Martha Lane Fox And LastMinute.com
Our story starts in the stone halls of Magdalene College, Oxford, where young Martha Lane Fox studied ancient and modern history. Not a natural beginning, you might think for someone who would end up co-founding one of the biggest dot-com companies in the UK. But after university, she found her true calling. Consulting! Which led to a project for British Telecom called What Is The Internet? You’ve got to remember that this was pre-1998 and people didn’t really seem to know.
While consulting, she met Brent Hoberman and her life changed forever. Together the pair founded Lastminute.com in 1998, a site for travel and gift deals that generated massive publicity and even bigger profits just as the dot-com bubble began to really grow. It even managed to survive the subsequent burst, and was sold to Sabre Holdings for £557 million. Lane’s personal share? £13 million.
For most people, that would be retirement money, but she wasn’t finished. She went on to help run Selfridges, and in 2005 was approached with an idea to set up a private, Tokyo-style karaoke bar in London. A favourite Empire haunt was born in Soho, along with a chain of Lucky Voice bars around the country, a computer application and more.
In 2009, she was made the Government's Digital Inclusion Champion, looking to make us all more computer literate. She also sat on several charity boards and helped rescue the Orange Prize For Women’s Fiction when the telecom company backed out of supporting it.
To add some action to the financial drama, everything since 2005 has been achieved despite a traumatic jeep accident in Morocco that resulted in life-threatening injuries. She has so much metal supporting her body that you might as well call her Wolverine. But for now, the nickname her brother gave her, Fast Lane Fox, seems to fit just as well.
We’d cast: Emily Mortimer with a blonde dye-job.
Tone: Plucky Erin Brockovich-alike biopic.