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Biography: Brent Hoberman

Brent Hoberman is an interesting, insightful and rich keynote speaker in the areas of Customer Service & CRM, Retailing, IT & Online Business.

Brent co-founded lastminute.com in April 1998, with Martha Lane Fox, in the living room of his London flat three years after having drafted the initial idea. Brent was 29 and Martha was just 25. lastminute.com offers consumers airline tickets, car hire, hotel rooms, package holidays, entertainment tickets, restaurant reservations, home delivery, speciality services, gifts and auctions. Brent’s initial vision remains unchanged – ‘to delight customers with great value, inspiration and solutions when they are going away, going out or staying in.’

lastminute.com remains one of Europe’s leading ecommerce companies – and is one of the only startup brands in Europe to regularly feature in the top 10 ecommerce sites in many European geographies.  The company floated in March 2000 when the dotcom bubble was at its peak – the IPO was 40 times  oversubscribed and the price increase during the process was a record for a UK company.  lastminute.com acquired 14 businesses after the IPO to supplement the annual growth of the core brand which was over 100% from 1998 – 2004.  Ten years on the company is the number one travel website in Europe and was acquired by Travelocity Europe for $1.1 billion, a division of Sabre Holdings Corporation on 20th July 2005. The most recent estimates for gross bookings in 2005 were over $2.1 billion.

Brent’s leading industry role was recognised by several organisations – these include: Time Magazines Top 25 European digital leaders, Revolution’s Internet Person of the Year and the Institute of Travel Tourism (ITT) Travel Business Person of the Year.

Brent remained CEO of lastminute.com until April 2006 when he took the position of Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer. Brent’s entrepreneurial vision ensured the lastminute.com customer experience was continually enhanced by the latest innovations in technology.

In February 2007 Brent founded internet startup, mydeco, an online furniture site that set out to revolutionise the way we shop and design for our homes, encouraging consumers to spend, socialise create a vision for their dream home. Made.com was a ‘spin-off’ idea that is disrupting the furniture industry by giving customers beautiful furniture and accessories direct from the makers.

He is also Chair of Founders Forum  a brainstorming forum described by the Guardian as ‘Davos for Geeks’.  It also now has a consulting division Founders Intelligence – that helps large corporates such as GSK, Unilever, Telegraph, Global Radio work with innovative startups.

Founders Keepers is the headhunting division of Founders Forum that recruits top digital talent. Brent also co-founded PROfoundersCapital, an early stage internet Venture Capital companies backed by several top entrepreneurs.

Brent is a Governor of the University of the Arts College, London and a Non-Executive Board Director of Guardian Media Group. From January 2007 - December 2009 he took on the role of Non-Executive Chairman of wayn.com – a travel and leisure social network with over 10 million members. He is also an angel investor in several internet companies including Viagogo, erepublik, Wayn.com and academia.edu.

In 2009, Brent was selected as one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for the UK. That same year he joined The Business Council for Britain, Brent is also an adviser to Travelintelligence.co.uk, Kenshoo, eRepublik, Campbell Lace Beta, and Mobimate. He also cohosts the European Founders Forum – a selection of European digital leaders.

Brent was appointed CBE in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to entrepreneurship.

Brent was born in South Africa, educated at Eton and holds a MA in French and German literature from Oxford.

For further information or to book Brent Hoberman, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk

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