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Sara Murray

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Sara Murray's Social Links

Profile

Sara Murray is the serial entrepreneur behind several successful companies, including Confused.com, Ninah Consulting and Buddi. The British entrepreneur was born in Lancashire in November 1968, the third of four children. A spirited child, Murray landed her first job at six-years-old. When a village shop owner chose her 10-year-old brother over her for a paper route, he managed to placate the irate young Murray by letting her help out in the shop while her brother was out doing deliveries. After her first day of sorting magazines and tidying shelves, the shopkeeper asked her to come back the next, beginning a job the young Murray would hold for the next five years.

After graduating from Malvern Girls’ College, Murray proceeded to Oxford, where she read Physiology, Psychology and Philosophy at St. Hilda’s College. Before graduation, Murray had an offer for a position at a big consulting firm in London, but an advertisement for another opportunity caught her eye. An American company was seeking applicants to help them expand into Europe by setting up an office in the UK. The company flew Murray and five others to Chicago for training, and then relocated them back to the UK to set up shop. The actual job was far less glamorous than it seemed, however, so when Murray spotted an opportunity to write some efficiency-increasing code, she presented it to her superiors. When her bosses declined the idea, Murray decided to do it herself – and her first business, Ninah, was born.

The young company proved successful. When the High Court ruled in her favor after she was sued by her former employer, Murray contacted all of the major pharmaceutical companies to inform them of her former employer’s attempt to knock her off the market. The move turned out to be a smart one, and her company began working with sixteen of the top twenty pharmaceutical firms in the world. Soon they were working with huge major brands, including Coca-Cola and Masterfoods.

Around this time, through doing extensive work with Norwich Union, Murray started to learn the ins-and-outs of the insurance business. She concluded that by investing in creating an online marketplace rather than on television advertising, insurance companies could substantially decrease their marketing costs. The board at Norwich Union, however, refused to work with competitors, so Murray decided to create the marketplace herself. The resulting site, Confused.com, quickly proved the genius of Murray’s thinking, boasting more than 250,000 customers in its first 18 months.

After selling Confused.com to Admiral in 2003, and Ninah to Publicis not long after, Murray considered retirement. The prolific entrepreneur soon stumbled upon another idea, however. Inspired by the distressing experience of temporarily losing her young daughter in a supermarket, she started looking into tracking devices to help locate children in similar situations. While she discovered a US company that was building a GPS watch, the technology could yet be used outside the US. Murray decided to build the product herself, putting together a team and designing the first buddi devices in 2005. The product she created was highly successful – but not with the predicted audience. Rather than parents, buddi has been most in demand with caretakers of older people. By 2012, more than 200 UK councils were using buddi to help track dementia patients and the elderly, and close to half of the police forces in England and Wales were using the devices to track recently released offenders.

In addition to her own endeavors, Murray works to foster entrepreneurship in the UK and Europe as a member of the British Government’s Technology Strategy Board and a founding member of entrepreneur-support organization Seedcamp. She’s been the recipient of numerous accolades, not least of which is appointment to Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to entrepreneurship and innovation. A qualified helicopter pilot, Murray spends her spare time taking to the skies.

Companies and Investments

buddi (Founder, Chief Executive), Confused.com (Founder), Ninah Consulting (Founder)

Innovate UK (Member of the Governing Board), Vince Cable’s Entrepreneur’s Forum (Member), The White Ensign Association (Council Member), Technology Strategy Board (Board Member), Seedcamp (Founding Member)


Lessons Learned

I tend to delegate, which is quite unusual for an entrepreneur as most of us are very OCD. But you have to be able to let people who are better than you do the things that they are good at. That's something my mentor told me 15 years ago. (Murray on delegating, in Director)

There are so many strategic decisions you have to make in business and it's like Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken – there are two paths and you'll never know what the answer will be but as long as the path you take isn't completely stupid you'll be OK. (Murray in trusting your decisions, in Director)


Inspiring Quotes

Sara Murray's Quotes

Innovation comes from small businesses, and good businesses grow by small incremental improvements.

Sara Murray

I didnt have much money, so couldnt waste any.

Sara Murray

As Nike has said, just do it. The only way is to really have a go.

Sara Murray

Influential Books

Mentors

References


Technical

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