Alex Depledge MBE

Alex Depledge MBE

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Founder Resi.co.uk, former CEO helping.com

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Synopsis

Leaving her job at Accenture for the uncertainty of a startup, Alex and her friend Jules started helping.com (formerly hassle.com). The pair got through the challenges, the mistakes, and the lack of investment to build a company that sold for over £20million. They’ve repeated the process with Resi, a disruptive architecture and planning business that is now a market-leader. Alex looks at the lessons she's learned, from startup mindsets to the future of the workplace, the pressures on leaders to balancing culture and growth (including a dramatic increase in Resi's business during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Biography

Alex Depledge is an entrepreneur and businesswoman. She is the co-founder and former CEO of helping.com (formerly Hassle.com). Since selling that company she started a Resi.co.uk. Resi has gone on to be one of the biggest residential architecture platforms in the world. Alex is part of the Governments taskforce on Women-Led High-Growth Enterprises, and Labour’s review of business startup funding.

After specialising in customer and channel execution at Accenture, Alex joined her friend Jules Coleman to start an online business. What became helping.com started life as a rather modest booking page allowing users to book all manner of services. Over time, and after various mistakes, few customers, little interest from investors, and a lot of effort, the site evolved into helping.com. They focused on domestic cleaning, worked tirelessly to gain new investors, built the brand, expanded, before selling the company for £24million. Jules and Alex then went on to establish Resi. Aimed at disrupting the architecture sector, Resi removes much of the cost and bureaucracy associated with small, domestic planning projects like extensions.

With a lot of lessons learned in a short time, Alex considers what her experiences can tell would-be entrepreneurs and big organisations seeking to adopt a startup mentality. She compares disruptors and established players in areas like transport and energy and examines the differing approaches to things like focus, speed, and complacency. Alex looks at the vital importance of a strong brand, how to scale up a business without losing the culture that made it special, and how to respond to customer needs. The Covid-19 pandemic saw Resi's business grow enormously as customers spent more time at home, a growth which holds a wealth of lessons in culture, dealing with enforced change, a leader's duty of care, and diversification.

Alex has become an active voice within the UK tech sector. TechCity Insider named her Entrepreneur of the Year, and she’s chaired the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec). She was also a founding member of the sharing economy trade body SEUK, contributed to the government’s independent review into the sharing economy, and worked with Department of Trade and Investment to identify the next top UK startups.

With her direct, refreshingly ‘non-techy’ approach, Alex looks at broader trends in the tech sector, how the UK and elsewhere measures up against the dominance of Silicon Valley, and the future for workplaces and workforces. She shares her experiences and opinions on women in technology and the disruptive power of the sharing and gig economies. She also considers why she believes working from home is a bad idea, how architecture has failed to understand what homes need to be healthy and happy, and how to adopt a startup mentality in a big company.

 

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Agent Recommendation

We’ve all had that feeling that we could be entrepreneurs, if we just had the time. Or the funds. Or the skills. Alex tells you that all you need is to be brave. With zero experience of coding, she and a friend built an app in her bedroom and turned it into a multi-million pound business. Alex’s talk is eye-opening, frank and at times very funny. It’s also truly inspiring, in an ‘anyone can do it’ way that’s more believable than any other entrepreneur I’ve heard. JLA Agent Georgia Sharp

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