Secret Leaders
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The Secret Lives of Leaders podcast features interviews with key figures from the UK tech and creative ecosystem. From entrepreneurs (both early and latter stage), to journalists, VCs - and even royalty - the series profiles those who have helped shape the nation's culture of innovation and growth.

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    S2E01 Just Eat: How David Buttress Co-Founded and Built a £5.5bn Company

    What does a successful startup need? Two friends with a vision, a huge amount of hard work, and a basement. Just Eat former CEO David Buttress shares his journey.

    • The Just Eat journey: how two colleagues working in a basement created an empire with a valuation of £5.5 billion
    • Their story with getting funded
    • What made Just Eat stand out from other food delivery services

    Full show notes:

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    S1E15 Simon Cook -- Draper Esprit

    Today’s special guest is one of the key Venture Capital investors in the UK, the CEO and Founder of Draper Esprit, Mr Simon Cook. Most recently, Simon has focused on disrupting the traditional VC structure by taking his company public on an IPO that raised over £100m of ‘permanent capital’ as he calls it which he intends to use to grow the UK’s influence globally.

    He has been involved in some of the best known deals in the UK including LoveFilm, Graze and Trust Pilot.

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    S1E14 Sarah Wood -- Unruly

    Today we are joined by one of the best known, and certainly most liked entrepreneurs in the UK - Sarah Wood from Unruly Media. The tl;dr on Sarah is that she went to University of Cambridge, then became a lecturer at the University of Sussex, then she Co Founded Unruly, sold it for £114m to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp a few years later, and now teaches a course back at Cambridge whilst maintaining a role as CEO at the company she helped build. In this episode you'll find out what Unruly does, and how Cambridge University responded to her suggested classroom title she teaches entitled “ Mashups, memes and LOLitics, online video culture and the screen media revolution”

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    S1E13 Vincent Dignan -- Traffic & Copy

    Today’s guest is the self styled Jesus Christ Superstar of the organic viral growth world, Vincent Dignan. He puts the M in Millennial, the G in Growth and the WTF in Fashion. A man who very much practices what he preaches, and a true obsessive for the American personal branding school of thought - he knows that to stand out, you have to really stand out. And he does this to perfection.

    In his own words - his mission is to help as many founders and companies grow in the fastest way possible using bespoke techniques, tactics and software most people don’t know about. Whilst his over sharing and very un-British attitude towards self promotion doesn’t resonate with everyone - it’s categorically impossible to ignore Vincent once you’ve made contact, and underneath all the outfits and image is simply a guy interested to see how he can help others succeed with the knowledge he’s accumulated.

    From living off benefits to touring the West Coast inspiring young entrepreneurs and makers how to build an audience, Vincent’s life has gone from rags to riches in very little time, and should be viewed as an inspiration that anyone with a strong work ethic, positive attitude and most importantly, the self belief and confidence in what makes you unique and interesting is your pathway to success.

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    S1E12 Tamara Lohan MBE -- Mr & Mrs Smith

    Tamara Lohan MBE is the co-founder and CTO of Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels. She started Mr and Mrs Smith with her husband James 14 years ago, and has been at the heart of one of the best loved internet brands in Britain, but it in fact started as a publishing business; a guidebook for people like her who wanted to explore the luxury boutiques across the country and discovering the real gems and stylish weekends away in unique hotels. They sold 10,000 copies in their first 6 weeks, but fast forward to today they have over 100 staff spread across London, LA, Singapore, New York… and have had contributions from celebrities ranging from Stella McCartney to Cate Blanchett.

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    S1E11 Sir John Hegarty -- BBH

    Our guest this week is the advertising giant Sir John Hegarty. As the co-founder of ad agency BBH and creator of acclaimed campaigns for brands such as Levi’s, Audi, BA and Johnnie Walker, Hegarty has been a leader in the advertising industry for more than 50 years. In our interview with him he reveals some of his creative tricks (lose the headphones) and “when the world zigs, zag” – words which went on to become the BBH’s mantra.

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    S1E10 Alicia Navarro -- Skimlinks

    Our second Australian guest in a row for our 10th episode of Secret Lives of Leaders. This episode we have the pleasure of hosting Alicia Navarro - the co-founder and CEO of Skimlinks. Known for her energy and enthusiasm, Alicia has been in the heart of the tech scene in London for over a decade. Her company has gone through many highs and lows along the way as well as receiving over $20m in venture funding. Alicia gives us an insight into running starting and then running a high growth company as well as what she gets up to when she's not working.

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    S1E09 Daniel Priestley -- Bestselling Author & Entrepeneur (Key Person of Influence, 24 Assets, Oversubscribed)

    Our guest in episode 9 is the bestselling author Daniel Priestley. Hailing from Australia Daniel was already a success before he moved to Europe. He used writing as a way to get his thought process down while running his own business and along the way his books is what he is most well known for. His catalogue includes the titles “24 Assets”, “Oversubscribed” and “Key Person of Influence”.

    Along the way Daniel has built huge businesses, advised celebrated entrepreneurs, broken world records, raised millions in venture capital and fundraised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity.

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    S1E08 Reshma Sohoni -- Seedcamp

    Our guest this week is one of the best networked ladies in UK tech, as the Co Founder of not only the first ever, but also arguably the most successful Seed Fund in Europe, Seedcamp.

    By only part-selling their stake in their most successful investment, they’ve already returned their entire fund back, as the high profile FinTech unicorn Transferwise was originally developed before Reshma’s eyes and with her support and brainpower. With over 200 investments to her name, its not fair to focus only on their largest, as they’ve backed many really exciting winners, which she’ll be talking to us about in this episode.

    With her roots from India, teenage years in America, and an MBA in france, it’s Europe she’s chosen of the 3 continents to call home, and it’s fair to say she’s had a huge impact on the technology scene.

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    S1E07 Steve Bartlett -- Social Chain

    Our guest in this episode is probably responsible for the funny tweets you saw, or that ridiculously viral campaign that captured your imagination. At 24, he’s one of those guys who has already had the life experience of most 40 year olds, with offices in Manchester, Berlin and New York, plus spending a small stint living in San Francisco as an Entrepreneur in Residence advising Bebo for their relaunch, he’s accomplished a great deal in a short period of time and shows no signs of slowing down.

    At the age of 18, Steve Bartlett dropped out of school and embarked on his first business, Wallpark - a social media venture connecting students with similar interests around, essentially a digital social notice board. He then exited that business in 2013 and Co Founded the Social Chain, having met a young guy called Dom McGregor, who had a unique knack of creating multiple twitter accounts and growing the shit out of them, and from there they’ve been at the heart of a number of viral campaigns growing Social Chain to a multi million pound business counting Apple, McDonalds and BBC as some of their clients.

    Quite rightly, they’ve picked up a ton of PR along the way and Steve, presumably learning along the way from those he promotes, has increasingly been popping up in my facebook feed as an inspirational speaker with his own YouTube channel, therefore, in his own right, becoming a key person of influence.

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