, an adjunct lecturer in the MBA program at Babson's Olin School of Business, a regular advisor and mentor to start-ups, and a frequent panelist and speaker. He is a member of the Board of Directors or Board of Advisors of numerous start-up companies and non-profits. Christopher has served as a public company CFO and General Counsel with IONA Technologies PLC, a corporate and securities lawyer with Testa Hurwitz & Thibeault and as a management consultant with Price Waterhouse's Strategic Consulting Group.

Hosted by Ollie Forsyth 

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Rand Fishkin: Moz

January 23, 2019

In 2001, Rand Fishkin dropped out of college to start a company with his mom, Gillian. Over the next 17 years, that company, Moz, became one of the most high profile and high growth businesses in the marketing software world. In this transparent, vulnerable talk, Rand will walk through some of the biggest regrets, lessons learns, and things he'd do differently based on his experience. From management and hiring to marketing tactics to product strategy, self-awareness, and more, this presentation will help anyone who's starting or joining a new company avoid some big pitfalls, and feel less alone.

We talk about:

 

  • How to pick yourself back up when you hit a wall

  • How Moz grew to almost $50m in yearly revenue

  • Replacing your business with a new CEO

  • Picking yourself back up when you hit rock bottom

  • Turning down an acquisition offer

  • Balancing a good work-life balance

  • Rand’s BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)

  • The next venture & Rand’s new epic book

  • Plus so much more!

Hosted by Ollie Forsyth.

 

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Hendrik Brandis: Earlybird Ventures

January 11, 2019

''Hendrik Brandis is a Co-Founder & Partner of Earlybird. Hendrik's current domain focus is web-enabled services.

Hendrik is a Board Member of EVCA (European Private Equity & Venture Capital Association) and past Chairman of the EVCA Venture Capital Platform Council.

Hendrik brings together long standing investment, operational and entrepreneurial experience. Hendrik was a Board Member of element 5 AG, where he was a driving force behind the sale to Digital River (NASDAQ:DRIV), dooyoo.de AG (Berlin) which was sold to leguide.com S.A and Dianoema S.p.A., which listed on the Borsa Italiana (Milan: NOE.MI).

Hendrik currently serves on the boards of Earlybird portfolio companies B2X Care Solutions GmbH (Munich), carpooling.com GmbH (Munich), Simfy AG (Cologne) and nfon (Munich).

Hendrik gained his entrepreneurial experience as a Co-Founder of GMM, a group of private investors focusing on buy-outs of mid-sized companies and gained his operational experience as Project Manager in the Technology Department of Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm (now Daimler-Chrysler Aerospace) focusing on the design and innovative manufacturing processes of composite aircraft structures.

Previously, Hendrik was a Partner with McKinsey & Co., in their Munich and Madrid offices where he led McKinsey's small and mid-sized company initiative and participated in creating McKinsey New Venture.

Hendrik attended the Technical University of Munich and holds a Dipl.-Ing. (M.Sc. equivalent) and Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering.''

Hosted by Ollie Forsyth 

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Ricky Knox: Tandem

January 2, 2019

Ricky is a serial investor and entrepreuner. He has built five technology disruptors in fintech and telecoms, each of which also does a bit of good for the world.

Before Tandem he founded Azimo and Small World, two remittance businesses, and is managing partner of Hexagon Partners, a private equity firm. He built Tandem to be a digital bank that helps improve customers' lives with money.

Ricky has a first class degree from Bristol University and an MBA from INSEAD.

Hosted by Ollie Forsyth. 

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Jason Stockwood: Simply Business

December 17, 2018

Jason Stockwood, CEO at Simply Business. 

Jason joined Simply Business from global dating website match.com, where he was International Managing Director. He’s also spent time as Managing Director at Travelocity Business, and held roles at Trailfinders, lastminute.com, Skyscanner and The Drinkaware Trust.

In 2016, Jason won overall Best Leader at the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For awards, completing our Best Companies hat-trick. We’d already picked up the Best Company to Work For award, two years running.

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Tom Blomfield: Monzo

December 9, 2018

Tom Blomfield is a British entrepreneur. After studying for a law degree at Oxford University, he founded the UK-based company GoCardless and challenger bank Monzo. In 2013, he was recognised as one of the top five entrepreneurs under 30 by the European Commission.

Hosted by Ollie Forsyth. 

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Simon Woodroffe: YO! Sushi

November 26, 2018

Simon Woodroffe OBE is an English motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He started the sushi chain YO! Sushi in 1997, and appeared as a "Dragon" on the first UK series of Dragons' Den. Woodroffe conceived and launched YO! Sushi after an early spell in television.

Hosted by Ollie Forsyth  

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Christian Faes: LendInvest

November 20, 2018

In late 2008, as global financial markets crashed, our founders, Christian Faes and Ian Thomas, saw an opportunity to fill a critical gap in short-term property finance.

They set up a mortgage lending business (then called Montello Bridging Finance), which quickly became one of the leading short-term finance lenders in the UK.

By 2012, we had launched two regulated funds to finance our loans, and were managing £30m of investors’ capital. As demand  grew, we looked for ways to help our customers invest more efficiently.

In 2013, we brought the investment experience online – LendInvest was born. We launched our online investment platform, allowing our investors to build their own tailored portfolios of property-backed loan investments.

We then brought fintech’s first retail bond programme to the public markets, listing the first tranche of a £500m retail bond programme on the London Stock Exchange in August 2017.

Later that year, we launched into the buy-to-let market, with a product tailored to professional portfolio landlords, taking us into the longer-term and more mainstream mortgage market.

And in September 2018 we completed our Series C funding round, raising £30.5m from investors including Atomico, GP Bullhound and Tiger Management, and pushing our fundraising total well over £1bn.

We’re a well-capitalised, profitable business, delivering value as one of the fastest-growing fintechs in the country, and we’ve got the backing to continue investing in our technology and providing property finance that is fast, online and for all.

Hosted by Ollie Forsyth 

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Simon Beckerman: Depop

November 16, 2018

Simon Beckerman is the founder of Depop, a peer-to-peer social shopping app based in London, with additional offices in Milan and New York City. Depop was incorporated in 2011 and to date, they have raised $43.6m backed by VC's such as Balderton & Octopus. 

Hosted by Ollie Forsyth. 

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