For many people - particularly those in Britain - Martyn Lewis is best known as a former broadcaster; the face of BBC News in his role as the main anchor on the flagship daily 6:00pm news programme. Perhaps less known is his long record of entrepreneurial activity in both the commercial and charity sectors. Lewis is chairman and founder of YouthNet; the online youth support organisation he started in 1995 and which has today grown into a multimillion pound charity; work for which he was recognised with the awarding of a CBE in 1997.
Like most entrepreneurs, Lewis gained valuable if painful experience through a number of 'non-starters' before finding a winning formula with Teliris Limited, which he founded with British and American partners Jamie Thomson, Marc Trachtenberg and Steve Gage in 2001.
Today, Teliris is the leading global vendor of telepresence systems and services - a type of visual communications technology which has experienced a remarkable burst of growth in the last 18 months.
At the time of its launch, however, the potential for telepresence was far less obvious, so Frost & Sullivan's Dominic Dodd took an opportunity to meet with Martyn Lewis recently in London to understand better the insight that led him to co-founding Teliris, and how he sees his company's current success translating into future growth.
DD (Dominic Dodd): While we've witnessed the phenomenal growth of interest in telepresence since the end of 2006, you had founded Teliris back in 2001, when that potential would have been hard to envisage. What led you to the concept? And what were the steps from your senior position in BBC News to a technology start-up?
ML (Martyn Lewis):