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    From bathtub 2 Boardroom - Web Wonders - 28th March @ The Adam Street Club

    Malcolm Bell is here tonight because he recently co-founded Zaggora, makers of the famous HotPants, which help their owner lose weight in comfort (by sweating more). The brand has had a phenomenal start, with 2 million unique visitors to the website in the first three months, 300,000 of whom bought a pair of the wonder shorts. Zaggora has 164k facebook fans into the mix. Malcolm set up the company with Dessi, his wife and the inventor of the shorts, who needed a way to shed the pounds ahead of her wedding. However, this is just one of Malcolm's tales.

    Malcolm worked, during his twenties (and prior to a change of heart), managing various investment portfolios for family offices and ultra-high net worth individuals, making large investments into real assets - often property - and financial instruments. He was an early starter and spent his high school holidays learning how to buy buildings with Rotch Property Group. While still studying at the LSE, he not only founded a Russian Business Society but became director of a Moscow-based company managing $300 million of commercial real estate assets.

    However, as Malcolm approached the age of 30 he had an early mid-life crisis...So now he is investing his own money into 'disruptive' web technologies and consumer brands – brands which create new markets and disrupt existing ones - via his company Dessinka Ltd. Zaggora is one in-house company in which Dessinka has invested; another is Fonication, a social app development company focusing on creating multi-player online social games across web and mobile platforms.

    “The Internet, everyone loves it, but I would marry it if I could!.” thus speaks Hermione Way, dubbed “Britain’s answer to Mark Zuckerberg” in the latest edition of Company magazine. Appropriately, Hermione has joined us today from her normal pitch in Silicon Valley where she is well on her way to being a leader of the New Media industry.

    Hermione began her first venture,, in 2008 while completing her degree in journalism. It supplies clients looking for sharp, innovative video content with graduate filmmakers seeking their first big break. It was inspired by Hermione’s own experience as a budding journalist as she realised that getting her foot on the media ladder would involve months upon months of unpaid work experience. With, media graduates can get paid, vocational experience while their clients get the benefit of low cost video content and expertise in the viral nature of the internet. It is now doing phenomenally well with clients such as the BBC, Channel 4 and Facebook. Hermione also acts as founder, writer and anchorwoman for, which is an online video channel designed specifically for technology-minded Europeans; she has developed a following of 35,000 viewers a month. TNW is the Silicon Valley version of, hosting content for the tech-minded there. It is hardly  surprising that Hermione is also director of their video department and co-hosts their annual conference.

    Hermione entered the world two and half months early, all part of her in-born enthusiasm for life.

    Jonathan Grubin is a true Web Wonder from Newcastle. He is currently head of product at The Sand Pit which finds cool bits of technology and puts in the commercial structure required. It's a fusion of an investor and an incubator, providing money and mentoring to get the technology to market: The Sand Pit take a hands-on approach in the development of a product. Perhaps their biggest project to date is the social media dashboard SoDash which uses Artificial Intelligence to filter through social media and find relevant engagement with the brand in question, which is pretty clever.

    Jonny plotted his first web-business during GCSE physics lessons. ForFree4U proved a popular website for incentivised sharing of products (like recommending on facebook, but do it enough and you get a free T.V.) In its first year Jonny's company turned over £75,000. Interviewed at the time, Grubin said 'I have about ten ideas a day, the problem is not taking on too many new ones'. This proved tough.

     Over the following years, Jonny set up and was involved in various projects aimed at inspiring young enterprise and collaboration in the North East. By the time he had taken his a-levels, Jonathan had launched Live Newcastle, a project designed to support independent retail and leisure businesses in the North East.

    Next, Jonathan worked with Hermione's brother Ben Way and was CEO at SendSocial Ltd until June 2011. launched in November 2009, and allowed individuals to send anything, anywhere, without an address.

    Following these years of entrepreneurship, Jonathan doubted his path and sought employment in a frozen yoghurt shop. However, Simon Campbell, the founder of The Sandpit intervened...

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