People

We're a team of board-level, digital, brand and retail industry professionals who have built, grown and sold innovation businesses in the digital space. We also speak the language of big business when we need to.

Alex Meisl

Alex is a multi-lingual business creator and sales generator who has launched multiple businesses across Europe, Africa and South America.

He sold his first Anglo-French business in his early 20s, and after a 4-year period with 2 large blue chips, Alex helped build and then run a £20m turnover, 12-territory digital business, before its sale. He then co-founded Sponge, the UK's leading Mobile Marketing agency (twice voted Mobile Agency of the Year). As CEO and then Executive Chairman he developed the mobile strategy and solutions for brands such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Asda, Barclays and Auto Trader. The business was sold in 2006, highlighted by the FT as one of the best agency exits of the year.

Alex was also behind skins4things, a device personalisation business with clients including the BBC, Warner Bros, Moshi Monsters and Toshiba which was subsequently sold in 2014.

During this time Alex served 4 years as Chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association in the UK, and was elected to the board of the Institute of Promotional Marketing for 2 years.

Alex is a regular, engaging and accomplished speaker on the international conference circuit and has been regularly called a "leading mobile industry veteran" which he does not appreciate.

Andy Tait

Andy is a startup to scale-up entrepreneur turned startup investor now back to entrepreneur! His passion is to build high value growth for businesses by driving sales income and equity-based fundraising. He’s started new businesses in retail (HMV/EMI) and co-founded others in, video games, virtual reality, mobile technology and startup acceleration.

As a founding member of the pioneering virtual reality business, Superscape, he played a key commercial role in taking the business from start to a full IPO with a FTSE listing in London in just 5 years. Andy was directly involved in pitching and successfully raising over £60m of funding whilst serving on the main plc board. His operational role as head of business development saw him bounce around the planet spending significant time on the West Coast of the USA, Europe and across Asia. This delivered numerous global licensing deals with the likes of Microsoft, ARM, Intel and IBM.

Most recently he co-founded startup accelerator Collider which was listed as one of Europe’s Top Five Seed Accelerators. Andy led all startup and scale up interaction with corporations and agencies. Through this corporate clients such as Unilever, NBC Universal and Diageo have discovered game changing innovation some of which is deployed on a global basis.

Through his work Andy regularly leads bespoke, targeted events bringing the best, most established innovators together with curious and ambitious corporate leaders to share opportunities and tackle challenges.

Ben Cheston

Despite his lack of grey hair, Ben has spent 14 years helping brands partner with start-ups, scale-ups, tech businesses, agencies and consultancies to solve business challenges and grow.

Ben has also helped launch a multi-million pound mobile messaging & payments startup, created a content marketing business unit, grown mobile technology businesses & digital agencies, and supported a portfolio of startups within an accelerator focused on the marketing and advertising industry. Ben thrives on helping businesses come together to solve challenges that would be otherwise impossible to solve on their own.

Board Advisors

Peter Northing

Andy Harding (UK)

An eCommerce heavyweight for 20 years, Andy was head of eCommerce at Carphone Warehouse, then Director of Multichannel at Ryman. Andy then joined House of Fraser as Chief Customer Officer with responsibility for brand and marketing, digital proposition and multichannel sales. He subsequently joined Mothercare where he was responsible for the customer experience across both retail and e-commerce. Andy is now Chief Digital Officer at Arcadia.

Peter Northing

Jesper Wiegandt (Europe)

Jesper is one of the world’s leading experts in shopper and in-store marketing. He was with P&G for 22 years. He was educated at Copenhagen Business School and Northwestern University, Chicago. He led Customer & Channel Marketing globally for P&G, as well as the Shopper Marketing and "First Moment of Truth"-teams for P&G across all markets and retail customers in Western Europe.

