The man who knows how to make a splash

MONEY and recognition motivates me,” Tim Weller, the founder of Incisive Media tells me. “Oh and passing on what I’ve learnt to other entrepreneurs. I just think if I’d know what I know now, I would have got here much faster. That’s why I’m speaking at the City A.M. and Entrepreneurs World Conference.”

THE RISE OF INCISIVE MEDIA
Weller started Incisive Media in 1995 and grew it into the £100m turnover publishing company it is today. It wasn’t a smooth ride for him, though. Tim started the business with little capital, a house in negative equity and three children under five years old.

Weller explains: “I was sort of forced into starting it. I had taken a job at Reuters to launch a business-to-business publishing arm, but it quickly became apparent that they had mis-sold me the job. I was too old to be working for anyone else, so I took the cheque I managed to get from them and started Incisive Media.”

The Incisive Media business connects buyers and sellers of financial products through business-to-business publications, owning many well-known financial titles such as Investment Week, Accountancy Age and Professional Adviser.

HIT HARD IN THE RECESSION
The company was hit hard in the recession. “Being a business that’s sustained by advertising – and advertising in the financial sector no less – 2008-9 were very difficult years.” The company was highly leveraged when the crisis struck. In 2007 it had spent nearly £700m on acquisitions in just eight months. Weller had to restructure the company, cutting an equity swap with the bank to stay afloat.

“We’re smaller but more profitable now. We had to go back to our entrepreneurial knitting. I’m not interested in acquisitions any more, or aiming to be a FTSE company. I want to be known for selling high quality content.”

Weller says he has never regretted starting the business: “My wife had her doubts. I had some too. But even during the worst days of 2008-9, it always felt worthwhile getting out of bed to run the company.”

INVESTOR BY NIGHT
Weller now also acts as an investor. “Incisive is my day job, where most of my passion and energy goes, but I think I’d go mad if I couldn’t have my hand in other businesses too. Funding can be difficult for many entrepreneurs to get their hands on at the moment, I want to do my bit to help.”

Tim Weller will be speaking at the City A.M. and Entrepreneurs World conference on 22 June. Visit www.cityam-helix.com for more information.

CV | TIM WELLER
Company name: Incisive Media

Company turnover: £100m

Number of staff: 800

Job title: Group Chief Executive

Age: 50

Born: London

Lives: Knightsbridge and Leicestershire

Studied: Zoology, University of Wales, Cardiff

Drinking: Calon-Segur St Estephe 2000

Reading: Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich

Idol: Ian Botham

Talents: Skateboarder

Favourite business book: Liar’s Poker

Awards: Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2001, Marcus Morris Award 2005

Motto: “Don’t be a busy fool”

First ambition: “To score a 100 at Lords”