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Brent Shawzin Hoberman CBE (born 25 November 1968) is a British entrepreneur. Together with Martha Lane Fox, he founded in 1998, an online travel and gift business. As CEO, Hoberman successively floated and later sold Ltd to Sabre who purchased the company's equity and bond debt for £577 million (including additional gross debt of approximately £79 million and estimated cash at bank in hand of approximately £72 million). In 2006, Hoberman handed over the CEO position to Ian McCaig, although he remained as chairman and chief strategic officer until 2007.

Brent Hoberman
Brent Hoberman 1.jpg
Brent Shawzin Hoberman

(1968-11-25) 25 November 1968 (age 50)
EducationDragon School
Alma materNew College, Oxford
Known forCo-founder,


Current business activitiesEdit

Hoberman remained CEO of throughout 2005, until April 2006 when he handed over the CEO position to Ian McCaig and took the position of chairman and chief strategy officer. He stepped down as chief strategy officer and chairman in January 2007.[1]

Hoberman founded VC-backed internet startup,, an online furniture and interior design site providing 3D technology for consumers to design their own rooms online in 2007 and the website launched in February 2008.[2]

In 2007, Hoberman took on the role of non-executive chairman of – a travel and leisure social network. In December 2009, he stepped down from the board of

In July 2009, Hoberman co-founded PROfounders Capital[3] with Michael Birch, Peter Dubens, Jonnie Goodwin, Rogan Angelini-Hurll and Sean Seton-Rogers. The fund invests in early stage internet investors.

Hoberman is the co-founder and was founding chairman of, an online furniture retailer subject to the joint venture between and founder Ning Li.[4] On 29 December 2015 it was reported that Hoberman was leaving PROFounders Capital.[5]

Hoberman is also a co-founder of Founders Forum,[6] which is a private network for digital and technology entrepreneurs. Founders Forum has been hosting invite-only events in London since 2006 and has since 2011 expanded to events in other countries such as the US, Brazil, India, Turkey and China. Speakers at the events have included prominent figures from the technology sector like Eric Schmidt, Reid Hoffman and Arianna Huffington. The events are by invitation only.

In 2013, Hoberman launched Founders Intelligence, a specialist digital consultancy that advises corporates and investors on digital innovation and strategy and Founders Forum for Good, the precursor to Founders Pledge, the charitable arm of Founders Forum through which founders can commit a percentage of their future exit proceeds to social causes.[7]

In 2014, Hoberman co-founded Founders Keepers, an executive search firm within the digital and technology space[8] and Smartup, a peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and micro-learning platform.[9]

In 2015, Hoberman launched corporate-backed tech startup accelerator and studio with Henry Lane Fox in London.[10] Corporate investors in Founders Factory include The Guardian[11], L’Oreal, easyJet, CSC Group, Holtzbrinck Macmillan and Aviva[12], and Marks & Spencer[13]. In 2018 Founders Factory launched in Africa[14]

In 2015, Hoberman also launched Grip, an event networking solution.[7]

In 2016, Hoberman launched Founders of the Future which provides programmes, events and tools for aspiring entrepreneurs and accelerateHER which is a network to support women working in technology.[15]

In 2017, Hoberman was appointed the Chair of the advisory board for the Oxford Foundry.[16]

In 2018, Hoberman launched firstminute capital, a $100m pan-European seed fund with Atomico as its cornerstone investor.[17]

Hoberman was a non-executive director of TalkTalk, Shazam Entertainment, The Guardian News & Media [18]and The Economist.[19] Hoberman currently sits on the advisory board for LetterOne Technology[20] and the UK Government Digital Advisory Board.[21]

He is also an angel investor in several internet companies, including Viagogo, erepublik,, 1aim, Aire Labs, Busuu, CognitionX, Conduit Club, Creativelive, Easycar, James Perse, Kenshoo, Lucky Voice, Maven, Mykindacrowd, Onfido, DataTiger, Osper, Owkin, Previse, Rankabove, Recurrence, Sideways6, Snips, Tamoco, Loveholidays, Truecaller, Wahanda, and

Early life and educationEdit

Hoberman was born on 25 November 1968. He was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford, then Eton College and subsequently at New College, Oxford. He is married with two daughters and one son.