Peter Northing

Peter Northing (UK)

Peter’s experience at Red Bull (where he was head of global partnerships) and other digital media businesses have placed him at the leading edge of brand, media and digital development. His understanding of this space and inspirational leadership is second to none.” Peter is an accomplished leader with more than 20 years of experience growing revenues across media, entertainment, and retail platforms.

Senior Team & Associates

Jeremy Copp

Jeremy Copp (UK)

Jeremy has over 30 years’ experience across technology industries in a variety of CxO leadership roles. He was CEO at a VC backed mobile marketing solutions company, licensing software platforms to media owners and service providers, before becoming VP at comScore, a public company delivering big data business analytics. Jeremy has extensive experience of software licensing, marketing of professional services and business strategy definition & execution.

Richard Hurring

Richard Hurring (USA)

Richard is a Brit now living in Seattle. A sales and marketing guy at heart, Richard has been in telecoms and technology for most of his working life.

Most recently Richard has been running Catchy a unique marketing agency focused on developers and technology companies. His work there included projects for Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung and several other global brands. He’s a regular speaker on the developer relations circuit and was a founding board member of the Developer Program Managers Association.

Life was Marvellous before Catchy for Richard. He was MD at London based mobile marketing agency Marvellous and, alongside the founders, oversaw the successful sale of the agency to Aegis.

Corporate time was served at Vodafone where Richard managed third party data product sales and launched several massively successful services including premium messaging and wap billing. (Yes this was pre iPhone)

A passionate believer in one plus one can equal more than two, he’s a connector and networker who’s taking the unique greyhairworks proposition to the west coast of the United States.

Ellen Bark

Ellen Bark (Nl)

Ellen is co-founder of Collider Amsterdam where she’s been supercharging start-ups and accelerating brands since 2016.  She raised investment for and launched three accelerator programs focused on marketing, commerce and adtech, helping start-ups from all over the world to grow faster.

Ellen has 20 years of international marketing and innovation experience, working from Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Budapest and Paris. In her previous role as Global Innovation Manager for HEINEKEN, Ellen was responsible for development and implementation of Open Innovation. She understands the needs of marketeers and what it takes to implement new tech in a corporate environment.

Guy Ben-dov

Guy Ben-dov (IL)

Guy is an interactive entertainment serial entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in interactive media. Guy works with innovative teams in Fortune 500 companies as well as startups in Israel and South California. Guy founded Sidekick Games, working with market leaders such as SquareEnix, Rovio, Disney and Oculus as well as Double Fusion, a leader in the in-game advertising space.

Kate Fleming

Kate Fleming (UK/US)

Kate is a business founder (of a New York-based marcomm agency working with tech startups and scale-ups), and she’s spent years working on the front lines with entrepreneurs and founding teams of innovative, disruptive, and visionary B2B and B2C tech companies.

She’s helped launch and scale US-based businesses in advertising, marketing, and retail tech, along with those specializing in eCommerce and mobile. She’s also partnered with UK and EU companies to guide them through US launch and expansion. As the head of marketing for a direct-to-consumer retail business, she built (and overhauled) its eCommerce platform, and its online-only marketing program, from the ground up.

Kate also consults with startups and scale-ups to guide them in better connecting with enterprise-level prospects and customers. She helps define real-world use cases and applications based on common customer pain points and end user needs, refine product and customer experience, and define and deliver relevant value for a non-technical buyer. Her work has led scale-up clients to long-term relationships with global brands including Wal-Mart, Victoria’s Secret, ESPN, Kellogg’s, Hertz, and Pepsi.

After more than 15 years in New York City, Kate now lives in London.

Patrick Fuller

Patrick Fuller (UK)

Patrick is a specialist in understanding the modern digital customer, with more than 20 years' experience of digital product creation as director of the automotive and consumer electronics divisions at Haymarket Media Group. He has deep experience of social platforms and led the acquisition of PistonHeads, which became UK’s biggest independent community for men and number two in the automotive classifieds market. When he’s not chasing the online buyer around the block, he can be found driving his electric car.

