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Brent Hoberman: co-founder of lastminute.com, serial entrepreneur and a speaker on digital ventures.
Brent Hoberman co-founded lastminute.com in April 1998, with Martha Lane Fox, in the living room of his London flat. Brent was 29 and Martha was just 25.
Brent was CEO from the inception of the company. lastminute.com was a pioneer in the market offering consumers airline tickets, car hire, hotel rooms, package holidays, entertainment tickets, restaurant reservations, home delivery, speciality services, gifts and auctions.
lastminute.com remains one of Europe’s leading e-commerce companies and is one of the only start-up brands in Europe to regularly feature in the top 10 e-commerce 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 to 2004. Ten years on the company had become the number one travel website in Europe and was acquired by Travelocity Europe (a division of Sabre Holidings Corporation) for $1.1 billion in 2005. It is estimated that gross bookings in 2005 were over $2.1 billion.
Brent’s leading industry role was recognised by several organisations including: Time Magazine’s 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 handed the position over to Ian McCaig and became Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of lastminute.com. Brent’s entrepreneurial vision ensured the lastminute.com customer experience was continually enhanced by the latest innovations in technology.
Brent founded another VC-backed internet start-up, mydeco, which launched in February 2007. The online interiors site 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.
In 2007 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, Wayn.com and moveme.com.
Hoberman is a co-founder of the Founders Forum network for digital and technology entrepreneurs. Founders Forum has been hosting events in London since 2006 and has expanded to events in other countries around the world.
In 2013, he launched Founders Intelligence, a digital consultancy that advises corporates and investors on digital innovation and strategy and Founders Forum for Good, the precursor to Founders Pledge, the charitable arm of Founders Forum. A year later he co-founded Founders Keepers, an executive search firm for digital talent and Smartup, a P2P micro-learning platform. In 2016, Brent Hoberman launched Founders of the Future which provides programmes, events and tools for aspiring entrepreneurs, and accelerateHER, a network to support women in STEM.
In 2018 Hoberman together with Spencer Crawley launched firstminute capital, a one hundred million dollar pan-European seed fund for digital ideas. Most recently, in 2020, Hoberman launched firstminute capital’s second fund, a two hundred million dollar global seed fund backed by more than seventy unicorn founders.
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