Our Authors, Editors and Contributors
Kevin Simmons, Chief Growth Officer - Electric Miles
Kevin Simmons is the accomplished ‘Tail Gunner’ of multiple startup teams. A repeat entrepreneur himself, he has survived many near misses and startup crashes, and now uses those experiences to help early stage teams tackle the many threats they often do not see coming. A mentor, advisor, investor to startups, and scale ups, founder, and a former growth consultant, Kevin’s journey has taken him from Silicon Valley at the height and crash of the Dotcom bubble through both the social innovation and growth technology sectors in the US and UK, and to the leading edge of the exploding African startup ecosystem.
With a background in engineering and the military, Kevin has excelled in project management in the operations intensive global oil & gas industry in key roles on projects up to $30BN, and in launching and growing small cash-strapped trailblazing innovations. After completing an MBA and a Diploma in Strategy & Innovation from University of Oxford, Kevin became an Advisor and Management Consultant for early stage technology companies. He has run a battery technology startup in the UK as Chief Financial and Operations Officer; and has recently returned to the front lines as Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer of a vehicle-to-grid venture, Electric Miles.
Clive Gilson- Global Head of Engineering, Insurance Technology, Willis Towers Watson
I have substantial experience as a senior technology leader, having worked on major web, mobile & digital development & transformation programmes for nearly 20 years, working with organisations seeking to implementing & develop their technology agility at scale in both the commercial & public sectors. Most recently I've worked in large-scale and high-profile Media, Telco & Insurtech / Fintech environments.
I am also an investor in technology companies and work as a Non-Executive Director with The Bunch.com, an emerging fintech business focused on helping students & young professionals in shared housing to manage their bills.
Outside of the day job I am a trustee, advising FilmBATH, a major regional arts & education-focused charity, and am an author and editor, having worked on over 20 titles to date.
Matt has a reputation for creating profitable businesses and brands. He’s passionate about technology and how it impacts our daily lives. He has a fascination for cars and mobility.
Highly commercial and astute, he knows how to spot future trends and convert those into profitable enterprises. He has a deep knowledge of technology and how it can be leveraged to achieve tangible financial value, through innovative business strategy and successful execution.
He held senior marketing and sales roles with some of the World’s most successful brands, including Bentley and Manchester United TV.
Success has been achieved in the fintech, retail and insurance sectors with some of the world’s most innovative start-ups, including ingenie, in the insurtech sector, which attracted an exit valuation of more than £100M after just 3 years.
Matt is a mentor at London’s Accelerator Academy and enjoys running and playing tennis to let off steam when not at work!
Rebecca De Beukelaer - Founder/CEO Unisalad
Originally from Belgium, I moved to the UK in 2001 with my family to Marlborough, Wiltshire. During my third year at Nottingham University, I created a Facebook group for students to buy and sell event tickets, find housemates, find lost items, share opinions, etc, and it became the university’s student community, which grew to 36k users.
I decided to create a safer, student-only, and more organised app version of this, called UniSalad, which aims to improve student university experience. I am a sole female founder and have been working on the business for almost two years now which has been quite a journey so far!
Kirsty Leahy - Radio Presenter at BBC Coventry and Warwickshire
Kirsty brightened her listeners’ mornings on Banbury Sound and Touch FM on-air and online for 5 years with tales of her many, adventures, including visits to the BRITS after-show parties and hosting various charity & biz events including the KHH Gala Dinner at Blenheim Palace with former Rugby World Cup winner 2003 Mike Tindell MBE, who Kirsty sat with at dinner and whom revealed some rather risqué stories about previous rugby tours and filled her in on what it is like to part of the Royal family, fascinating stuff hey?
Kirsty achieved another life long ambition and interviewed Kylie Minogue too. #Lifemade! 😂
Not only is Kirsty busy on-air, but she also likes to put the fun into fund-raising and regularly takes on challenges for good causes including a 110ft Abseil for Teenage Cancer Trust and ‘fund RAVING’ learning how to DJ for 6 weeks, with 5 other girls for Breast Cancer Care and in turn, Kirsty achieved another ambition by becoming a house music DJ. Kirsty is very proud to be one of the Directors' of Visit Banbury CIC and having won a National Radio Award (the commercial radio equivalent to the Oscars) for her “Thirsty Kirsty” Charity beer campaign with Hook Norton brewery for Dogs for Good (formerly Dogs for the Disabled) she hopes to continue to promote kindness, wellbeing, and positivity within the area. After presenting Banbury's breakfast show for 5 years and getting to know many local charities, community groups and key players at numerous live Outside Broadcasts across Banbury, Brackley, Bicester and the surrounding areas on the radio, hosting many of the areas fundraisers and Business awards and not forgetting events with Banbury's Town Council and Christmas light switch on, Kirsty can't wait to continue helping Banbury to become used to a new normal and happier and kinder place. Kirsty splits her time between Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.
Satya Samal,Chief Business Officer - Larson & Toubro Infortech
Satya Samal is a growth-focused senior executive in the Technology industry with an established track record of building software and services businesses ground up.
He started his career with SAP where his last role was as Development Manager for SAP’s High Tech Industry Solution. Subsequently he worked with McKinsey & Co for several years serving C-level executives on a variety of topics including business strategy, restructuring, cost reduction, M&A etc. After McKinsey, Satya worked with Infosys for close to a decade, spearheading their business, first in the UK for Retail & CPG verticals and later for Manufacturing vertical across Europe. Currently, Satya is a Chief Business Officer with LTI and heads the company’s European and African business.
Over the years, Satya has partnered with leading companies in the world to design and implement their strategic business and technology initiatives. In recent years, his work has focused on two most powerful Digital technologies: AI-ML and Cloud.
Satya is actively involved with start-ups in the UK and India. He focuses on B2B segment and takes a particular interest in mentoring innovative companies in Banking, Insurance, and Engineering & Construction sectors.