Paul Rushforth

Paul Rushforth (UK)

Paul has spent the last 20 years working in the Media and Broadcast industry. Most recently, he designed, built and executed NBC Universal’s innovation capability, Media Labs, enabling the global media giant to capitalise on and react to the ever changing technology landscape of the sector.

The jewel in the crown of this role was the creation and delivery of Digifest, a one day internal festival engaging with over 1500 employees to educate them on key technology themes and trends. Digifest has been adopted by NBCU offices around the world, and has become the highlight of the year for many employees.

In addition to this, he implemented successful startup outreach programmes, innovation challenges and built a network of Innovation Champions around the business.

Paul left NBCU at the end of 2019, and now consults for companies looking to harness the power of their employees to deliver significant change.

Sean King

Sean King (UK)

Sean has over 20 years’ experience in publishing and digital content. He set up Square One Group in 1994, which became one of the fastest growing independent content agencies in the UK before its acquisition in 2007 by Seven Publishing (backed by Guardian Media Group and Caledonia Investment Trust) with Sean running the combined business. Seven was in turn acquired by leading German content agency C3 (part of Hubert Burda Media) in 2016. Sean remained as CEO until 2018.

He is now starting a new career as an advisor to companies in the worlds of advertising/ media/ content/ technology/ blockchain. Sean is also an advisor and NED to Blue Star Capital an AIM-listed investment company focused on new technologies.

 

Martin Talks

Martin Talks (UK)

Martin is an experienced strategic leader, entrepreneur and adviser. He floated a finance company on the London Stock Exchange in 2000 and also founded and sold a digital marketing business in 2011. He has been Global Digital Lead for the FCB Group of marketing agencies and continues to advise companies around the world on how to thrive in a world of fast change including BDO, Santander and Air New Zealand. He is a Digital Trends expert for Google. He regularly appears on TV, speaks at events, delivers workshops and writes articles and reports on matters related to innovation, technology and future thinking.

Rupert Staines

James Briscoe (UK)

James spent almost 20 years at some of the best and biggest media agencies in Europe, holding senior roles in London, New York, and Hamburg. After two successful agency exits (Unique Digital and Syzygy), he now spends his time working with some of the most dynamic TMT (Technology, Media and Telecom) businesses in the UK.  Working with them across all business operations including fundraising, sales, marketing, client success, strategy and team leadership. In addition, he also works with brands and agencies helping them in building and improving their media, digital and marketing operations.

Rupert Staines

Rupert Staines (UK)

With 25 years of international business experience, Rupert has successfully developed and driven business strategies for multiple ad-tech companies. As MD Europe for RadiumOne, Rupert was responsible for creating and scaling the European online media operations for Specific Media (now VIANT), and Conversant Media. He has a passion for startup culture and defines his mission as being “to help articulate and demystify digital advertising as information and consumer technologies collide”. Rupert holds a BA in German Language and Management Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Jodie Hopperton

Jodie Hopperton (USA)

A passionate media executive, Jodie Hopperton simplifies complex business environments and develops revenue streams for media and technology companies. Over the last two years in L.A., she has developed a particular passion for AR & VR.

Leveraging her knowledge and skills from running divisions of large news organisations such as the New York Times & Trinity Mirror, and with start-ups in London & California over the last 3 years.

Jodie Hopperton

David Alexander (UK)

Having worked in the marketing, design and advertising world for over 20 years, and benefiting from having been at the sales coal-face for much of that time, I bring a wealth of hard-won knowledge to what I say about sales and the sales process. Selling everything from internal communications cascades, yacht and car design to digital communications and events,  I have an innate understanding of how to communicate a creative idea so it inspires clients with what is possible, and pushes boundaries with thought-leading ideas and technologies.

