The #BLNBIG discussion. Video of the discussion.

The BLN, ‘BIG’ discussion. #BLNBIG from Wild Lion Media on Vimeo.


This is the video of the  BLN CEO Tales, ‘BIG’ discussion run in partnership with Erevena and Taylor Wessing on London, March 16th 2011. The discussion was moderated by Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology correspondent, to discuss the question, ‘Should the UK worry if ARM and Autonomy were the last big UK technology businesses?’ Speakers: Stephen Allott, Sherry Coutu, Ben Holmes, William Reeve. ‘Should the UK worry if ARM and Autonomy were the last big UK technology businesses.’ This is the full video. We were particularly entertained by the faux Apprentice-style opening credits created by the excellent Tom at Wild Lion Media – so we kept it in. It really doesn’t do to take yourself too seriously.

Talk timings, if you want to fast forward, were roughly as follows:

  • Rory Cellan-Jones intro: 5.00
  • Stephen Allot: 8.00
  • Ben Holmes: 13.00
  • Sherry Coutu: 20.00
  • William Reeve: 26.00
  • Panel discussion & disagreement: 34.00
  • The role of VCs in building big companies: 40.00
  • Questions from the floor: 44.00

Don’t miss the BLN Growth Forum, 5th July in Cambridge.

Come and spend time working on, not in, your business with speakers including Warren East (CEO, ARM); Peter Bauer (CEO, Mimecast), Stuart Miller (CEO, ByBox), Jonathan Milner (CEO, Abcam), and Tim Weller (CEO, Incisive Media).

More information: BLN Growth Forum, July 5th 2011 in Cambridge, United Kingdom

Early bird discounts available until the end of April.


Rory Cellan-Jones – Moderator

Rory Cellan Jones dot.rory


Stephen Allott

Stephen Allott pic Stephen Allott is a technology business leader and social and business entrepreneur. He is Crown Commercial Representative for Small Business, building a more strategic dialogue between the Government and smaller suppliers. He is also chairman of Red Gate Software’s Council of Advisers. Red Gate are a 200 person privately owned software company based in Cambridge and are officially the best small software company to work for in the UK. Stephen co-founded his own business, Trinamo Ltd, a management consultancy for UK technology companies and founded a non-profit: the Cambridge Computer Lab Ring which is an association for Cambridge computer science graduates. He is a member of the Ring Governing Council. Stephen is a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge and has worked for Xerox, Sun Microsystems, McKinsey and Micromuse, where he led their NASDAQ IPO and was President, CFO and a main board director. He has chaired 7 technology company boards and is a quondam City Fellow of Hughes Hall, Cambridge University.


Sherry Coutu

Sherry Coutu

Sherry Coutu is an experienced executive, former CEO and angel investor who now serves on the boards of companies, charities and universities. The companies she serves range from fast growth private early stage to public and boards with turnover more than £ 1 bn. As an entrepreneur, Sherry established two businesses in the financial services industry. The first (acquired by Euromoney) has operations in more than 70 countries. The second (acquired by AMP) was floated in 2000 on London and Nasdaq and valued at more than $1 billion before being acquired.

Sherry loves working with great entrepreneurs solving problems that matter. Her current portfolio of interests include sitting on the boards of Cambridge University and Artfinder, the advisory Boards of Linkedin, Harvard Business School European Council, NESTA and Cancer Research UK. Her investments usually include ‘databases’, as a common theme. These range from movies (Lovefilm) to real-estate (Zoopla), energy consumption (Alertme), clean energy (New Energy Finance), water pressure (i20), investments (covestor), professional contacts (Linkedin), builders (mybuilder), to how to get pregnant by monitoring trends in body temperature (CTC). Her latest ‘exit’ was New Energy Finance (acquired by Bloomberg).


Ben Holmes

Ben Holmes Index VenturesBen focuses on the software and internet sectors and has been actively involved with many of the firm’s consumer and media investments. He currently sits on the boards of Just-Eat, Mind Candy, Netlog, Notonthehighstreet, Rebtel, Stardoll and Shapeways. He was previously a Director of Playfish (Electronic Arts). Prior to joining Index Ventures, he worked at the NewMedia Spark investment fund, before becoming Vice President at EO plc, a Spark portfolio company in the consumer financial services sector. Previously he spent four years at OC&C Strategy Consultants, advising firms in the retail and IT sectors. He has a Masters degree in Engineering, Economics and Management from Oxford University.



William Reeve

William Reeve, LOVEFiLM

William is a serial entrepreneur who has built and exited two leading internet businesses. The first, Fletcher Research, became the UK’s leading internet research firm before Forrester Research (NASDAQ: FORR) bought it in 1999. William’s second business, now trading as, grew organically and by acquisition to become the leading international online film rental business before Amazon acquired it (still in progress). At, which was backed by several leading venture capital firms including DFJ Esprit and Index Ventures, William served in a variety of roles including President, Managing Director, acting CEO and COO. William serves as Non-Executive Director with several other high-growth companies including Paddy Power (ISE:PLS), Zoopla, Graze and True Knowledge. A former McKinsey consultant, William has a first class Masters degree from Oxford University.