Brent Hoberman the Internet Entrepreneur who shot to fame as one of the bright young faces of the ‘dot-com’ boom, when he co-founded lastminute.com is also founder of Mydeco. Interesting and insightful keynote speaker in the areas of Customer Service & CRM, Retailing, IT & Online Business.
As a 29 year old he 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 Ian McCaig and took the position of 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 most recently founded another VC-backed internet startup, mydeco, which launched in February 2007 – the online interiors 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. He is also an angel investor in several internet companies including Viagogo, Wayn.com and moveme.com.
Brent believes his entrepreneurial streak comes from his grandfather who built a single clothes shop into a chain of 650 in South Africa and his passion for technology was inherited from his father who always said he should be involved in a start up. He also loves his gadgets. When asked what three things he can’t live without he listed his blackberry; mobile phone and of course lastminute.com – he is still as obsessively passionate about the business as ever – he has sales figures emailed to him every 15minutes and even when holidaying he’ll be combing through internet magazines on the beach or attached to his blackberry.
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 new born baby son.
His initial vision remains unchanged and is visible in all of his business ventures – ‘to delight customers with great value, inspiration and solutions when they are going away, going out or staying in.’
As a speaker he is eloquent, passionate about business and being an entrepreneur, and he speaks from experience on topics such as “What Recession? The impact of the credit crunch on the interactive landscape: Struggling for survival or a time to flourish?”.