"I'm a child of the Internet. When there wasn't Internet, I bought books and CDs on a Bloomberg terminal. That was 1993 and I was a 20-something tinkering with computers on a trading floor."
CURRENT WORK AND ACTIVITIES
Inma currently divides her time between advisory services to governments and boards, contract work as a digital scientist, and Deep Science Ventures the UK’s first venture-builder for science-driven companies where she oversees A.I. and Data Analytics projects as Venture Partner. Inma is also a guest lecturer at Imperial College London's MSc Management program, MSc in Economics and the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy.
It all started when…
After an early career in banking (Goldman, Sachs) in private wealth management, shares brokerage (Dresdner Kleinwort Benson) and infrastructure finance (The Institute for Infrastructure Finance), Inma felt the need to "build things", to move to a fast-growing, dynamic and exciting sector, and she went "client-side" with global telecom Cable & Wireless. Brought onboard by its newly appointment U.S. CEO, Dick Brown, a man who came with a mission: to turn the ailing company into a $35 billion game-changer, Inma joined the Global Markets division's strategy team to head the IP (Internet Protocol) Services at global level, from Hong Kong to Barbados. Brown had a visionary plan: to leverage C&W digital belt around the globe and sell Internet and packed data services. and Inma was trained as a telecoms engineer and allowed to fully explore and calibrate the opportunities that digitalisation presented to society and businesses.
"Mary Meeker's "Internet In Europe" report got to my hands. There, in just one paragraph describing Motorola's, Nokia's and Ericsson's developments in WAP, I found my "ignition": if a cell phone was going to transmit and receive data at 56kb/sec, that was the speed of a fax machine. It blew my mind. I had to be part of this"
"I started to join efforts in the development of WAP services representing C&W, which allowed me to meet the first batch of talented engineers developing xml-coded data products and to design what would become the first mobile content services: mobile portals. I started to work on my startup idea after work, on the weekends, for over 9 months before I left C&W in December 1999. Against all the fear I felt to work in a startup, something that in those days sounded more like a professional suicide rather than an opportunity (the dot bomb had just exploded in the U.S.), I accepted the challenge: I would not forgive myself if someone else would eventually build what I saw as the most radical approach to mobile services: to personalise 1:1 the mobile experience. With the most talented team across Cambridge and Dublin, we built the first real-time A.I. engine, powering the first portals Yahoo!, ITN News, Orange, and built R&D partnerships with Ericsson Labs in Solna (Sweden) and NOKIA Oy in Espoo. I raised $5 million in equity with 3i Ventures in November 2000, just after the markets tumbled for the second time. That put us on the map to everyone, not just the clients. The industry wondered what on earth we had built that deserved that kind of money when the whole world was shutting down and crashing".
Throughout the 2000s Inma continued to found and lead startups, with her second, Visual Radio, in Oulu, Finland, pioneering mobile music and video streaming and being acquired by NOKIA in 2007 after rolling out its services in Asia, through Europe and North America. Inma then worked at Nokia Innovation Labs (NEBU) working on wearables for healthcare in partnership with NIKE and the development of WidSets, the precursor of the future mobile apps.
THE FILM AND TELEVISION YEARS
In between startups, Inma was contracted as a digital scientist by TV and film production companies looking to create digital content via omnichannel. She worked closely with film directors, producers, commissioners and brands looking to fund film projects. In 2008 Inma produced a section of the London Film Festival in collaboration with mix-media think-tank Power To The Pixel, to evangelise on the importance of creating stories for brands that audiences could engage with and co-create with.
CREATING HUMAN-CENTRIC DIGITAL PRODUCTS
Likewise, Inma worked as Human Factors specialist - an ergonomics approach to create human-centric design, in a variety of projects for FMCGs and design and architecture firms.
public wifi networks and SMART CITIES "FIT FOR HUMANS TO LIVE IN"
In 2002 Inma began to create awareness in the industry and with local authorities to promote the expansion of digital networks to rural areas and the need to provide free connectivity in cities as part of the infrastructure of public services. Her efforts jumped to centre stage when, as CEO of an innovation agency, she decided to open the office wifi to the public, allowing people sitting in the nearness of her offices in central London to access the Internet for free. The BBC gave this event coverage and declared that the company the first company in the UK to offer an open Wifi node. This stunt allowed Inma to continue pushing for the democratisation of internet access and eventually had her working in smart city projects in Europe and Brazil alongside local councils and companies such as Cisco, IBM, ARUP and Atos. Her work in smart cities develops approaches to "how to create mental health in the cities of the future", how to create inclusive communities in both digital and physical spaces, and how spaces are conducive to increase creativity in humans.
GOVERNMENT ADVISORY AND DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS
In November 2005 Inma was mandated to deliver the man keynote at the UK Presidency of the European Union Closing Gala Dinner. Her speech revealed the UK’s vision of Europe’s digital future and the many milestones that, to Inma's mind, the member states would have to accomplish to pave the way to Europe’s digitalisation and technology leadership. This opportunity translated into a long-term collaboration between Inma and the various EU Commissioners dealing with Information Technology and Media and has allowed Inma to become a trusted voice in the European Parliament as an expert in digitalisation.
In 2010 the British government selected 50 business leaders to become business ambassadors of the UK Trade & Investment agency. Inma was one of them, thus embarking on a diplomatic path that has taken her across countries as a good will speaker and representative of the entrepreneurial and technological prowess of the United Kingdom. She was part of the British mission to the Shanghai World Expo in 2010, and supported British embassies in Croatia, Spain and Brazil in promoting British trade.