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Archive for the 'Enterprise' Category

UCL Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture: The Lovefilm Story

newseditor24 January 2012

The 2012 Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture Series kicked off on 12 January with Simon Calver, CEO of Lovefilm.

UCL Classics student Carolina Mostert summarises the talk below.

Simon Calver has an interesting story and CV for an entrepreneur. Since he was a child, the atmosphere around him was ‘entrepreneurial’, as his family owned a supermarket chain.

At university, he studied Computer Science and worked as a consultant for Deloitte. During his employment at Pepsi, he launched Pepsi Max and was Head of Sales in New York. Later on, he worked for Dell and for Riverdeep.

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UCL Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture 2011/12: Nicolas Hantzsch, Groupon UK & Ireland

newseditor19 December 2011

The eighth lecture of this series took place on 8 December. UCL Classics student Carolina Mostert summarises the talk below.

Nicolas Hantzsch’s talk did not feel like a lecture. It sounded more like an adventure story, something very unique and unusual. Nicolas completed a degree in informatics in Germany, moved on to financial studies and joined Pacific Stock Exchange. He then worked for a Dutch investment bank, an experience which left him with mixed feelings. After joining My City Deal, which can be described as a “Groupon copy”, he quit and enrolled in a Master’s degree at UCL. Fed up with academia, in a very ‘Bill Gates’ fashion, he dropped out of the course: he was going to be an entrepreneur. Then, the adventure with Groupon began.

“It’s been a roller coaster”, are Nicolas’s words to describe his experience. When he started at Groupon, he started at the bottom: what’s important at the beginning, he explains, is to learn the value chain at the heart of Groupon. “We are like a newspaper”: on a daily basis, Groupon has to offer new deals. Some of those will make the headlines, the bigger ones, and the other ones – although they’re not as flashy – must still appeal to people. Every Groupon deal, however, has an aim: to offer its customers the opportunity, and excuse, to always try something new.

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UCL Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture 2011/12: Dale Murray, Angel Investor

newseditor12 December 2011

UCL Classics student Carolina Mostert summarises the talk below.

Dale Murray’s story is impressive. It begins with a girl leaving home at the age of 16 and starting on an internship program at Price Waterhouse, a top accountancy firm. “To be an accountant, to have a job, a suit and a briefcase” was what she wanted as a young teenager and each of these she got.

After six years, in her early twenties, and with a professional qualification in her hands, Dale moved into commerce. She joined what was to be New Zealand’s best start-up, Vodafone New Zealand, taking it to full commercial launch in 1993. Dale was part of the start-up management team: it was this experience that taught her how businesses are built.

She came to the UK knowing she “wanted to be an entrepreneur”. She enrolled in an MBA course at London Business School, dreaming about the business she would have launched at the end of her course. Clear in her mind was that there was going to be a business, but “what that business would be, I had no idea”.

The stroke of luck came in the late 1990s, when Dale’s boyfriend – now husband – joined the Orange team. In these very years, there was a real ‘boom’ of pre-paid phones, a market that attracted about 10 million customers. It was then that Dale spotted the problem that led her to success.

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UCL Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture 2011/12: Romain Eude, CTO, my-wardrobe.com

23 November 2011

The sixth lecture of this series took place on 17 November. UCL Classics Student Carolina Mostert summarises the talk below.

This week’s guest lecture was held by Romain Eude, CTO of my-wardrobe.com. Romain lived for many years in Lille, France, where he completed a Master’s degree with thesis in IA from ICAM. Later on, his studies led him to move abroad to Pennsylvania for a Marketing course at Temple University.

Right at the start, we learnt two important things about Romain: firstly, that he “is obsessed with software”, and secondly that “creating something from nothing” is his greatest love. The lecture began with a very short video, an excerpt from Shrek, the children’s movie about the giant green ogre.

Referring to this brief video, Romain worded the most important quote of his lecture: just like Shrek the ogre, “entrepreneurs are like onions”. In fact, Romain believes there are common themes to all entrepreneurs that keep coming up throughout their work whatever they do. He calls these common themes the “layers” of entrepreneurs.

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