Bec Astley Clarke is the Founder and Chairman of Astley Clarke, an international jewellery brand with e-commerce at its heart. Bec is committed to educating and informing customers on all aspects of jewellery and constantly invests in new, creative drives that offer the luxury consumer a unique experience.
Bec graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA in Politics and Philosophy. Her early career was spent working across luxury brand consultancy projects, spending much time in Hamburg, Paris and Milan. She was Commercial Director of iVillage.co.uk and Head of Non-Retail Strategy at Tesco.com before launching Astley Clarke in 2006.
Today, Astley Clarke is one of UK’s leading Luxury Jewellery Brands with concessions in Harrods, Selfridges & Liberty together with a London Boutique and large UK and US Web businesses. AstleyClarke.com delivers to over 100 countries and is recognized as a pioneer in luxury online retailing,. It has won amongst other awards Walpole’s Best Online Luxury Brand.
In 2012, Bec Astley Clarke was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for ‘Services to the Jewellery Industry’.
Kayleigh Bateman is Special Projects Editor for Computer Weekly, covering the IT skills and education beat. She looks after Computer Weekly’s Women in Tech community, including the WITsend blog and Computer Weekly’s Top 25 Most Influential Women in Tech awards as well as its annual Women in Technology event. She is also editor of Computer Weekly’s pan-European e-zine CW Europe and is responsible for running the CW European User Awards.
Kayleigh runs a campaign to encourage more ex-military personnel into the tech sector to aid in closing the skills gap.
Kayleigh originally joined TechTarget five years ago as site editor for SearchVirtualDataCentre.co.UK, before becoming the UK Managing Editor of TechTarget International. She joined the Computer Weekly team after it was acquired by TechTarget two years ago. Kayleigh began her career at Computer Reseller News UK, where she specialised in virtualisation and storage. Prior to CRN, she attended the University of Hertfordshire, where she studied for her BA in English literature, journalism and media cultures.
In her spare time she volunteers with the Essex Military Support Association (EMSA), in addition to sending care packages to British soldiers donated by the public on behalf of the charity Operation Shoebox UK.
Prior to starting A Suit That Fits, David graduated from Imperial College London with a degree in Computing. He then started up a recruitment company in Cambridge. David left to pursue his interest in systems and software, working in IT for leading recruitment company and quickly graduating to becoming IT manager.
In 2006 David met up with old school friend Warren and together they realised that by combining their love of suits, passion for business, and complementary skills sets they could reinvent the way that people think about ordering a suit.
Lisa is a Partner in KPMG’s Management Consulting Business and leads the CIO Advisory Group. Lisa has more than 20 years of experience across technology, having worked for major technology providers prior to her consulting career. As such Lisa has experience across all elements of technology from software through servers, storage and networks.
Lisa has worked across different industries but in recent years has spent most of her time in financial services. She has worked with many of the leading Global Financial Service organisations, advising on IT and Sourcing strategies, leading transformation programmes and remediating service provider issues. She focuses much of her time now assisting her client s to transform their IT organisation and improve internal capability to more effectively manage the increasingly complex IT supply chain.
Director, Business Development, BSKYB
As Sky’s Director of Corporate Business Development and Investments, Emma identifies and nurtures key strategic relationships with Sky’s technology partners, ranging from start-ups through to major international technology brands. Emma’s role includes identifying potential commercial tie-ups – particularly in relation to new forms of content distribution – as well as investments opportunities. Emma has overseen a number of Sky’s recent strategic investments, including those made in Roku, Zeebox and 1 Mainstream.
Previously Emma was Sky’s Director of Emerging Products, where she led a team that focused on identifying and new product opportunities across TV, online and mobile and then bringing them to scale. In this position, she played a key role in the early development of Sky’s award-winning multiplatform TV service, Sky Go.
Emma joined Sky in January 2008 as a business development director. She started her career in management consulting, where she has ten year’s business consulting and mobile telecommunications experience.
Cordelia founded FieldHouse Associates in early 2012. She has almost 20 years experience in PR – both agency (Brunswick / IF Communications) and in-house (Tarsus Group plc./ Reading Room). Cordelia specialises in working with SMEs and investors and gets a buzz from helping a high-growth business reach its next stage – be that seed funding, VC funding, a new partnership or client, or even get to exit or IPO.
Cordelia has worked with a huge range of clients over the years including Pearson, DMGT, Erste Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, Wellington Partners, and Somo. Cordelia is also a BBC Labs mentor, and on the Advisory Board of Silicon Valley Comes to the UK. You can read Cordelia’s full biography here and on the FieldHouse website.
Partner, BOOST & Co
Sonia Powar is a chartered accountant by training from PwC and has spent the last 12 years working in the private equity/ venture capital industry. For the bulk of her career she worked at 3i investing in both small and large businesses across Europe in all sectors. She then worked at Foresight Group, an environmental focussed investment business investing in renewables and solar energy. This was followed by a career break in Australia to allow her husband to do a surgical fellowship, and when they came back she worked for Frog Capital – a disruptive technology investor.
