Article Source: Future Worlds

Startup expert Ben Clark says he is pursuing a vision of Southampton as a global powerhouse of tech startups on his announcement as Future Worlds’ new director.

The University of Southampton alumnus, whose leadership experience includes spells at several tech startups and spinouts, replaces accelerator founder Reuben Wilcock who will now support the network as its latest mentor.

Ben has assisted University entrepreneurs as a Resident Mentor in Future Worlds for the past two years and was previously the Interim Director for six months in 2017. He will oversee a growing core team, which hired an Events and Marketing Officer in the New Year and will welcome a new Tech Acceleration Manager in the coming weeks.

Future Worlds opened its new on-campus Acclerator Space this autumn and recently launched its inaugural cohort, with the University startup pipeline now gearing up for its flagship Future Worlds Dragons’ Den event this spring.

“I always resonated with Future Worlds’ vision, which is what drew me back to the University, and I am honoured to have been selected as its new director,” Ben says. “What has been achieved so far is like a down payment on what is still to come. Reuben nurtured an idea with focus and determination, which has proven the concept and thus laid a robust foundation. As every startup knows, momentum is key; we now have a great opportunity for Future Worlds to propel Southampton towards becoming a global powerhouse for tech startups. There are so many more success stories to come, which will have a lasting impact on the University, the city and the world.”

Ben was on the leadership team of HIPPO in the early 2000s during its period of rapid growth from startup to national waste management business, including raising several multi-million pound rounds of equity investment before working for several years with startups and a venture capital fund in East Africa. He has since orchestrated the growth of startup companies in Hampshire, including roles with Snowflake Software, University of Southampton spinout Symetrica, and as Chief Operating Officer of SaaS startup iPresent.

“When I previously engaged with the University from the outside as a startup I caught a glimpse of the amazing depth and breadth of talent on-campus,” he explains. “I knew it offered such incredible, untapped startup potential, and the network Future Worlds has created has unlocked this opportunity to make an untold difference to so many entrepreneurs.

“The number of startups emerging has multiplied and the scale of their achievements keeps on growing. Startups from this University are right now standing shoulder to shoulder in Silicon Valley with the most promising startups from around the world. But more than that, the examples emerging are inspiring others, impacting the culture on campus and lifting everyone’s expectations of what is possible. Each success story builds the momentum and compounds the impact created, which is why I’m so excited to continue this transformational journey.

“The opportunity before us is immense, but to seize this moment I’m looking to connect with people on two sides of the table. On one side I’m looking connect with mentors, investors and external partners who want to engage with some of the most talented and ambitious startup founders in the UK to help them to achieve their full potential. On the other side I’m looking to connect with the staff and student innovators across the University who have the ideas that can change the world. If that could be you, or you know someone who it could be, I would love to hear from you.”

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