Secret Lives of 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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    #10: 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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    #9: 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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    #8: Reshma Sohini -- 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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    #7: 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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    #6: Michael Acton Smith -- Moshi Monsters, Mind Candy, Calm, Firebox

    Michael Acton Smith OBE is a man who's been described as the ‘tech version of Willy Wonka’. From setting up popular e-commerce websites with university friends to extravagant online games Michael Acton Smith has always had a drive as a maker. His biggest success, Moshi Monsters, grew to over 100 million registered users and expanded to over 150 countries around the world. It’s not all been plain sailing though. His businesses have come within days of missing payroll and after booming success Mind Candy has found it challenging reproducing it’s second hit. More recently our esteemed guest has focussed his attention on raising awareness and building businesses in the mental health space - an area very close to his heart with the meditation app - Calm.

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    #5: Jess Butcher -- Blippar

    Jess Butcher is the co-founder of Blippar - the augmented reality giant. Founded in 2011, Jess has over 250 colleagues and as of 2016 raised a total of $100m valuing the business at a reputed $1bn and it’s also reported that they turned down an acquisition of £1.5bn. Jess gives us an insight into the founding days of Blippar and also what it's like building a behemoth of a business while also raising a family.

    This episode of The Secret Lives of Leaders was recorded at Stockton House in front of a live audience at the Foundrs Unconference.

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    #3: Graham Hobson -- Photobox

    Graham Hobson is the Co Founder of Photobox, the digital printing powerhouse that employs 1,000+ people across Europe, and exited for a reported £400m+.But it wasn’t a simple journey - 16 years in the making, including 5 where they scaled back to 3 people, Graham shares the highs and lows of their tumultuous ride to eventual success. Before that - a life in the city, in banking’s glory years, where he saw every immoral act under the sun happen in the office before his eyes - he has lots of experience and insight to share through his career, and is well worth the listen!

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    #2: Alice Bentinck -- Entrepreneur First

    Alice started her career in McKinsey and on the day she was going to sign to start at google, got convinced by her business partner Matt to just start this with her instead, and though it was incredibly tough starting up - she’s never looked back.

    They recruit 100 technologists every 6 months, put them into teams, help them develop ideas - but unusually give money to people who might never have met before, who might not even have an idea, and get them to just start. More recently they raised a fresh £40m fund to invest into people, to turn them into companies.

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    #1: Nick Jenkins -- Moonpig

    Nick Jenkins is the founder of Moonpig.com - the wildly successful personalised E card company that sold for £120m to photo printing giants, Photobox in 2011. More recently he’s been an avid angel investor which saw him becoming more of a household name every sunday night as a dragon on BBC1’s Dragon’s Den.

    As both his own seed investor, and a sole founder - he shares his unique journey from startup to exit, and we learn about his background, and indeed how he got started on the founder ladder.

    But it wasn’t all smooth sailing - like many, he’s failed along the way, and he also went all in with 100% of the money he’d made in his career.

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