Martha and co-founder Brent Hoberman were quick to see the opportunity of online retail and the internet’s potential to match supplier with customer. Lastminute went on to become a huge success, was one of the few businesses to survive the dot-com bubble, and remains a leading brand today. As well as working with government, she has since built the Lucky Voice chain, served as a board member of Channel 4 and Marks & Spencer, and campaigned for prison reform.
Martha Lane-Fox co-founded and led lastminute.com, the revolutionary online travel shopping site. Having established the brand, seen it become dominant in its sector, and weathered the dot-com bubble today she serves as a non-executive Director of Twitter, and is the co-founder and executive chair of Doteveryone, which aims to provide an ethical and social perspective on the internet.
In lastminute’s early days, Martha helped define the business as one of the leading online brands. She led the innovative launch strategy and raised the company’s public profile, making an immediate impact on the internet and e-commerce arena. She met co-founder Brent Hoberman at Spectrum Strategy Consultants, a specialist media and telecoms consultancy.
Realising the potential for a site like lastminute.com, Martha and Brent raised startup capital, attracting investors and forging business relationships. Bain & Company and Management Today voted it the top website out of more than 300 startups in the search for the most exciting entrepreneurial ventures in cyberspace.
Martha was appointed the UK’s Digital Champion by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, with a remit to bring every UK citizen online and help them develop vital digital skills. She also helped to transform the government’s online presence through the introduction of the gov.uk portals, which for the first time prioritised the user’s experience and made governmental information publicly available.
An active crossbench peer, Martha is also a patron of Reprieve and founded her own organisation, Antigone, to provide grants to charities in the UK. She is Chancellor of the Open University, and chair and co-founder of LuckyVoice, a national chain of up-market, private karaoke clubs. She still serves on the board of lastminute.com as well as of Marks & Spencer and Channel 4.
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