Inspiration and motivationEdit

Hoberman says his mentors have been his father and South African grandfather Leonard Shawzin, who built an empire of over 650 clothes shops from a single store. He credits his entrepreneurial drive to the business successes of his father and grandfather, and says the catalyst for him starting his own business was being fired from his first job in investment banking for being "a prima donna".[22]

Hoberman has stated that he believes what makes a business successful is passion; in an interview with BBC 'The Bottom Line',[23] he states his belief that the most successful small businesses are those where the founders remain passionate about their business, and are themselves part of their target market. He believes that by building a business to offer a solution to a problem you have yourself – as he did with and – founders stand a greater chance of remaining passionate and being successful.

Public and political activitiesEdit

In 2009, Hoberman was selected as one of the World Economic Forum's Global Young Leaders for the UK and in July 2009, Hoberman joined The Business Sectors Council for Britain under Prime Minister Gordon Brown.[24]

Hoberman was a member of the New Enterprise Council, a group of entrepreneurs who advise the Conservative Party (UK) on policies related to the needs of business.[25]

Hoberman was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to entrepreneurship.[26][27]

In 2016, Hoberman was appointed the Chair of The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying for The Duke of Cambridge.[28]

In 2018, Hoberman was appointed Co-Chair of Prime Minister Theresa May's Business Sector Council for Small Business, Scale ups and Entrepreneurs.[29]

Personal lifeEdit

Hoberman is Jewish.[30]


  1. ^ Derrick, Stuart. " Brent Hoberman – Starting a business advice and business ideas". Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  2. ^ Teather, David (28 March 2008). "His next trick – designing the ultimate home page". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Team - PROfounders Capital". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  4. ^ " gets £2.5m to change furniture industry". Real Business. 23 March 2010. Archived from the original on 28 August 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Brent Hoberman leaves PROfounders Capital". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Founders Forum". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  7. ^ a b Volpicelli, Gian (12 June 2017). "Brent Hoberman left and formed an empire. This is how he did it". Retrieved 4 April 2019 – via
  8. ^ Loizou, Kiki (14 September 2014). "I was proud to be voted one of the most difficult CEOs to work with". Retrieved 4 April 2019 – via
  9. ^ Moules, Jonathan (14 December 2014). "On the path of digital disruption". Financial Times. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  10. ^ Burn-Callander, Rebecca (30 May 2016). "Brent Hoberman reveals plan to create 200 British start-ups". Retrieved 4 April 2019 – via
  11. ^ Sweney, Mark (25 January 2016). "Guardian invests in Brent Hoberman's tech startup incubator". Retrieved 4 April 2019 – via
  12. ^ 2
  13. ^ "Founders Factory signs Marks & Spencer as exclusive UK retail investor". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Founders Factory expands its corporate-backed accelerator to Africa". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  15. ^ "At Founders Forum — Policy, pitches and Prince William". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Pan-European seed fund firstminute hits a final fund close of $100M". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  18. ^ Stephen Brook, press correspondent (24 January 2007). "Brent Hoberman joins Guardian Media Group board | Economy". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Brent Hoberman leaves PROfounders Capital". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  20. ^ "LastMinute Founder Brent Hoberman announces he's leaving PROfounders Capital". 2 January 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  21. ^ "Introducing the Digital Advisory Board - Government Digital Service". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  22. ^ Fildes, Nic. "The very latest in furnishing for couch potatoes", "The Times", London, 11 April 2011.
  23. ^ "My Bottom Line: Brent Hoberman". BBC. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  24. ^ "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] Business Council for Britain – Members – BIS". Government of the United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  25. ^ . Archived from the original on 28 May 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ "No. 61092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2014. p. N9.
  27. ^ "2015 New Year Honours List" (PDF). Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  28. ^
  29. ^ "PM sets up business councils for post-Brexit advice". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  30. ^