In focus: Julie Meyer… Extraordinary Entrepreneur

Now, how do we describe Julie Meyer?  Women are renowned for wearing many hats, but Julie takes this to a whole new level!  Julie has founded or is involved in a whole slew of high profile ventures: currently she is the founder and CEO of Ariadne Capital, the investment and advisory firm focused on digital media and entertainment; the founder of Entrepreneur Country, she is a dragon on BBC’s Online Dragons Den (on TV last night where she made an investment in Warren Cole) and weekly columnist in London’s City A.M!

This American born entrepreneur extraordinaire was part of the brains behind First Tuesday, the hugely successful online community network for entrepreneurs founded during the dotcom heyday. Created in 1998, First Tuesday was a network of entrepreneurs which many credit with igniting the internet generation in the UK who met on the first Tuesday of the month to network and discuss building internet start-ups. After experiencing great success, the company was sold for $50m in 2000 and Julie used some of her share to set up Ariadne Capital. She has since advised leading companies such as Skype, British Telecom, Carphone Warehouse, EMAP, Morse and Sage, and a portfolio of start-ups including LogicServe, SpinVox and Zopa.

Yet for all of her achievements, Julie doesn’t see herself as ambitious; she loves what she does and therefore puts everything she has into it.  Julie’s whole approach to business is one of a game changer; shifting concepts, dreaming big, expecting success, breaking boundaries and exploring the realms of perceived impossibilities with the courage and dogged determination her country men are renowned for.

Julie attributes her incredible drive and self belief to her father, who is a doctor with a strong entrepreneurial streak; she credits him with inspiring most of her business journey to date.  Julie says: “The best advice I ever got from my father was to invest in myself relentlessly. He told me that I could do anything I set my mind to. I would test that as a child by announcing crazy things I wanted to do, like “I want to be an astronaut or become the President of the United States”, and he never laughed.””

Julie is one of the greatest champions in the UK of the entrepreneur and SME’s.  She decided to set up business in London as she could see the potential for the capital to become a business leader of technology in Europe.  “Silicon Valley is one of the most competitive places on earth for technology, but I like the culture and people here (in London) more. London has become a more important centre for Europe. If you’re a leading entrepreneur in Stockholm, Madrid, Zagreb or Munich, you know you have to have a presence in London. Ten years ago, I was running across Europe for First Tuesday, but today I stay put and Europe comes to me.”

Julie’s determination and devotion to the cause of entrepreneurism has resulted in spectacular success which has seen her showered with an array of accolades: she was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000, one of Wall Street Journal’s top 30 Most Powerful Women in Europe, described as ‘Britain’s Most Powerful Woman’ by Management Today and was named one of the ‘100 Global Leaders of Tomorrow’ at the World Economic Forum.

All this has taken place since her ‘Eureka!’ moment 11 years ago. “I had just come to London and I said to myself ‘Julie, stop trying to be this Renaissance woman who is going to be perfect at all things. It’s never going to happen! You’re bad at some stuff and you’re good at others, now focus on what you’re good at.”  And she has never looked back!

Want to find out more?  Why not join Julie on her table for our Extraordinary Entrepreneurs evening on November 18th.

Julie Meyer fun facts:

–              Her first ever job was as a waitress in Indiana, when she was 17.

–              She has seven god children

–              She is a great fan of jewellery, especially rings

–              She thinks her biggest financial weakness is taking too many spa holidays!

–              In another life, she thinks she would have been an actor or a writer!

Belinda Nnoka
Belinda Nnoka

Belinda was a staff writer for Women Unlimited from 2009-2010

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