Martha Lane Fox co-founded Lastminute.com, where she and her business partner, Brent Hoberman, came to epitomise the new breed of internet entrepreneurs in London.
Martha is also a non-executive director at Marks & Spencer, MyDeco.com and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She co-founded and chairs Lucky Voice, a private karaoke bar group, revolutionizing the karaoke industry.
In December 2003, it was revealed by The Sunday Telegraph that Lane Fox would join Galen Weston, owner of Selfridges, and take over the day-to-day running of the business.
On 16 June 2009, she was appointed the UK Government’s Digital Inclusion Champion to head a two-year campaign to make the British public more computer literate. She has argued that “I don’t think you can be a proper citizen of our society in the future if you are not engaged online.”
On 22 March 2010, her government role was expanded when it was announced that she would set up a new Digital Public Services Unit within the Cabinet Office. And in June 2010, the new Government asked Lane Fox to expand her role as UK Digital Champion advising how online public services delivery can help to provide better, and more efficient services as well as getting more people online. She was invited to sit on Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Board.
In July 2010 David Cameron hosted an event at 10 Downing Street to celebrate her Manifesto for a Networked Nation – a challenge for people and organizations in every sector and every corner of the country to work together to inspire, encourage and support as many new people as possible to get online by the end of the Olympic year. By the beginning of 2011, the Race Online 2012 campaign had over 1000 partners pledging to reach almost 2 million adults.
Many of the lessons learned from building Lastminute have been applied to her latest venture, in particular, the blending of online and offline to create a business of substance. Lastminute has just opened a standalone store in Manchester with other openings planned. She points out the company employed a similar strategy several years ago and says: “no one can afford to ignore online and see how it is translated offline.”
Lane Fox was appointed Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honors for “services to the digital economy and charity”. Martha was made a CBE in the New Year Honors List 2013. In March 2013, she was appointed a crossbench peer in the House of Lords, becoming the youngest female member, taking the title Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho.
In March 2014 she was appointed Chancellor of the Open University. Following her Dimbleby lecture in 2015, Martha founded Doteveryone.org.uk, a charity fighting for a fairer internet. In April 2016 she was appointed as a non-executive director of Twitter.