Edward Wray set up Betfair, together with Andrew Black, in August 1999. He was the company's CEO from its inception until July 2003, when he brought in an external CEO to run the wider business, allowing him to focus on establishing Betfair internationally. From 2004 to 2007 Edward was based in Australia spearheading Betfair's efforts in the country as CEO of Betfair Australia, the company's joint venture in Australia and New Zealand with Crown Ltd (formerly Publishing and Broadcasting Limited).
In October 2002, Edward and Betfair co-founder Andrew Black were named as the UK's Emerging Entrepreneurs of the Year. In April 2003, Betfair was given a Queen's Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category (the only gambling company ever to win this award). In both December 2004 and December 2005 Betfair was named as the Confederation of British Industry's "Company of the Year" (the first company to win the award in successive years). In 2007 Betfair was named as the eGaming "Operator of the Year" and in 2008 Betfair won its second Queen's Award for Enterprise, this time in the International Trade category.
Prior to setting up Betfair, Edward spent 8 years at J.P. Morgan & Co. as a Vice President in the debt capital markets & derivatives area.
Edward has an MA (Hons) in Engineering, Economics and Management from the University of Oxford and was sponsored through University by Shell UK Ltd. He is 42 and married with a son and two daughters.
Edward owns 11 racehorses in the UK and the US.
John Bird is the founder and Editor-In-Chief of The Big Issue - a news and current affairs magazine launched in 1991. Under John's leadership, the magazine has challenged the way the Government and the general public view homelessness.
Since then, The Big Issue has become one of the biggest social businesses in the world and has worked global wonders, giving homeless people the opportunity to engage in helping themselves by selling magazines on a self-employed basis, and earning a dignified living in order for to break out of the poverty cycle. They have publications and offices throughout Europe, Africa, The Americas, and Australia with the latest launches in Osaka and Tokyo.
John was born into a poor London Irish family, became homeless at the age of five, resided in an orphanage between the ages of seven and ten, and spent time in prison in his teenage years. He slept rough on the streets of London and had several prison sentences in his late twenties.
While on the run from the police, he met Gordon Roddick, with whom he struck up an instant friendship. A few years later, it was Gordon Roddick who suggested the idea of The Big Issue to John, and with Gordon's backing, John launched The Big Issue.
As a result of the success of The Big Issue, The Big Issue Foundation was established in November 1995 to address the wider needs of homeless people. It initiated fund raising to address homelessness and introduced services such as medical support for mental health issues and resources to deal with drug and alcohol abuse.
John's latest venture is called Wedge Card, a loyalty card aimed at revitalising the local high street. The card gives shoppers discounts at hundreds of independent businesses as well as raising money for local charities.
In 1995, John was awarded a MBE for services to the homeless people. He is a Fellow of John Moore's University, a Visiting Professor at Lincoln University, and a Doctor of Letters at Oxford Brookes University. In 2003, and was named one of the Most Important Pioneers of the last 50 years. In 2004, he received a Scroll of Excellence from the United Nations for his international work in poverty and also won the title of a London Living Legend. In 2005 he won the 2005/6 Beacon Prize for Creative Giving.
The debate on whether a university education or general experience best prepares you for entrepreneurial success rages on. Clare, founder of the successful beds chain Dreams will definitely side on the life experience side.
After 12 years of selling furniture for other people, Clare decided it was time he started selling some for himself. He sold his car, took out a loan and risked everything on a small store in Uxbridge. Within two years he had a further three stores. While Clare didn't plan too far ahead, he had no doubts Dreams could become a national brand. "I actually imagined that the company would grow to even bigger than it is now. I wasn't doing it to just run one shop. A proper entrepreneur is never satisfied. I'm always thinking, 'there's someone else in that rich list that's got more money, or someone that owns more stores'. That's what gets me up in the morning."
With a brother at Cambridge, a young Clare had something to prove - and prove himself he did. Two decades since Clare opened his first shop in Uxbridge, Dreams now boasts over 250 stores across the UK with an annual turnover in excess of £280m and is eyeing the international franchise market. Dreams now delivers over 6,000 beds every week, from its 100-strong fleet of vans.
