The 10 Men a UK Female Internet Entrepreneur Should Know when Starting and Growing a Business

'Its not what you know, but who you know' (Paul Arden). This is true for entrepreneurs growing their business and forming their teams and advisory boards. Alicia Navarro, CEO of Skimlinks recently told The NextWomen about the great value a diverse board has given to her company. At best, women should surround themselves with male and female mentors. And those men, who are they, where are they, what can they do for you?

Therefore: Who are these men you should know when starting and growing a business?

Mike Butcher of TechCrunch: For Feedback + Publicity

If media coverage is what you need then Mike Butcher is the man to know. He is the omnipresent European Editor of TechCrunch and his CV is impressive.

Having worked as Editor for UK trade title New Media Age weekly European Tech title The Industry Standard, online marketing and media site and TechCrunch UK and Ireland, he has also managed to fit in freelance journalism for numerous national press titles including: The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The New Statesman.  You would think this was enough work for any man over the last 20 years and yet to date he still has roles as: ‘Technofile’ columnist for The Irish Times; Director of content with, not to mention numerous television appearances for the likes of BBC News, Sky News, Channel 4 and Bloomberg or events at which he speaks or chairs.

Mike Butcher truly is journalist extraordinaire and with the awards to prove it – ‘One of the 100 Innovators of the UK Internet Decade by GfK NOP in 2004 and number 47 of the Top 100 people to know in London’s creative scene by The Independent in 2008.

Before he considers your start-up worth writing about, he will give you honest, and we mean really honest feedback on your business plan.

Bill Morrow of Angels Den: For Review Bizz. Plan and Seed Capital

So you have the media coverage and now you need the seed investment, but just how do you go about it? Bill Morrows’ previous jobs have included accountant for Telecommunications giant Virgin and CEO of Morgan Chase.  Frustrated by the inability to find good investment deals, he has since spent the last few years researching, co-founding and chairing Angels Den – the online platform that brings investors and entrepreneurs together in one single, stress free environment.  Refreshingly he is also only one man of a team of four other women.

Since the site launched in July 2007, Bill has reportedly attracted 1000 Angels to the Den.  Designed to give entrepreneurs the exposure they need, the site is aimed at achieving under £500k of investment for businesses almost from the comfort of their own homes.  Whilst the site does not provide financial advice, for a small fee it showcases start-ups’ business plans, logically placed for potential investors to search and find them.  Angels Den is like the first ‘angelic’ step to funding.  It allows entrepreneurs to make their plans visible and for investors to instantly understand its nature.  Once both parties are interested then the meetings can begin.

In May of this year, the site championed SpeedFunding – an evening session in which entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors in under 3 minutes.

For more information click here

Saul Klein of Index Ventures: For Contacts and VC funding

If it is Venture Capital you require then Saul Klein is the man to know.  Joining Index Ventures as a partner in 2007, Saul has spent the last 15 years under various guises, including entrepreneur, seed investor and operator.  Saul is one of those men who has experienced the start-up world from every angle and in direct correlation now currently sits on the board of some great internet success stories - Glasses Direct, MyHeritage, LoveFilm and Songkick.  Indeed he is co-founder and ex-CEO of LoveFilm and part of the executive team at Skype.

Adamant there are still a lot of European entrepreneurs out there yet to be cultivated both financially and creatively, Saul recently set up Seedcamp – an initiative that pioneers week long events across the globe, aimed at awarding seed funding and invaluable business connections for start-ups.  With places for 20 companies, there is the possibility for up to five of them to receive low-level funding in return for a small percentage of the company and three months spent nurturing the teams.

As with the other men we have profiled here, Saul’s endless work for entrepreneurs does not end here.  He is also a founding partner of The Accelerator Group and OpenCoffee Club that was started in London to promote informal face-to-face meeting and networking.  In line with his Midas touch, there are now over 110 meetings across the globe.

