TNW Spotlight on Female Founders: Fiona Price and her Community for Horse Lovers

The NextWomen are always looking to make female founders and leaders notable and quotable.  In our new series – ‘TNW Spotlight on Female Founders’ we look at ventures that are making waves online and the women that are leading them.  Here we look at Horse Hero - Paradise for Horse Lovers on film - and its founder Fiona Price.

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'I thought I was the Only MBA Graduate Who Couldn't Read a Balance Sheet'

I started out in the financial sector, having graduated with a degree in Psychology and an MBA. It was a shock to find myself in the City as I believed I was the only MBA graduate who couldn't read a balance sheet! However, having begun my career at the same time as the first women’s networks were starting, I felt drawn to pioneer the concept of financial advice for women, something which was unheard of at the time. In fact, Harpers & Queen described me as “The first woman of finance”. I set up my own business at the age of 28 and sold it 18 years later with a staff of around 35.

It had been amazing creating something from scratch with no business experience and no finance, I’d won a lot of awards which I’m sure were due to the novelty value, but for someone with a short attention span, it was way too long a chapter! For the next few years, I had a more varied career as a non-executive director on a variety of Boards which gave me a new perspective on business.

I felt I was finally being paid for turning up - a long term career aspiration! But it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and again, I felt it was time to do my own thing, even though I had said I would never set up another business. It’s amazing how time erases pain from your memory!

Fiona Price - The 'Financial Expert'

Media was where I wanted to be, especially TV or video. In my years in the financial sector, I have done all the PR myself and latterly, it occupied a large part of my work doing TV and radio interviews each week, from the Today Programme and News at 10 to Women’s Hour! The term financial ‘expert’ was not one I was ever comfortable with. Maybe that’s a woman’s thing?

The Human Nature of Business

As I was interested in the human nature of business, the really subtle stuff about how you manage yourself and your environment, and especially focusing on women in business as we have a noticeably different style to our male colleagues, I set up a video website called Diva Biz which launched in September 2007. I did around 80 interviews with top British business women drawing out their insights about work and life and their business wisdom. It was great fun and finally I could be the interviewer and presenter, a role I was much more comfortable with.

Realising When you have Bitten off More than you can Chew

However, Horse Hero overlapped with Diva Biz. Horse Hero took 18 months from concept to launch to create and fine-tune the business plan, raise angel investment, build the site and hit the ‘go’ button. I had bitten off more than I could chew. Both were 24/7 propositions and sadly one had to go, so Diva-Biz was dropped. I was gutted because I loved it and had put a lot of my own money into it. But at the same time, I was really excited to be doing something which combined my life-long passion for horses and my business experience!

pic_screenshot4Horse Hero has been awesome and if I say so myself, the site is amazing and addictive – but it’s not just me that says that, it’s what our users tell us! 18 months post launch, I am exhausted, have been through technological hell, lived on the financial knife-edge, and had thought all that was past! But the site is just about reaching break-even and it’s upwards from here.

There is Even Time for a Little Competing

Outside work, I compete with my own horse, occasionally! I trained as a healer many years ago which I use on my animals and me. I was once an elite oarswoman and rowed for Wales in the 70's and 80's, including the 1986 Commonwealth Games. So sport has always been a big part of my life. I also have a full motorbike licence and intend to be a born-again biker one day. Oh, and I’m 50 in February, a very weird concept indeed!

What is Horse Hero?

pic_screenshot3Horse Hero is a leading-edge equestrian video website showing how top riders look after their horses at home and at competition. The site offers a rare glimpse into their lives, their philosophies and training methods. It has 'how to' videos, training videos, fascinating yard tours and the video ‘stories’ of riders behind the scenes at big shows as well as British squad training. Content spans a wide range of equestrian disciplines and horse behaviour. Horse Hero features Olympic riders such as Laura Bechtolsheimer, medal winners and rising stars.

The site also has a great community including 35 astonishing blogs from top equestrians, 100 or so biographies plus interactive articles. The Horse Hero forum is especially welcoming and educational, as there is a policy of all posts receiving an answer by users, or the exceptionally wise Horse Hero Guru! Horse Hero provides an unprecedented opportunity for users to get into dialogue with site celebrities by posting comments on their videos and blogs. The Sunday Times described the site as "Paradise for Horse Lovers!" It launched in June '08 and became a subscription site in September ’09.  Currently there are around 300 videos made by the Horse Hero team which provide timeless wisdom, inspiration, education and entertainment!

Intrigued? Have a watch of the August 2009 Highlights:

New to this site, fantastic! I'm co founder with my husband of Forsham Cottage Arks, I do all the heavy stuff finance andd marketing, things have been very difficult for us since bird flu hit the press in 2005! "understatement"
but we are still here, now our best sellers are being copied in China!!
I have always had this unexplainable passion for horses, and have been involved in all sorts of disciplines.
At present rather like yourself, time allowing, I am producing a rather lovely Hanovarian, he was untouched, unbroken and uncut at 5yrs, and he has been quite a challenge, but with patience and perseverance, and getting the basics correct we are making headway at last! so I feel your site is going to be an invaluable aid!

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