The UK’s most iconic maker membership community Makerversity, headquartered at Somerset House London, has appointed Fiona Dent as its first ever global CEO with immediate effect. Her remit will be to take overall responsibility for delivering Makerversity’s mission and drive its commercial, cultural and educational impact.
Prior to joining Makerversity Fiona was Group Managing Director, Lifestyle and sat on the Board of Time Inc.(UK) the leading cross-platform consumer publisher. She was a key member of the team that developed the company’s growth strategy in events, e-commerce, learning and memberships. Earlier in her career she led Wallpaper* the global design, travel and lifestyle authority during its highly successful 10th Anniversary and launched www.wallpaper.com. She is associated with pioneering Time Inc.(UK)’s digital footprint, working on the launch of www.newscientist.com over 20 years ago and helping grow the company’s digital audience from tens of thousands to tens of millions. She is currently board advisor to a number of London-based start-ups in the design, health & wellbeing and fintech sectors and an active angel investor.
Makerversity co-founder Tom Tobia said, “We’re really excited about Fiona’s arrival. At Makerversity we’re on a mission to develop our support for the best cutting edge creative start-ups globally. We’re delighted to be bringing someone of Fiona’s experience and attitude on board to help us continue to experiment and explore new spaces, places and services for the best businesses and aspiring makers, wherever they are.
We started Makerversity for many reasons, it wouldn’t have been possible had it not been set against the backdrop of a global digital manufacturing revolution. By harnessing this we’ve been able to pioneer the creation of a city-centre co-making space for other pioneers. Twenty years ago Fiona harnessed the previous great digital revolution; being one of the first to spot the potential of the internet as a place to access rich content. Since then she’s been a leading light in building great, creative, global publications and start-ups and so her experience, ethos and her hustle are the perfect combination to take us forward socially, culturally and economically.”
Makerversity CEO Fiona Dent said, “I am very excited to be joining at such a pivotal time for Makerversity as it looks to grow its impact. Makerversity was invented in London, the most powerful creative city in the world and Europe’s no.1 tech start-up ecosystem. The creative and technology sectors are colliding, with ground-breaking new ideas and companies emerging. Makerversity was amongst the first to recognise convergence of the making and technology sectors and is the leading champion of these innovators. It is uniquely placed to further develop its services to support and facilitate their success. I really look forward to working with the brilliant Makerversity co-founders, team and members in delivering Makerversity’s mission and helping an international community I am passionate about succeed.”
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Makerversity has already helped propel many start-up companies. Success stories include disruptive businesses in digital manufacturing raising multi-million pound funding rounds such as Unmade, crowdfunds and angel investments such as Candy Mechanics, through to mission-driven ethical, sustainable or wellbeing-led projects such as AVY. Makerversity will now further enhance its impact for the creative community, which is critical to the future of global cities. By nurturing this community, it is supporting a group that is highly inventive, that constantly looks to improve society, and ultimately makes cities more attractive and inspiring places to be for all. Creative businesses also make a significant economic contribution; In London alone delivering £47bn to the local economy, with employment in these industries growing at 4 times the average, providing an increasing number of exciting career opportunities for young people. Co-founder Tom Tobia added, “Makerversity is providing open access to education programmes aimed at aspiring professional makers and the next generation of creative and practical minds, so all members of society can participate in this dynamic and growing sector.”
We sat down with Fiona and asked her lots of questions about her and her ambitions for Makerversity. Read it here