Brent Hoberman of Lastminute and EFC:  For Advice and Money

If you want to know how to scale a business, then you should get to know serial entrepreneur, Brent Hoberman whose best known for being the co-brain child of  When the company was floated on the stock exchange in 2000, funds were so great that they have managed to purchase a further 14 businesses over the years.  The company was sold to Sabre in 2005, but Hoberman  still holds the position of chairman and chief strategic officer. In 2007 Brent went on to found the hugely successful mydeco, the one stop online shop for interior design and products.

With the money he had amassed over his years, he has acted as angel investor in various start-ups including, viagogo, t5m,, academia and lifestyle and travel social network WAYN for which he also acts as non-executive Chairman.

Of course such great entrepreneurial success does not come without recognition.  Over the years he has been included in: Time Magazines Top 25 European digital leaders, Revolutions Internet Person of the Year and the Institute of Travel Tourism (ITT) Travel Business Person of the Year.  There seems to be no bounds to this mans success.

His latest venture seems the accelerate the need to get to know him: With Michael Birch, who sold social networking website Bebo, he is setting up European Founders Capital (EFC). EFC wants to fill the gap between business angels, who typically invest £50,000 to £100,000, and venture capitalists who put several million pounds into firms that have matured beyond their initial concept. Planning is to have about £70 million made available by successful entrepreneurs to starting entrepreneurs.

Barry Vitou, 'Boot' Lawyer: For Legal  Advice for Tech Startups

bary vitouTo tackle your legal issues, you are best to contact with Barry Vitou of Winston & Strawn, and more imporantly, organizer of Bootlaw, a free boot camp for emerging technology, internet and digital businesses and for the professionals working in them who want to learn more about the legal issues they face.

Monthly at their London office they are hosting an evening for the members of Bootlaw where they cover business questions and their legal ramifications from a pragmatic and practical standpoint. The evenings are informative and fun and are intended to put something useful back into the emerging technology and digital ecosystem. Bootlaw's objective is to enable its members to make informed decisions about legal issues without unnecessarily racking up legal bills. And for individual questions,  Barry is the perfect problem solver and provides proactive, timely, pragmatic, and commercial high-quality legal advice to clients. He advises clients in a variety of industry sectors, including financial services, Internet and Web 2.0, media technology, clean technology, traditional industrial, and manufacturing businesses.

Stewart Townsend of Sun Microsystems: For Software+ Hardware Freebies

In order to benefit from all the tech freebies, such as hosting, office space, meeting rooms what can you do but contact immediately the man in the jungle shirts: Stewart Townsend, Manager of Startups and Emerging Markets EMEA for Sun Microsystems. They are specialists in Business and market development; technology adoption, strategy and roll-out; Alliance and Channel development and they have the best contacts to get your startup in all kinds of tech events.

Having worked for the industry giant since 2000, Stewart has spent the last eight years driving revenue, growth and market adoption across EMEA; implementing infrastructure and business software and hardware for corporate accounts, whilst strengthening Web 2.0 and red-shift markets.

Stewart is a consistent driver for this multinational vendor of computers and their components, software and IT services with particular success launching the Web 2.0 start-up customer program.

Alex Hoye of Latitude Group: For Strategic Advice

alex hoyeIf you want Harvard MBA quality strategic advice combined with an entrepreneurial mindset, then you should connect with Alex Hoye. Currently, the CEO of Latitude Group, one of Europe’s largest independent digital marketing agencies, he is your best bet for SEO, social media strategies and affiliate marketing.

However, Alex brings far more to the table: He co-founded GoIndustry plc from 0 to a 100 million dollars listed company and 15-country market leader and he has acted as angel investor and mentor in various technology and internet-based projects.  The companies are: Skimbit, MyBuilder, RentMineOnline, and GoMix. He also acts as an advisor to private equity firm Vitruvian Partners, a €1B private equity fund focused on technology, media and telecommunications, a member of Cambridge Angels and on the advisory board of Seedcamp.

Whilst obtaining his BA in Economics and International Relations from Stanford, USA and an MBA from Harvard, with enough time left to start a wine club at both, he gained further basics at McKinsey & Co. and Disney, acquiring analytical, restructuring, finance, and M&A skills. He has worked out of the UK, Germany, US, and Latin America, becoming your  truly global mentor.

