Who are our 2014 referees?

With the tough job of scoring The Great British Startups Cup, meet the 11 entrepreneurs and business experts who’ll be putting our teams through their paces

To coincide with the World Cup this summer, Startups is running its very own Great British Startups Cup – celebrating some of the best UK start-ups right now.

32 great young businesses from across the UK have been selected to represent eight exciting growth sectors – and we’ve lined up a stellar list of entrepreneurs to act as our referees to score each match.

To find out more details on how the competition will work, check out our rules here – or read on for some brief bios on our illustrious refs.


Name: Nick Wheeler
Group: A – Food delivery

In 1986, Nicholas Charles Tyrwhitt Wheeler decided he could make a better shirt than anybody else. Launching his own mail order company, he has since grown Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts into a £120m-turnover clothing business. Having always wanted to be an entrepreneur, (and very successful entrepreneur wife Chrissie Rucker is founder of The White Company) he is passionate about enterprise and will be casting his experienced eyes over our food delivery group.


JamesLayfield Name: James Layfield
Group: B – Ad tech

Serial entrepreneur James Layfield has a very impressive CV. Headhunted for Virgin at just 23, he became the youngest managing director of a Virgin Group business before leaving to start his own company The Lounge Group. He has since founded several other businesses, including his latest venture – Startups Awards-winning small business workspace group Central Working.Surrounded by exciting start-ups in the day-to-day running of his company, Layfield is judging our advertising tech group.


 OliBarrett Name: Oli Barrett MBE
Group: C – Going out

Oli Barrett MBE is a serial entrepreneur. Currently director of “social action” agency Cospa, he also co founded StartUp Britain and launched the famous Make Your Mark With A Tenner campaign. Barrett regularly leads trade missions and currently acts as an advisor to the Centre for Entrepreneurs. Named in GQ’s list of the 100 most connected men in Britain, Barrett is the king of networking and therefore the perfect referee to judge the UK’s up and coming going out enabling businesses.


 HollyTucker Name: Holly Tucker MBE
Group: D – Personalised shopping

Multi-award winning entrepreneur Holly Tucker MBE launched notonthehighstreet.com from a kitchen table with co-founder Sophie Cornish way back in 2006. Now supporting over 3,500 creative small businesses, the site has become a staple for shoppers looking for quirky and personalised gifts. After recently being awarded an MBE for her services to small business and enterprise we couldn’t think of a more suitable judge for our personalised shopping group.


AndyandAlastair Names: Andy McLoughlin and Alastair Mitchell
Group: E – Craft beer subscription

Co-founders of one of Europe’s most awarded and well-known technology start-ups, Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin have experienced explosive growth with collaborative working platform Huddle, raising over $40m and operating across London, San Francisco and New York. The duo also run networking event Drink Tank, where members of the London tech scene meet to share ideas over a pint. As beer lovers, they snapped up the chance to referee our craft beer subscription group.


 DougRichard Name: Doug Richard
Group: F – Alternative finance

One of the original Dragons, Doug Richard is a government small business advisor and founder of education and event business School for Startups; offering mentoring and training to over 25,000 businesses since launch. Since then he has expanded the business with a programme specifically for creative companies, the School for Creative Startups. With expertise in how to use alternative funding to grow your small business – Richard was keen to judge our alternative finance group.


 RussandHayley Names: Russ Shaw and Hayley Conick
Group: G – Taxis and minicabs

Russ Shaw is a man who’s passionate about all things tech, which is why he launched Tech London Advocates. He’s also an investor, non-exec and ex-VP at Skype and global innovation director at Telefonica. With his finger firmly on the pulse when it comes to all things tech, Shaw will be evaluating our disruptive taxi apps group. As country manager UK and Ireland for online staffing platform Elance and former head of business strategy and operations at Smarta.com, Hayley Conick will be using her freelance and start-up expertise to spot the most promising companies in our taxi apps category.


 NickandMichael Names: Michael Hayman MBE and Nick Giles
Group: H – Cycling

The co-founders of hugely successful campaign PR agency Seven Hills, Michael Hayman MBE and Nick Giles are firm faces on the UK start-up scene, having also founded the Made and Accelerate conferences and StartUp Britain. Joining Oli Barrett on GQ’s list of the most connected men in Britain, the pair are turning their attention to our cycling group.



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