Online Dragon - Julie Meyer
An American by birth and a European in spirit, Julie went to Paris in September 1988 and has been working with technology business leaders and entrepreneurs ever since. She moved to London in July 1998.
Julie is Founder and Chief Executive of Ariadne Capital in London, an investment and advisory company whose "Entrepreneurs Backing Entrepreneurs" model has led to a number of wins over the years. Ariadne's early clients included Espotting [now MIVA], Kashya [sold to EMC], and Skype [sold to Ebay]. They have 24 equity stakes in high-growth private companies including SliceThePie, Bview, Qire, NearGlobal, Momail, EGS, and Zopa.
Julie in the Den
Ariadne Capital is valued at £14 million by 50 top entrepreneurs and business leaders who invested in Julie, setting the company up in December 2000.
She launched the Ariadne Capital Entrepreneurs Fund in 2009 which is a £20 million seed fund investing in UK-based entrepreneurs who have the capability of being "game-changers".
Julie is well-known for founding First Tuesday, a leading network of entrepreneurs which connected the European start-up scene in 1998 to 2000. At its heyday, 500,000 entrepreneurs were meeting on the first Tuesday of the month as well as online.
It was sold for $50 million in cash in and shares in July 2000 - she pocketed millions.
From 1998 to 1999, Julie was part of the team at NewMedia Investors [now Spark Ventures] where she helped several companies, including lastminute.com, WGSN and Arc Cores, build their teams and raise significant venture capital financing and internationalise.
She is a World Economic Forum Global Leader for Tomorrow, an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, a regular speaker on Entrepreneurship and Leadership, and a columnist for CityAM.
Name: Julie Meyer
Age: 43, but I still feel 23
Family: I'm very close to my family and friends, but never discuss anything about them in public
Pets: Pastis and Amaretto, my cats who have travelled the world with me. One blind, both crazy.
Describe yourself: Introvert or rather a forced extrovert - "INTJ" in Myers Briggs speak; happiest when I'm with the people I love or in front of my laptop; obsessed with my freedom and independence; a believer that ideas shape the world, and that capital follows ideas - always has, always will; subversive; the child who kept in touch with all of her 64 cousins [pre-internet!] - I suppose it was inevitable that I would get a reputation for networking; a lover of Great Britain.
Estimated wealth: Too polite to mention numbers
Vehicles owned: Born to be driven. I don't like to drive. I had a bad car accident in France on my last day of business school at INSEAD where they had to cut me out of the car which hit a tree in the hills around Fontainebleau. It has made me seriously go "off" driving.
Property owned: London flat, California homes
Most outrageous purchase: My 40th birthday party
One thing I always spend the extra on: Gifts for my godchildren [7!], Friday night drinks for the team, New Year's Eve, Armani, Anne Fontaine white blouses, LK Bennett, spa days at Chewton Glen in the New Forest to make me feel human again.
Best job I've had: The one I have, isn't that great?
Worst job I've had: The 6 weeks in 1997 that I spent during the summer of business school [INSEAD] working at a management consultancy. I hated it.
The one thing I look for in employees: At Ariadne Capital, we hire people who expect success, who have experience building businesses, who are "win/win" people, who are good at communicating and marketing, who know how to get deals done, and who believe in hard work.
Favourite film: The Thomas Crown Affair, Matrix and Mrs Smith.
Favourite book: Lancelot by Walker Percy, The Shack by William P Young, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, The Four Quartets by TS Eliot.
Favourite restaurant: Amaya and Chor Bizarre in London, The Cliff House in San Francisco, Chez Rene in Paris.
Favourite holiday destination: Gassin and Ramatuelle, France, or Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds.
Favourite sport, team and player: Tennis, Roger Federer
Best investment to date: Can't play favourites - sorry
Things that interest me: Five things:
I'd never invest in: Anyone I don't trust, who's negative, who's a snob or a bully.
Best advice offered: From my father age 11 - "you can do anything you set your mind to. Invest in yourself relentlessly." From my mother all of my life - "be kind to people always." From my first boyfriend - "never don't do something because you don't have the money; if you are determined, the money will find you" [it has]. As you can tell, I've had some good advice.
People you admire: Howard Roark, John Galt, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Alastair Lukies, Christina Domecq, Andrea Cunningam, David Verey, Jeremy Coller, Sir Peter Vardy, Martin Luther, Oprah, Mo Ibrahim, my parents.
Your motto would be: Think Big, Start Small and Move Fast.
For impressing in an interview or pitch
If you want to impress in an interview/pitch, you have to feel really good, so get sleep the night before, wear something you feel great in, know your facts, rehearse a lot including expected questions in front of someone whose opinion you trust, and listen to the questions you get. Don't get defensive, and most importantly exude warmth, success and interest in your audience.
For running your own business
First of all, do anything else if you can as running your own business will be the most difficult thing you will ever do.
Secondly, forecast everything, and review the figures constantly.
Thirdly, sell sell sell. I've known a lot of very clever people in my life who don't like to sell, who think it's beneath them. If you don't like to sell, then don't run your own business.
Fourthly, get your personal life and finances in order before you take the plunge.
Fifthly, build a network of people to whom you can turn for sharing the breakthrough moments and the near death experiences.
For surviving the recession
In order to survive the recession, you must focus on your "unfair advantage" - that which you do better than others. The more you play to your strengths, the more you get known for your strengths, and the more people want to come to you - to buy what you sell - because they are dealing with a specialist in an area.
For getting your product to market
The trick in a successful market entry strategy is to control as much of the process as possible. I have seen too many companies crash and burn because they attempted to sell through banks, telcos, large retail chains before they had established market demand.
For winning investment
Always raise money when you don't need it. Easy to say, but in reality, an entrepreneur needs to be building relationships with investors in advance of winning investment.
For making millions
Do something that you love. If you are bright, brave, hard-working, persistent and doing something that you love, you will create opportunities, and fortune will smile upon you.
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Started pulling pints in her father's pub after school.
Language Garden, English language CD-rom.
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