Eric Collins is a serial entrepreneur, investor, technology executive and host of Channel 4 business show, The Money Maker.
Eric has spent much of his career building the value of digital companies through innovative strategies at public and private companies including AOL, TimeWarner, Tegic/Nuance Communications, MobilePosse, SwiftKey/Microsoft and most recently, Touch Surgery, where he was COO. He sits on the boards of companies in both San Francisco and London.
In 2011, President Obama appointed him to the Small Business Administration’s Council on Underserved Communities.
Eric is regularly invited to be a keynote speaker or panellist for leading companies and events both in the UK and internationally, and has been featured in The Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio, ITV News, Sky News, Bloomberg, CNN, and several other media outlets and podcasts.
In 2018, The Financial Times named him among the UK’s top 100 BAME leaders in technology. Since 2019, he has been voted one of the most influential black people in Britain on The Powerlist.
In his debut book, We Don’t Need Permission: How Black Business Can Change Our World (Penguin), Eric argues investing in Black and underrepresented entrepreneurs is the surest, fastest socio-economic game changer there is.
1. What values are most important to you as a leader?
Transparency and teambuilding. I value both efficiency and effectiveness in business. One way to achieve big things quickly in disruptive businesses is to ensure that teams remain aligned with priority goals. This means incentives alignment, such as bonuses and option pools, that ensure all stakeholders benefit from successes delivered by teams as well as by the company. From company inception, ensuring that everyone understands what execution milestones result in what rewards is one useful way of equitably distributing upside to all. Transparency helps deal with potential inequities and can become a core value for teams / companies.
2. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Reducing disparities based on ethnicity and gender. Trillions of dollars are lost to the world economy annually because of systemic inequities in investment levels, lending levels, hiring, promotions, etc. Alleviating disparities is good business.
3. Best piece of advice you have been given?
When investing, look for areas of market inefficiency and put your money there. Places where large pools of resources are heading can be overheated and overhyped. Areas where most capital is overlooking have a tendency for better valuations from an investor perspective as well as upside opportunities.
4. What would you tell your younger self?
Negative experiences are also great learning opportunities.
5. What has been your most important or profound lesson as a leader?
Make failures, whether big or small, as quickly as possible. Learn from the mistakes and then apply the lessons next time. Also learn to attract, assemble and nurture great teams.