In 2009 he sold Dreams for over £200m, became non-executive President of Dreams and went on to create Clarenco LLP, a property company specialising in unusual property ventures like Castles, Forts and Monasteries. Recently, Clare also launched The Clare Foundation which helps charities become more efficient and entrepreneurial - And through his enthusiasm for joint ventures, Mike has joined Today Retail as Chairman. Today's specialist, contemporary convenience stores are set to expand into sites across the UK with high footfall near busy office communities.
In September 2009 Mike was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Bucks New University in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of commerce and entrepreneurship.
Mike lives with his wife and four children in the Chiltern Countryside.
Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young, London, and graduated in Law from Cambridge University, Karan Bilimoria developed a less gassy, premium lager brewed to perfectly appeal to both ale drinkers and lager drinkers alike and to complement food. Two decades later, Cobra Beer is one of the fastest growing beer brands in the UK and was ranked in the 1999 Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100, a list of the UK's fastest growing unquoted companies. The brand is sold in nearly 6,000 Indian restaurants, and is available to more than 6,000 bars, pubs and clubs and thousands of leading multiples, supermarkets and off-licenses throughout the UK. It has been exported to over 45 countries worldwide, and in 2009 Cobra Beer entered into a Joint Venture with Molson Coors, the largest family owned brewer in the world. Cobra Beer was awarded a record 19 Gold Medals at the 2008 Monde Selection World Selection of Quality Awards, Vienna - including the International High Quality Trophy.
Karan is an Honorary Life Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA). He is a former Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Hounslow and a former Chancellor of Thames Valley University - the UK's youngest at the time of his appointment. In 2003, Karan was appointed as the UK Chairman of the Indo British Partnership (IBP) by the British Government, and served as founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) of which he is now President. He is also a member of the UK-India Round Table. He is a member of the Young Presidents' Organisation (YPO) and served as Chairman of the YPO London Chapter for 2004/05. Karan is a former Deputy President of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was a member of the Government's National Employment Panel and served as Chairman of the Panel's Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) Board from 2001 to 2005.
Bilimoria is widely respected for his entrepreneurial spirit. He is one of the first two Visiting Entrepreneurs ever appointed at Cambridge University and serves as National Champion of the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship. Karan is a member of the Advisory Board of Cambridge University's Judge Business School and Visiting Professor at London Metropolitan University Business School. In 2007, Karan was named Honorary Fellow of his Cambridge College, Sidney Sussex.
In 2004, on its 250th anniversary year, the RSA honoured Karan with its Albert Medal, in recognition of meeting the RSA Manifesto Challenge to Encourage Enterprise. Karan was awarded the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in Her Majesty The Queen's Birthday Honours List, 2004. He has also been honoured with the Award for Outstanding Achievement 2005 by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in the Institute's 125th anniversary year, and as London Entrepreneur of the Year 2003 (Consumer Products) by Ernst & Young, established as the most prestigious business award in more than 35 nations worldwide. Karan has been recognised as Entrepreneur of the Year 2003 by the London Business Awards. In 2008 Karan was awarded the Pravasi Bharti Samman by the President of India. Karan is a member of the Indian Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indians established in 2010.
In June 2006, Karan was appointed The Lord Bilimoria, of Chelsea.
John Pluthero is Executive Chairman of Cable&Wireless Worldwide.
Prior to that, from September 2002 until the acquisition by Cable&Wireless, he was Chief Executive of Energis, leading the company through its successful turnaround.
Previously, he was founder and Chief Executive of Freeserve where he pioneered the pay-as-you-go internet model, turned the company into the UK's largest internet service provider, and led it to its July 1999 flotation on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.
The idea for Freeserve came to him during his role as Managing Director of Mastercare, part of the Dixons Group. Prior to this, he had held various strategy and operations positions within the group including Quality Director and Business Review Director. Other experience includes senior positions with Holiday Inn Worldwide and P&O.
John is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and has a degree in Economics.
Lance founded Markit in 2001, together with a team of credit market professionals. The vision was to create a financial information services company specialising in pricing and valuation, with an initial focus on the credit asset class.
Today, Markit is a leading, global financial information services company with over 1,900 employees. The company provides independent data, valuations and trade processing across all asset classes in order to enhance transparency, reduce risk and improve operational efficiency. Its client base includes the most significant institutional participants in the financial marketplace.
Lance began his banking career in 1986 at Wood Gundy Inc. in Toronto. In 1995, he joined TD Securities where he rose to Vice Chair, responsible for Global Credit Trading, and Head of Europe and Asia.
