Elevator Interview: Ashleigh Ainsley
Ashleigh joined the FI team in 2018 having spent the first five years of his career in strategy roles at KPMG, Google and at London start-up Qubit. Outside of the office he is a qualified football referee and the founder of Colorintech. He studied at Oxford University where he obtained his MA in Geography.
- — What is your entrepreneurial insight?
I founded a non-profit called Colorintech which is trying to solve the skills shortage and talent gap facing large companies today by bringing more diverse talent into their organisations. One of my biggest learnings has been around persistence and how difficult it can be to get things done even if the solution is straightforward.
2. — What is your favourite start-up?
Lemonade. I love the innovation around the business model and how they are aligning incentives: they take a transparent fixed fee from the premiums and give the excess to causes agreed by their policyholders. It’s a great way to drive engagement and aligns incentives to reduce consumer claims.
3. — What is an extraordinary thing you’ve done while at FI?
My most recent trip to Israel. I was part of a contingent of digital leaders from the World Economic Forum who went to Israel to learn how the county got its tag ‘start-up nation’. I’m interested in how our clients leverage some of the learnings from that ecosystem.
4. — What is a lesson you have from working with leading companies?
It’s super important to be open for business for start-ups. Start-ups will often have negative perceptions about what it is like to work or collaborate with a corporate. Given there is increasing desire from corporates to tap into the innovation in the start-up ecosystem it becomes important that they perceived as being open for business. Those who aren’t doing this tend to be the laggards and have a culture that reflects this.
5. — What technology are you most bullish about?
It sounds a bit crazy because it’s rather mature but I am still quite bullish about the cloud: Google’s launch of Stadia signals a step change for an entire industry. Amazon’s cloud ambitions are extraordinary and you only have to look at the growth of Azure, AWS and Google Cloud to see that cloud computing is still transforming businesses too; a large proportion of that growth is still to come from emerging markets.
6. — What podcast or book have you recently enjoyed?
Bad Blood. It is very relevant to corporate innovation because it provides a warning to those who want to act on a hunch — even the most ambitious ideas need to be cross-checked. One of the best tips I ever got was to slow down and a book like this helps exemplify why that’s important.
In terms of podcasts, I love the depth that the “Acquired” podcast goes into when reviewing exits. I recently finished their piece on Uber — certainly a long listen, but thoroughly rewarding.
As of January, Ashleigh left Founders Intelligence to pursue his non-profit ColorinTech full time. We are very happy to support him on his journey!