Ashley Ward, Headhunter, Serial CEO and Leadership Trainer: For Leadership Skills Training

ashley wardIf you want cutting edge training to strenghten your leadership skills as (future) CEO of a venture capital and private equity backed business and want to sharpen the range of skills required to meet shareholder expectation, you should contact Ashley Ward, programme head of the European Leadership Programme (ELP) and Partner in Nexec Partners, the  executive search practice specialising in meeting the exacting recruitment needs of innovative, high growth companies.As a serial CEO for 26 years Ashley led several businesses to sale or IPO  Orchestream which became a FTSE 250 company with a capitalisation of almost £1b. Ashley is passionate about ensuring that search candidates are properly qualified for the role, have a cultural fit and personal chemistry with board colleagues. Using interpersonal skills and industry knowledge he gains a greater understanding of client needs and is able to communicate this clearly and positively to candidates.  In addition to his role as a head hunter and leader of ELP he sits on the board of various VC backed businesses.

Nigel Miller, UK lawyer for technology and online: For IT Contracts Advice

In order to avoid the legal pittfalls in negotiating your term sheets and your partnership agreements, you may want to know Nigel Miller, a partner with UK law firm Fox Williams specialising in Commerce & Technology law.  One of the firm’s founding partners he also leads the Technology law group.  With particular interest in commercial contracts and regulation, IT, intellectual property, data protection and e-commerce his strengths are negotiation and compliance with UK and EU business regulation.

Outside of the law firm he writes and speaks about business law matters and is a fellow and past chairman of the Society for Computers & Law and past president of the International Federation of Computer Law Associations.

Nigel is featured in “Legal 500 – Who’s Who in the Law” and is highly respected as a no-nonsense expert on regulatory matters.

Mike Sigal, CEO Guidewire: For Contacts in Silicon Valley

If you are thinking of taking your startup to the US, and in particular Silicon Valley, then you better call, twitter and mail Mike Sigal,  CEO and Co-founder of Guidewire Group. GuideWire organizes numerous events showcasing and identifying Europe’s top startups who are ready to expand to Silicon Valley and beyond, such as Innovate!Europe a three-part program of relationship building with partners, investors, service providers and media.

Mike has a 20-year record of building innovative technology-based businesses for existing and emerging global companies. Previously, he ran a strategic advisory and interim management consulting firm, with an impressive aray of clients. He has lived and worked in Europe, providing marketing and business development services to technology companies as they developed their trans-Atlantic strategies. As director of DASAR, producer of the annual European Technology Roundtable Exposition (ETRE) conferences, Mike built communities which fostered relationships among technology industry executives and investors.

An entrepreneur at heart, Mike has founded a number of technology ventures, including FM Waves and WiFinder. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

A diverse advisory team, according to many reports, provides the most innovative value (McKinsey reports etc.). We hope this list is useful for the men to connect with. Let us know the Men in Tech, that are an indispensable male adviser, investor, connector, trainer, coach for your business.

Wow, this is a large list of bigwigs!
I'll look in to allof this and thank you when I'm up there with the best ;-)

Thanks for this wonderful list. Its great that there are people out there ready to help others with our amazing technological advances!

Thanks for this insightful heads up, what about Brad Callen or is he just a spammer?

Very useful article for identifying the big players - but as with everything it is getting meet them. Would you not agree?

@Clara : Laurent Chiozzotto is the Sun Startup Essentials contact for France and Southern Europe more globally. Meet the worldwide startup team at and the EMEA engineering ISV team at HTH

Interesting site. Shall read as subscription, rss.

Slightly disappointed as I was hoping to see Brad or George in there somewhere...

That's the second request for this article in an hour. Of course we will, soon!

So when can we read: The 10 women a UK male Internet Entrepreneur Should Know when Starting and Growing a Business!

Very useful article, especially since many female-led businesses lack contacts in many of the areas above. So can we expect to see a similar list for other European countries?


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