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. Brent was CEO since the inception of the company. 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 through 2005, until April 2006 when he handed over the CEO position to lastminute.com. Brent’s entrepreneurial vision ensured the lastminute.com customer experience was continually enhanced by the latest innovations in technology.he position of Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of
Brent most recently founded another VC-backed internet startup, mydeco, a which was founded in February 2007 - the online furniture site that intends to revolutionise the way we shop and design for our homes, encouraging consumers to spend, socialise and play house all at the same time.
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 he took on the role of Non-Executive Chairman of wayn.com – a travel and leisure social network with over 10 million members, in December 2009, he stepped down from the board of wayn.com. 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
In July 2009, Brent 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, now 40, was born in South Africa, educated at Eton and holds a MA in French and German literature from Oxford. He lives in central London with his wife, Genevieve, two daughters and son.
In July 2009, brent cofounded PROfounders Capital with Michael Birch, Peter Dubens, Jonnie Goodwin, Rogan Angelini-Hurll and Sean Seton-Rogers. It invests in early stage internet investors – founders helping founders.
mydeco – Who we are
mydeco is now 35 people strong, and we live in Notting Hill, London. We’ve got a passionate and talented founding team on board, with experience ranging from Community-building and 3D Design to Interior Designers and Architects. Here are a few more people you might like to meet:
David Kelly, Co-Founder
David was previously Vice President of European Business Operations at eBay Inc, where he lead a cross-functional team of over 2,000 people. Prior to joining eBay, David was Chief Operating Officer at lastminute.com where he worked closely with Brent and Martha, and Operations Director at Amazon.co.uk. David was the first CEO of mydeco.com and was succeeded in December 2009 by
Nicole Vanderbilt, CEO
Prior to joining mydeco.com, Nicole was VP, International for Bebo where she ran international product, business development and marketing, as well as the viral invite process globally. Before Bebo, Nicole was at Google as Head of Industry Marketing for EMEA and, later, Head of Marketing for India. Nicole is thrilled to join the wild world of interiors and believes that dimmer switches are a great investment and that magnolia paint is a cop out.
Paul Chudleigh, Chief Technology Officer
Paul is responsible for the whizzy technology that makes mydeco special. Paul held a variety of technical positions at lastminute.com, including Head of Software Development and Head of Technical Architecture. Paul never thought his Computer Science degree would be applied to furniture and accessories.
Investors in mydeco
We’re very proud to have attracted a visionary group of investors, led by Tom Teichman of SPARK Ventures. In addition to Teichman, other investors include Lord Rothschild family interests, Marc Worth, founder of Worth Global Style Network, Edward Atkin, founder of Canon Avent and Yoo Design Ltd, the property development company led by John Hitchcox and Philippe Starck.
In March 2010, mydeco and Profounders joined Marc Simoncini, of Meetic fame and John Hunt to found made.com :
‘We feel that discerning customers get a raw deal at the hands of the big high street furniture retailers and the expensive designer brands.
On the high street today, if you want beautiful designer furniture, you pay through the nose. Not any more
We’re making a stand. We’re taking on the furniture giants to offer you great furniture design at affordable prices. Our ambition is to bring original design to as many people as possible by revolutionising how furniture is sold and how you buy it.
By stripping out the middlemen and connecting you with the furniture makers directly we are cutting the cost to you by 50 – 80%.’
7 comments September 2nd, 2009