Martha Lane Fox is a trailblazing technology entrepreneur who will be forever associated with the “dotcom boom” at the beginning of this millennium, when nimble-footed businesses became alive to the possibilities offered by the speed and adaptability of the Internet.
On this basis alone she would be a charismatic and stimulating business, technology and motivational speaker, but since those early years of instant success she has continued to have a profound influence on society. Chancellor of the Open University since 2014, an influential crossbench member of the House of Lords since 2013, a board member of Twitter and WeTransfer, on the board of the award-laden Donmar Warehouse theatre, a Trustee of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust: she is a noted philanthropist and public servant as well as businesswoman.
Born into one of the UK’s foremost landed gentry families – her father Robin Lane Fox is a classical scholar and leading gardening writer – Martha Lane Fox was educated at Oxford High, Westminster School and Magdalen College Oxford.
Her life changed forever when in 1998 she and a colleague named Brent Hoberman founded a firm called Last Minute, an online business offering late travel and holiday deals. Soon it was universally known as lastminute.com, with a customer base of half a million and growing, selling last minute gifts as well as holidays. It was truly an idea whose time had come. When the shares were floated on the Stock Exchange in March 2000, the company was valued at £571 million, and the travel industry had been transformed for good.
Though the firm survived the abrupt end of the dotcom boom, Martha Lane Fox herself had by then stepped away from it. But her own destiny was once again to be changed completely – this time by a severe motoring accident in 2004 that left her fighting for her life with 28 broken bones. The recovery was long and hard.
Since then she has been the UK Digital Champion between 2009 and 2013, helping create the Government digital service gov.uk. Now her life is dominated by public service and charity, where she is a powerful advocate for causes in the UK and beyond like human rights, women’s rights and social justice. She also chairs the Lords Covid Committee.
Martha Lane Fox is a powerful keynote speaker, motivational speaker, or business and technology speaker for your event.