Our November meeting was hosted by Arbuthnot Latham & Co.
Guest SpeakerAndrew Black - co-founder and Director of BetfairIn August 1999, Andrew, together with Ed Wray, established Betfair, one of the few undoubted success stories to arise from the internet bubble. It is now the largest UK online betting company (>3,000,000 bets/day), a position created by their unique bookmaking model (Andrews brainchild) that allows punters to bet directly with each other rather than with a "bookie" acting as an intermediary, making them less than popular with traditional bookmakers.
Andrew and Ed jointly won the Ernst and Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2002, in 2003 the company was awarded a Queen's Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category and in 2004 was designated Company of the Year at the Confederation of British Industry Growing Business Awards.
Andrew has been asked to take us through the lessons he learnt whilst setting up the company, especially in terms of the pros and cons of venture capital funding.
Business PitchesMichael Wolff - Founder & CEO, ki-workMichael provided an update on ki-work. He originally presented to us in June 2004 and now has some funding and active projects.
For outsource service providers (process co-ordinators), who need access to a largely untapped and highly skilled flexible workforce and for self employed home workers (ki workers), who need access to multiple sources of work, ki work is a disruptive organisational, technical and governance infrastructure that enables a cost-competitive, flexible and scalable outsourcing solution. Otherwise described as home-shoring.
In contrast to conventional call centres and admin back offices, whether inshore or offshore, ki work combines the cost-effectiveness of offshoring, with improved customer relationships. At the same time it offers valuable work opportunities to a large underemployed workforce with access to broadband and the internet.
Peter Jarrett - Active LabelActive Label is applying Neomedia's PaperClick Technology to food and nutrition, this will enhance consumer information and improve food safety. PaperClick's technology allows a bar code to be read by a mobile phone's camera, and resolved into a URL to locate interactive data through the Internet.
Active Label's core applications coming from food product bar codes include:
1. consumer access to extensive food product information
2. individual and family dietary monitor with advice
3. shopping list generator and nutritional analysis
4. dietary monitor for medical applications including childhood obesity with person specific advice and exercise calculator
5. allergen screening and risk analysis, providing person specific advice.
6. ingredient and food traceability for both internal and external processes
These functions will provide the consumer with personal information to improve their lifestyle and assist in dietary management, while the food industry has a remote and easy to operate information system from farm to fork.
Joan Bird - Meggitt BirdMeggitt Bird was set up this year to create a network and business community with the aim of improving the health of organisations - on all levels.
Their aim at this meeting is to test a proposal for sponsorship for a business health campaign and package which will build on the pioneering work of companies like BT, which recently started its own in-house health and fitness programme.
Doctors, scientists and government ministers are repeatedly warning of impending doom as a result of an upcoming avian flu pandemic - but still there's hardly any talk of proactive health care.
Would you wait for a machine in your business to break down before you serviced it? Why treat people differently? We believe that by taking a proactive and positive stance over staff health, employees will be less likely to succumb to disease - any disease. Our mission is to raise awareness and guide companies towards effective health strategies.