Al Gosling, Founder, The Extreme Sports Company – I should have done more research.

Al Gosling, CEO, The Extreme Sports Company talks at the 2010 BLN Growth Forum about finding and targeting big markets.

Of course, that wasn’t what he started out doing – he founded the business in 1995 with huge passion and absolutely no clue about business or the problems he would face on the journey. His business grew from a two person startup inspired by Mark McCormack’s International Management Group who managed elite athletes and sold TV rights globally (though Al didn’t want to deal with any athletes and their egos), into a global brand. Eventually after forming a joint venture with UPC, Europe’s largest cable operator who invested £25million into a startup TV business that Extreme owned 50% of. UPC collapsed and was bought by Liberty Media who wanted to buy their minority shareholdings out. Things got very ‘interesting’ and Al came to appreciate the value of having great legal advisers. Lots of extreme legal wrangling later, Extreme sold the cable channels and kept the brand, along with a very decent cheque from Liberty Media. It was only when he met his current business partner, a German ex-banker that Extreme, really started to research the markets that it operates in. If he was doing it again, he would have done a lot more research and thought through the long term strategy before he started.

The second BLN Growth Forum takes place 5th July, 2011 at The Hauser Forum, Cambridge.

A one day forum to think, talk & learn about growing and scaling your business.

You will meet and hear from the leaders of some extraordinary businesses and hear stories of success and failure and pick up relevant, actionable opportunities for your business. We like intimate events and limit the number of people to make sure that you get a chance to talk to speakers and other delegates without getting lost in a huge crowd.

Themes for the day:

  • Making it big – targeting big markets and maintaining your lead
  • Building successful sales teams – making profitable sales revenue a core business goal
  • Putting people first – creating a culture to attract and retain the people you need
  • Growth strategies – maximising value from startup to IPO and beyond


  • Jonathan Milner, Founder & CEO, Abcam plc
  • Mary Turner, CEO, Alert Me
  • Warren East, CEO, ARM plc
  • Christopher Clark, Partner, BDO LLP
  • Stuart Miller, C EO, ByBox Holdings Ltd
  • Mo Bulbrook, Head of International, Cheapflights Media
  • Tim Weller, CEO, Incisive Media
  • Martin Leuw, Non Exec Director, IRIS Software Group
  • Mark Gerhard, CEO, Jagex Games Studio
  • Ariel Eckstein, Managing Director LinkedIn EMEA, LinkedIn
  • Peter Bauer, CEO, Mimecast
  • Paul Kenny, Principal, Ocean Learning
  • Neil Gaydon, CEO, PACE PLC
  • Nigel Payne, Director and Prev CEO, Sporting Bet
  • Andy Leaver, VP EMEA, Workday


For more information, the full agenda, all the stuff you need to know, and to reserve your place. Early Bird Booking Discounts available until 22nd May.