As part of our 21st anniversary celebrations, we recently invited three fabulous speakers, Mamta Patel, Matt Barker and Giles Palmer, to share their experiences with our members.
Their combined years of experience running some of the biggest and most impactful businesses in the UK made for enthralling listening, and we’re sharing some of their wisdom with you in this blog post.
Giles Palmer founded Runtime Collective Ltd. in 1999 and became an early MDHUB member, joining workgroups in 2002. From discussions with his peer group, Giles quickly realised that Runtime in its then form was not going to deliver on his ambition. This led to relaunching the business as Branchwatch in 2007, focussing on social media and advertising tracking. In the years of business that followed, Giles successfully built the business to over 500 staff and $100 million dollars in revenue. When he sold the business to Cision in 2021 and saw the money come into his bank account, he didn’t feel as excited as he thought he would.
After years of building the business, to finally hand it over left him with nothing to do, and no need to do more, a feeling many business leavers understand. His speech concluded by suggesting that however hard you work, there is not going to be a clear final point. He called on our members to try their best to enjoy the journey of business leadership, and not just rush towards exit or sale.
For Mamta Patel, following her passions was never straightforward. Familial pressure meant that she had to put dreams of studying English on hold, instead studying Chemistry at Huddersfield.
While studying, Mamta realised she couldn’t see her future in a lab. Instead, she followed her passion for writing and helped to launch ENDS, a publication that has now become Europe’s leading source on eco-policy, politics and legislation. This allowed her to combine her learned knowledge in chemistry with her natural flare for writing.
After the sale of ENDS, Mamta co-founded Chemical Watch, a globally referenced intelligence service for professionals looking to champion product safety and regulatory compliance in their organisations. Between 2014 and 2019 Fi and Phil had the pleasure of working with the Leadership team on their Strategic focus and direction. This fantastic business was incredibly successful, leading to a sale in 2020 when the business was at 75 employees.
With two hugely successful enterprises under her belt, now came the time for real change. With Covid looming, Mamta and her husband made the decision to move up to Scotland, to spend time in nature and away from the relentlessness of city life.
Taking this decision was tricky, but it has served Mamta and her husband well. While able to enjoy the countryside, Mamta now uses her time working for CHEM Trust, is
Chair of the Board of Directors at Ullapool Community Trust and is a Board Trustee at Foundation Scotland.
Our final speaker of the evening, Matt Barker, came at business from a different route.
Fascinated by photography but frustrated by the price of the equipment, Matt founded MPB, looking to sell reliable, reasonably priced and refurbished photography kit.
From a small office in Brighton, Matt built up MPB to the multinational organisation it is today. It was in this small office that Matt met Phil Green, Director of MDHUB. Phil and MDHUB’s support and advice helped Matt make decisions to build the business, propelling it towards higher and higher goals.
Matt still works at MPB as CEO, a role that is as complex as it is rewarding. Along the way, Matt has learned the art of pitching to and handling investors, achieving multiple rounds of investment both here and in the US. This was initially an uncomfortable experience, but as Matt transitioned the business from relying on his stretched personal borrowing to professional funds, he has become at ease with and in control of the process. Learning to recruit remotely, including hiring an entire team to get the German wing of the company of the ground, had its challenges, but with an incredible team, MPB are set to continue growing into the future.
MDHUB have been supporting business leaders for 21 years. If you’re looking for support to help your business thrive, get in touch.