Pauline Manos

Pauline Manos  (Be)

Walking our talk with her grey hair, Pauline consults with public and privately-held companies, start-ups and individuals.  She works on business & brand strategy, marketing capability, and personal development challenges, developing tailored solutions to help clients achieve their maximum growth potential.  Pauline’s knack for operating in complex multi-cultural organisations and bringing together divergent interests and teams comes from her European-American background and a long career at P&G, where she worked on local, regional & global brand management, customer & shopper marketing, and training & organisation design.

Hilde Koenen

Hilde Koenen  (Be)

Hilde specialises in coaching, training, consulting & facilitation on all aspects of shopper communications.
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She completed 38 year career at P&G in R&D, Consumer Research and Brand Shopper Communication where she acquired deep expertise designing effective shopper communication as well as defining and implementing shopper plans. Hilde directed and trained the marketing teams in Europe on PoS activity where simplifying and improving work processes enabling consistent, perfect execution is key.
Hilde further built her shopper knowledge by leading P&G’s central team creating the content needed to sell its brands on line.

Barn Cleave

Barn Cleave (UK)

12 years of mobile experience inc: advertising, digital content & operators. Working with firms to find new ways for emerging technologies to streamline and add value to businesses, with the focus of the business driving the technology rather than the other way round.

Director of a development studio that creates 1st and 3rd party content for clients such as Time Warner though off-shore capabilities in Costa Rica. Previous positions include Global Head of Display Advertising for Vodafone managing 24 countries, Orange, EE and Smartpipe - a real-time big data broker platform.

Phil Gault

Phil Gault  (UK)

Having worked in the communications industry for 30 years, Phil brings deep experience in brand, mobile and shopper marketing.

After managing agencies in Indonesia, Australia and the UK, he moved into Strategy and Innovation roles. As Director of Strategy at Sponge, the UK’s leading Mobile agency, he developed their direct-to-brand approach and led successful pitches for adidas, Bacardi and Dyson. He filled the same position at M&C Saatchi Shop, helping leading brands implement new approaches to shopper marketing. Highlights included launching a chatbot for Unilever and augmented reality solutions for Mondelez. Phil specialises in creating best practice playbooks, white papers and other thought leadership pieces writing extensively on Customer Experience, the Shopper Journey, Loyalty and Mobile Commerce.

Douglas McDonald

Douglas McDonald (UK)

Douglas is a New Business and Client Management specialist who focuses on building infrastructure and hiring teams. He's built teams in media sales, supplier partnerships in retail, and client services for agencies. He's operated both in the UK and run large teams across 4 continents. He has spent 20 years in digital and 16 years in Mobile, including Client Services Director at Sponge, Business Development Director at Velti/mGage, Director of Mobile at major agency group Creston plc & Director of International Advertising at MicroWarehouse Inc. Douglas now kick-starts & grows the sales for companies across all digital disciplines.

Gordon Glenister

Gordon Glenister (UK)

Gordon Glenister joins us from the membership community.  He has previously been the director general of the British Promotional Merchandise Association and is now launching a new division for influencers in the Branded Content Marketing Association and is also the business development director for the Institute of Export and International Trade.  Gordon is a passionate advocate of membership and subscription models and helps organisations engage better with members and communities. Gordon has previously held senior roles in the drinks industry and has ran his own merchandise and rewards business.

Karina Tietje

Karina Tietje (Germany)

Karina has over 25 years’ experience in digital’ having built up the digital business for Axel Springer in the 90s, remaining #1 until a sale to Stroer Group in 2016. Represented Axel Springer as shareholder in aol.de, sport.de, business tv.

Since 2000 she has been an advisor to leading companies on the development and implementation of new, cross-media business fields and brands, performs marketing services and establishes contact with cooperation partners such as Internet portals, television channels, publishing houses and advertising agencies, etc. Clients include King.com, buyvip.com, match.com, Deutsche Telekom, RTLinteractive, Pro7SAT1, Levelupmedia, Spilgames and the German Football league.