Born in Vancouver, Lance graduated from the Simon Fraser University in Canada with a BBA and holds a MSc from the London School of Economics. He is married with four children.
Toby Baxendale is an entrepreneur who owns, amongst other things, the UK's largest fresh fish supplier to the Food Service sector, see www.directseafoods.co.uk. Toby is dedicated to furthering the teaching of the Austrian school of economics.
He established and funded the 1st Distinguished Hayek Visiting Teaching Fellowship Program at the LSE where he was a student (1988/91) in Honour of the Nobel Laureate F A Hayek.
Toby is Chairman of The Cobden Centre. Richard Cobden's timeless principles of the abolition of legal privilege of the few at the expense of the many are worthy in this day and age to promote.
Shanker Patel is the Managing Director of the Lords Group of Companies, a family owned, diversified business involved in the retail, distribution and manufacturing of construction materials employing over 170 people. The Group was established in 1985 and its principal trading arm is Lords Builders Merchants based in West London.
The Lords Group is also heavily involved in residential and commercial real estate investment and development. The group also operates a luxury retirement and nursing home in Cologne, Germany established in 2008.
After graduating from the LSE in 1992 with a BSc in Econometrics and Economic History, Shanker initially intended to fulfil his dream of becoming a lawyer and attended the College of Law in London. Family financial constraints led Shanker to work in the business as a part time sales assistant between lectures and during the holidays. The family's business had two retail stores in London at the time and was on the brink of insolvency.
The economic recession of the 1990s and the realisation that the additional training required for a career in law was likely to involve a period of continued financial constraint led Shanker to re-evaluate his options and he decided to join the family business. Since becoming Managing Director and majority shareholder in 1997, turnover has grown tenfold to over £15 million and the company has developed from a small retail operation to become a diversified construction materials business.
Shanker and his team of professionals are effectively weathering the current downturn. Since 2008, the group's net assets have risen by 25%, profitability by 50% and sales by 30%. Learning from experience of the 1990s' recession, the group has reduced debt and as a result, is in the enviable position of holding cash.
Having experienced the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur, Shanker has become a strong advocate of entrepreneurship as a career, despite becoming an entrepreneur through necessity rather than choice.
Like many entrepreneurs, Shanker gives back through the Lords Group's scholarship for economically disadvantaged undergraduates.
Danny Rimer joined Index Ventures in 2002 and established the firm's London office. His investment interests include Internet infrastructure software and services.
He currently serves on a number of boards including Astley Clarke, Boku, Flipboard, FON, Oanda, Sky (BSY), Stardoll, Rightscale, Swipely, Trialpay and viagogo. He's an observer on the board of Etsy and he is also a director of Maggie's Cancer Caring Centers. He previously was a director of KVS (Symantec), Last.fm (CBS), Lovefilm, MySQL (Sun), Neoteris (Juniper) and Skype (eBay).
Prior to joining Index, Danny was a general partner of The Barksdale Group, where he invested in a dozen companies including CrossGain (BEA), Ofoto (Kodak) and TellMe (Microsoft). Prior to joining The Barksdale Group, Danny was Managing Director in Hambrecht & Quist's (JP Morgan) Equity Research Group and was responsible for the firm's Internet practice. At H&Q, Danny was the underwriting analyst for companies including Amazon, Netscape, and Verisign. He also sponsored direct investments in over 20 companies.
He holds an A.B from Harvard College.
An economist by training, Saj started his career as a strategy consultant at global consulting firms Accenture and Ernst & Young and worked on client assignments for several high profile organisations in the private and public sectors. He focused on central government and the wider public sector, contributing to the development of a model to measure the value of the delivery of public sector services and is registered on the firm's (Accenture) global patent for the model.
Saj worked closely with the Graduate Recruitment function at both firms and particularly enjoyed his involvement with the fast-paced graduate market. His experiences convinced him that there was a need for a specialist service to help organisations to realise the benefits of their investment in graduate recruitment. He left Ernst & Young in 2007 to found The Smarty Train.
The firm works with clients to make them exceptional at attracting, retaining and developing the top 5% of graduate hires. By bringing together professionals with deep industry knowledge and using cutting edge training design and delivery, The Smarty Train has developed committed relationships with UK and international clients in finance, consulting, accounting and the public sector, several of whom are also award winning employers. The firm works on all aspects of graduate recruitment from talent strategy to high-impact training.
