artina King is excellent at many things. One thing she’s failed at so far, is swapping her highflying corporate career for a life of leisure in the countryside. After running Yahoo! in Europe for several years, and having accumulated a portfolio of non executive roles, she’d resolved to move to Suffolk in 2012, and dial down her professional commitments.
But that adjustment proved short-lived when the self-confessed “girl who can’t say no” was presented with the idea for Featurespace. Enthralled by the opportunity of taking an invention out of Cambridge and applying her commercial experience to develop it to its full potential, she found herself in the CEO’s seat and hasn’t looked back since.
Today Featurespace is a global frontrunner in fraud prevention and Highland Europe Partner Laurence Garrett, who sits on the board, attributes much of the company’s success to its leadership.
“Martina has been exceptional in creating a culture that shines out at Featurespace,” he says. “It’s this cultural integrity coupled with Martina’s sense of drive, purpose, and ambition that has really helped the Highland-Featurespace relationship to flourish.”
The early days weren’t always a smooth ride, but from the very beginning Martina has been adamant that she’s committed for the long haul. The prospect of applying everything she’d learned during her illustrious career so far was thrilling and she was confident from the get go that she was capable of creating something unique and innovative in the software industry.
David Excell, Founder.
Martina King, CEO.
Featurespace’s progression from consultancy to product undoubtedly benefited from Martina’s assertive direction. Her acumen honed the ingenuity provided by the Cambridge scientists and molded a great invention into something truly commercially viable.
Laurence first met Martina early into her role. “I remember thinking immediately that she’s an incredibly smart CEO,” he recalls. She made the same excellent first impression on Highland’s investment team, and the Featurespace deal was signed with solid conviction in 2017.
“A real sense of being on the same side feels so good – it’s not just a case of someone with money deciding if you’re worthy of it or not – these are genuine people, passionate about what we do and who we can talk to”— Martina, CEO, Featurespace
But belief and conviction have been mutual throughout the relationship. Martina recalls her early interactions with Highland as, “memorable and smart with a lovely style.” She’s consistently encouraged by the unwavering faith that Highland has demonstrated in her and her mission.
“A real sense of being on the same side feels so good – it’s not just a case of someone with money deciding if you’re worthy of it or not – these are genuine people, passionate about what we do and who we can talk to,” she says.
As well as choosing the right people to work with, Martina’s secrets to success are of humble simplicity: “have the confidence to admit when you don’t know the answers, and apply what you learn in the textbooks. Most people don’t do that,” she says. “But it really does work.”
Image credits: Featurespace.
“Martina has been exceptional in creating a culture that shines at Featurespace. It’s this cultural integrity coupled with her sense of drive, purpose, and ambition that has really helped the partnership to flourish.”— Laurence, Partner