Founder & CEO | Maidthorn (Marquee TV, CountryLine & ScinTch)
Simon Walker is a founder, investor and advisor working where the creative industries meet digital technology. Simon’s vehicle, Maidthorn Partners, is a specialist mediatech incubator for global passion niches. Founded in 2008, and with offices in London, New York and Los Angeles, the Maidthorn group are venture builders supported by an elite global network of over 150 senior experts across media, music, arts, fashion, publishing, entertainment, sports and technology.
In a world of serial entrepreneurs working with broad portfolio VCs, Simon is proud to take a different approach he calls ‘parallel entrepreneurship’ – building a family of related ventures that leverage the brightest and best in the Maidthorn network. And in a venture environment that remains overwhelming male, Maidthorn is proud that all their ventures have female founders and female investors. #MadeByMaidthorn.
Maidthorn is passionate about building valuable digital-first brands in global content-led niches. The group originates, incubates and launches new ventures – some with partners, some on their own. Examples of Maidthorn teams ‘super-serving the under-served’ include Love Home Swap, the world’s leading home exchange platform (acquired by Wyndham Worldwide in August 2017 for $53m), and CountryLine, the global fan club app for country music (backed by Sir Elton John).
Marquee TV is Maidthorn’s latest venture – described by the Financial Times as ‘Netflix for the arts’ and by the New York Times as ‘a cornucopia of dance, music and theatre’. The Marquee TV founders believe that arts and culture fans have been neglected in the streaming revolution and launched Marquee TV with a mission to build the global brand for arts on demand.
With Maidthorn’s expertise and experience in global niches and growth ventures, Simon and his team also support strategy and development for a diverse portfolio of clients – from the most successful global media and technology groups to the most disruptive digital challengers. Simon’s is an accomplished innovator with over twenty-five years’ experience in the digital and creative industries. As leader of the global strategy & business development functions at the BBC, EMI Music and EMAP plc, Simon was at the heart of the media and entertainment business’s transformation to digital in the 90s and 00s. At the BBC he was the first head of on demand media, leading the team that developed iPlayer. At EMI Music he championed a consumer-centric approach to music, pioneering the embrace of subscription services. At EMAP, he oversaw the strategy for the successful sale of its rich portfolio of mainstream and niche brands to Bauer Media in 2008.
Simon holds an MA from Keble College, Oxford and lives in central London and coastal Dorset with his wife Kirsty, and their three daughters.