Or some of them anyway…
Our CEO Tales drinks networking event on the evening of December 3rd, features leaders from three of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies who will, in amongst the networking between VC and PE investors and growth company CEOs, provide a thought provoking perspective on growth.
We don’t like negative thinking at The BLN and try to think about life positively. The combined revenue of these three businesses, (over £70 million), and the fact that they are all less than 6 years old, gives them some authority when it comes to speaking about the positive aspects of a recession. Together, these businesses has experienced over 2,500% growth over the past four years.
Here is a little more about the speakers and their companies.
Kieron Smith, The Book Depository
The Book Depository is the UK’s largest dedicated online bookseller. Founded in 2004 to make ‘All Books To All’ they focus on selling ‘less of more’ rather than ‘more of less’, differentiating itself from other retailers who increasingly focus on bestsellers. Having forged unique publisher and supplier relationships, they have the ability to dispatch over 2.3 million titles within 48 hours, with free worldwide delivery, enabling customers to find the books they want. As the world’s fastest growing bookseller, The Book Depository saw the last 12 months’ sales topping £62m, dispatching over 100,000 parcels a week worldwide.
Kieron Smith is Managing Director of The Book Depository, the second largest online bookseller in the UK, and the fastest growing bookseller in the world. He has worked in the book trade for over twelve years, starting out with WHSmith, setting up Ottakars.co.uk in 1999, heading up the web offering at BCA and operations at Methven’s, with a three year stint outside the industry as Head of Online at Europe’s leading video games web site GAME.co.uk. He returned to bookselling as Head of Online operations at Waterstones.com and then as Managing Director of innovative start-up BookRabbit, before joining The Book Depository as MD in July 2008.
Jay Bregman, eCourier
eCourier.co.uk is a technology-enabled service provider. We provide ASAP on-demand same day courier services empowered by a technology platform which brings together mobile computing, location based services, a Web 2.0 application, an a real-time optimisation algorithm we call ‘Larry’ which assigns orders to couriers and determines routes in real-time, balancing client happiness, courier happiness, and fleet efficiency. Our systems solve a fundamental problem in the same day market which hasn’t changed much since the 1970s–human dispatchers issuing work to couriers via radio provides low efficiency, high overheads, and diseconomies of scale.
Jay Bregman is the Founder & CTO of eCourier.co.uk, the online courier company with the purple vans. Jay turned a personal frustration with same day couriers into a £6m business in four years, recently ranked 53 on the Sunday Times Microsoft Tech Track 100 and 6 on the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 rankings of the fastest-growing and most innovative technology companies in the country. In 2007, eCourier was chosen as London’s Most Inspirational Business by the Evening Standard. Prior to starting eCourier, Jay worked at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. Jay holds an MSc in Media and Communications Regulation & Policy from the LSE and a BA with honours from Dartmouth College in Philosophy. In 2009 Jay was named an ‘Enterprising Young Brit’ by Make Your Mark, despite hailing from New York City.
Ben Drury, 7Digital
7Digital taps into the burgeoning demand for digital media, 7digital operates services that bring together suppliers and consumers of digital media. 7digital is backed by Balderton Capital (formerly Benchmark Capital Europe) – one of Europe’s leading technology venture capital firms and in January 2008 7digital raised £4.25m in its series B investor round from Balderton and Sutton Place, the investment vehicle of Mark Getty – founder of Getty Images. In September 2008 7digital.com was the first company in Europe to launch DRM-free MP3 downloads with all four major record labels. As of October 2008, 7digital employs 45 people in London and Cologne and has over 1.7 million registered customers. 7digital. HMV took a 50% stake in 7 digital in September 2009.
Ben Drury began his career in 1996 as a founder of dotmusic.com, an internal venture at United News and Media. Dotmusic quickly became a leading online music destination attracting over 1.8m unique users per month (in 1999). In 2000 Ben was headhunted by BT Group to head up the broadband music efforts at their ISP BT Openworld. As Head of Music at BT, Ben successfully launched a major music channel before leading the acquisition of his old company dotmusic in 2002. At BT, Ben pioneered music and video downloads on dotmusic with the UK’s first unlimited subscription offer. Following the partnership between BT and Yahoo! to form BT Yahoo! in 2003, Ben engineered the sale of dotmusic to Yahoo! for approx. £3.3m. Ben then founded 7digital with James Kane in 2004 with the vision of creating a digital media marketplace. Ben was named by Growing Business magazine as a Young Gun 2006 – the award for leading entrepreneurs under 35 and in 2007, 7digital was awarded the prestigious Red Herring award Top 100 Europe Award as one of the most promising technology companies in Europe. In 2008, Ben was a finalist in Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards. Ben graduated from King’s College London with BSc (Hons) Physics with Philosophy of Science. Ben is also the Deputy Chairman and Director of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) and is a board director the Official UK Charts Company.
To apply for a place at this event, come and find out more here.