Six months ago she joined Boost & Co, introduced to her through Frog (with whom it shares investors) as a partner investing venture debt in technology enabled, innovative, fast growing businesses in the UK SME space. One of their recent investments is Get lenses, an online retailer for contact lenses.
Mandeep Singh is the CEO of StreetHub.com, the location-based, mobile-first marketplace for independent retailers. StreetHub shows you, in real-time, what fashion and home products are in local shops around you. You can buy items for instant collection or 3 hour delivery. For retailers, StreetHub give them the technology to drive more customers into their shops. StreetHub is backed by a group of leading Venture Capital funds including Index Ventures and Octopus Investments.
Prior to co-founding StreetHub, Mandeep was at one of Europe’s largest Private Equity funds, BC Partners, acquiring Foxtons (where he was on the board) and Accudyne Industries LLC (jointly with Carlyle). He was previously at OC&C Strategy Consultants and has an MA from Cambridge University. He co-founded his first business in his bedroom at the age of 15.
Olivia Solon is a writer and editor specialising in technology, science, startups and digital culture. Currently Deputy Editor of Wired.co.uk, she has also had work published in WIRED UK, Metro, GQ, The Telegraph, FT.com, GQ, Marketing Week, Stylus, Glamour and Music Week. Prior to working at Wired, she spent five years as a business journalist focusing on the media and marketing industries, with roles at Media Week, Media & Marketing and Cream.
Olivia is also an experienced speaker and moderator and regularly commentates on issues relating to digital culture and technology for broadcasters such as Channel 4, Radio 4, Sky News, Reuters and BBC London.
Sarah Turner is director of digital strategy advisors Turner Hopkins and the founder of Angel Academe. She has spent most of the last 20 years working in and around digital media in the UK, Europe, US and Asia. At Turner Hopkins she helps large organisations and multinationals such as BBC, Ofcom and Thomson Reuters to develop their peripheral vision by identifying areas for innovation and the best partners and processes to help them deliver it. Angel Academe is a pro-women (but not women-only), tech-focussed angel investment group. We believe that to help more women go big with their ventures, we have to increase the number of women investors.
Victoria is co-founder and COO at SportPursuit.com, a members only flash sales website offering sports men and women up to 70% off the world’s best sports brands in new sales starting every day.
After graduating from Oxford University with a Masters degree in Biochemistry, Victoria began her career at Hasbro before moving to OC&C Strategy Consultants, where over the next 5 years she progressed to Manager in the Retail & FMCG practice.
Frustrated with the limited choice and uninspiring retail options available to sportspeople, Victoria and her husband Adam set out to combine the power of ecommerce with an innovative business model to bring sportspeople a more exciting way to shop. Since launching in late 2011 SportPursuit.com has attracted more than 1 million members, featured more than 600 different sports brands – many of which had never before been sold in the UK – raised more than £6m in venture funding and has shipped to more than 40 countries worldwide. When she’s not working Victoria is cycling, skiing or running in the South Downs with her dog Bentley.
Debbie Wosskow is a serial entrepreneur and digital strategist.
A former management consultant, she launched her first business, marketing and communications consultancy Mantra at the age of just 25. Building Mantra over a decade, Debbie sold to the Loewy Group in 2008 to co-create Maidthorn Partners, the media advisory and investment boutique.
In 2011, when she was struggling to find holiday accommodation for her family that wouldn’t cost a fortune, Debbie took inspiration from hit home swap movie “The Holiday” and conceived the idea for Love Home Swap.
She funded Love Home Swap herself to get the business up and running and then raised venture capital funding at the start of 2012 to accelerate growth. From 250 homes at launch, Love Home Swap is now the world’s largest home exchange club with over 50,000 inspiring homes available in 150 countries worldwide – and growing quickly.
In addition to her role as CEO of Love Home Swap, Debbie is an active angel investor and sits on a number of advisory boards. She is a regular commentator on travel and entrepreneurship on TV and in print.
Debbie graduated with an MA in Philosophy and Theology from New College, Oxford University and lives in London with her two children. Debbie has carried out numerous home swaps over the years, including swapping her London home for an exotic trip to Morocco, a stint in the English countryside and a harbour-side stay in Sydney, Australia, where no less than Russell Crowe turned out to be her neighbour.
Elizabeth Varley is a communicator, connector and entrepreneur with a background in technology, content and events. She is co-Founder and CEO of TechHub, a network bringing together the global technology startup community, in London, Riga, Manchester, Bucharest and many other cities around the world.
Elizabeth has previously worked with small business advice site Smarta, with Germination on the SHINE unconference for social entrepreneurs, and headed the team for Twestival London in 2009-2010.
After copywriting, editing and senior content strategy and management roles, she ran editorial and content agency Online Content UK for six years, and programmed and produced digital and tech-focused events for Chinwag and NMK. Elizabeth has previously been a judge at GeeknRolla, the Association of Online Publishers Awards, the Information Management Awards and sat on the London College of Communication’s Digital Media Advisory Forum.
She is committed to supporting the wider technology industry and was one of the founding steering committee members of the DigitalEve women in technology organisation in the UK. In 2002 Elizabeth was a consultant on ITbeat with e-skills UK – a project to encourage girls to get involved in IT and new media.