In 2009, Saj was involved in the public consultation led by John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills and David Lammy, Minister of State for Higher Education that led to the introduction of the Brown Government's internship initiative.
Saj is a regular speaker at the Association of Graduate Recruiter master classes on measuring Graduate Recruitment Effectiveness and frequently comments on graduate recruitment in the press, including The Times, The Independent and The Sunday Times.
Saj is still the Course Director for the LSE CHOICE Economics Summer School, a role he has undertaken on and off for about 8 years.
Saj holds a BSc [Econ] in Economics from University College London, and graduated from LSE in 2002 with an MSc [Econ] in Industrial Relations, where he obtained the Departmental Performance Award, and Graduate Merit Award for outstanding performance.
Greg Delaney is currently the Chairman of advertising agency DLKW Lowe - one of the UK's largest ad agencies.
Greg started his business life as an advertising creative in the consultancy Delaney and Delaney, which he founded with his brother Barry in the 1970's. This company developed into advertising agency Delaney Fletcher Delaney, where Greg was co-Creative Director. The agency was sold to US Group Bozell in 1989, becoming Delaney Fletcher Bozell. Greg was Creative Director and subsequently also Chairman of DFB.
In 2000 Greg led a management buyout from Bozell, to form a new agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners. The agency grew rapidly and DLKW was sold to marketing services group Creston plc in 2005.In July of 2010, DLKW was acquired from Creston by IPG and merged with Lowe London, part of a global network of ad agencies. The agency is now called DLKW Lowe and Greg and his partners have equity in this business.
Over the course of his long career, Greg has worked on a multitude of accounts, creating campaigns for many different brands both in the UK and internationally.
He is also a Trustee of The Microloan Foundation, a charity that makes very small loans to some of the world's poorest people, to help them become small scale entrepreneurs and lift their families out of poverty.
Chris studied management and politics in Mexico City, Moscow, and London, resulting in a B.A. in Politics, a BSc. in Management, and a MSc. in Management and Governance (LSE). Ever since he can remember, he has taken pleasure in meeting and connecting inspiring people over a coffee and beyond. He enjoyed working in a variety of jobs, from consulting SMEs in Mexico and Germany to representing the Saxon Prime Minister. At the London School of Economics (LSE) he served as president of the Corporate Social Responsibility Society, co-founded the PhD Steering Committee, and currently acts as PhD-representative for the Department of Management.
While managing the community development and the around 40 global ambassadors at Sandbox, Christian works on a PhD with focus on the dynamic interplay between social networks and (social) enterprise performance in emerging markets. Bringing together insights from research and practice, he is teaching entrepreneurship at the LSE.
Christian is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and the Special Advisor for social entrepreneurship and community matters at the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs (NACUE). He was selected by editor Tina Brown as one of the "300 world class influencers" to join the Daily Beast Innovator Summit, and regularly speaks on topics like community development, social networks, and (social) entrepreneurship.
A final year law student, Sarah is one of the Top 10 World Law Award recipients and is under a full scholarship for exceptional achievements. Starting off as a national television presenter at the age of 9, she progressed as part of the Young Achievers group to run a franchise at the age of 14, later working with corporate leaders and political figures. She was also Vice Chairman for the United Kingdom and Eire Council, where she established a new branch for Corporate Social Responsibility within the intellectual platform.
Her experiences include co-chairing the London Region for NACUE, undertaking consultancy work with Ernst & Young, acting as national delegate to the Rio Media Summit, unraveling the corporate finance and banking industry with Norton Rose LLP and recently delving into the corporate legal sphere (M&A) in Chicago, USA under an international vacation placement with Baker & Mckenzie.
Having spearheaded the development of the corporate network base in KCL Business Club since its inception in 2008, she now seeks to further engage the entrepreneurial spirit as President of the King's College London Business Club (KCLBC). KCLBC is now the largest and one of the strongest societies in King's College London with a diverse membership of 2750 members, and is also one of the Top 3 Enterprise Societies in the UK (Awarded by NCGE). She is further involved in stimulating enterprise nationally, as Advisory Board Member of the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs (NACUE), recently contributing to the hallmark ISBE Conference as a panel speaker.