After beginning her career as a consultant for Accenture, British entrepreneur Alex Depledge struck success in 2013 by founding domestic cleaning startup Hassle.com. As CEO, Depledge helped Hassle spread rapidly throughout the UK, before using the initial funding to expand into Ireland and Europe. She sold the business in 2015 and it continues to thrive.
Prior to the venture, Depledge studied at the University of Nottingham and the University of Chicago, and is now the entrepreneur in residence at Index Ventures – working with upcoming entrepreneurs to realise their business goals and ambitions. Depledge is also the chair of the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) and was awarded an MBE in The Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list for services to the Sharing Economy.
- What was your biggest career break?
Meeting Jules Coleman when working at United Utilities for Accenture. It was our first project with the company. She was 20, I was 25, and we were put together in shared corporate accommodation. If it hadn’t have been for that, I doubt we would have become friends as we are so different and used to move in different social circles. Hassle.com would not have existed had it not been for that serendipitous act.
- Have you had a notable mentor – and if so what was it about them that was so inspiring?
I don’t think I have one!
- What one piece of advice would you give to the 20-year-old you?
Stop worrying about not fitting in – it will be your biggest asset and professional brand when you start working. It’s ironic that we all want to be a cookie-cutter in our teens and twenties and then, in a rapid flip, spend our professional lives trying to stand out.
- What qualities to do you look for in the people you work with?
Hunger, passion and someone who has faced adversity at a point in their life.
- Who do you admire and why?
I admire successful people who remain down to earth. People like Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford of Entrepreneur First. Successful people who don’t let adversity stop them, but still remain warm and giving – someone like Steve O’Hear of TechCrunch.
- What does the future of your career look like?
Honestly, no idea. I am pretty unemployable so it’s probably going to be another business endeavour with Jules.
- If you hadn’t chosen your current career, what would you have done instead?
I would have loved to be a wrangler on a working ranch in Australia, Montana or Wymoning. I managed to get hired as a wrangler in 2003 when I graduated university but couldn’t get a visa to the States so had to turn it down.
- What is your biggest extravagance?
A tough one as I really don’t spend money on anything extravagant. Probably food – I love to eat and will occasionally push the boat out and go to a pricey London establishment.
- Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and why? (you can invite three people – they must be alive)
Nick Clegg – the best prime minister we never had. I believe history will recognise the coalition government as one of the most stable, progressive governments we have had in the 21st century. In large part this will be down to Clegg and his commitment to compromise over politics.
Taylor Swift – total bad-ass, amazing songwriter, female role model and chameleon, and I reckon we would get on.
Aung San Suu Kyi – I am amazed at her dedication to public service and belief in her cause. I am also fairly rubbish at being diplomatic so I think I could learn a thing or two!
- What do you do to relax away from work?
There are only two things that totally consume my thoughts when I do them and that is boxing and horse riding. I think that is the closest I ever come to relaxing.
- If you could change one thing about Britain today, what would it be?
Brexit – a tragedy for this country, particularly when the majority of people who voted leave were voting in protest about the effects of globalisation, not the EU. With most things I can find a silver lining but not with this, it makes me sad to say. I would love to be wrong.
- What would your last meal be? (please choose a starter, a main course and a pudding)
Gambas al ajilo [Spanish garlic prawns]
Penne Arrabiatta – as hot as possible
A whole bottle of Marlborogh Sauvignon Blanc – I don’t like desserts