5 Questions with Mark Westoll, Community Leader

Sep 23, 2021

I’ve spent the last 10 years working closely with many founder-led businesses to clarify product/market fit, refine commercial strategy, raise investment, and pursue growth objectives. Having been a founder of tech companies myself, during the birth of the Internet in the 1990s, I'm fully aware of the challenges that founders need to address. This helps me be compassionate with the people I work with, challenging them whilst being supportive. I work across sectors and industries, mostly with businesses at the early stages of launching and growth. I’m inspired the most by people seeking to realise the fullest potential in themselves and others, trying to have an impact on the community around them.

01. How did you get involved in Techstars Startup Programs?

I came across Techstars as part of the research I was conducting about UK Startup incubators and support programmes. I was so inspired by the ethos and beliefs of the Techstars founders and the wider organisation that I applied for the licence to run the London Startup Week. The Techstars support team has been fantastic and I've used my own network to curate the Techstars Startup Week London 2021 event, bringing a mix of people together to share their views and opinions on the hot topics for the London ecosystem.

02. How have Techstars Startup Programs impacted your life?

Techstars Startup Week London 2021 has completely taken over my life for the past 8 months! It's been amazing to connect with so many wonderful people who have all been committed to sharing their knowledge and experience for the good of founders in the London startup ecosystem. I've been able to start conversations and explore relevant themes with founders, investors and corporate professionals. Everyone is truly passionate about their work in London, this is a very exciting time to be involved with the startup community in London.

03. Why are you passionate about entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is about passion, it drives founders to seek out new challenges and face them full-on. With that energy at the heart of a community, entrepreneurs become amazing community builders. I truly believe that startup ecosystems will unlock the future of human potential and entrepreneurship is the most important behaviour for our global society to meet the challenges that we will continue to face. I'm passionate about entrepreneurship because it is the mechanism that lets me be my true creative self. In this space, work becomes an enriching activity with purpose and meaning. The freedom to create is what I enjoy the most about entrepreneurship.

04. How else are you involved in your community's startup ecosystem?

I'm a Partner at Rocket Studio, which is a venture-building studio that engages and promotes entrepreneurship in the London startup community. We seek out founders who need support, running an open incubation programme that helps founders of startups to gain the skills and knowledge they need to successfully navigate their challenges. We work with corporate clients who want to engage with startups as part of their innovation strategy and bring the two together.

05. What's next for your community's entrepreneurship ecosystem?

London continues to be the number 2 global startup ecosystem and we already have a series of further events planned to further the debates that we've sparked off at Techstars Startup Week London. London leads the way in FinTech and a number of other sectors are emerging in the city, which will need support to grow. Bringing the many different parties together to share views and create new relationships sits at the heart of the events we have planned for 2022. We also plan to extend our programme of events and support programmes to other key regional communities in the UK.