Chairman David Murray-Hundley Director of the year finalist
With one of the most eclectic careers known to man, we’re really proud and excited to announce that E Fundamentals’ chairman David Murray-Hundley is a finalist for the very prestigious Director of the year Award by the Institute of Directors.
David is most notably known for co-founding the 1st B2B e-procurement business solution which was acquired by Chase Manhattan bank during the dotcom boom in the 90s. Since then, he has exited highly successful businesses and gone on to advise numerous tech companies such as Ferrari, Crowdstacker, Brabham, Borrow my Doggy, FUBE, Mcado and My training Passport to name a few.
Here we spend a few minutes with him to find out what changes he has witnessed in the world of business, how business leaders can help their companies thrive in times of uncertainty and what is it about E Fundamentals that led him to be nominated for such an accolade...
What drew you to E Fundamentals?
Number of reasons. One, the first time I met (CEO) John I asked if he could sell something and prove people wanted to buy it. He did. The board have a lot of experience and that's something I had a great deal of respect for. The FMCG space was out of my comfort zone and that's a good thing and I was up for that challenge. But upmost we have something special and the ingredients to be super successful.
What are you most proud about E Fundamentals?
Wow where to start! I'm proud that we haven't taken the easy route to success. I'm proud of watching our team grow and you can spot the rock stars. I'm proud that no matter what, we all have each others back. Loyalty can be a rare thing in early stage companies and we have a lot of loyalty.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges that businesses face today?
Lots of noise. Sadly noise can block those companies that 'actually' have a real product and are 'actually' making money. Media in the UK seems to push to the front these companies as being amazing and frankly most of them (I speak to them a lot) are just smoke and mirrors. Touching on the loyalty side, companies at the moment struggle with churn rate of staff. Terms and conditions. The simplest things make employees happy.
I see a lot of companies especially at an early stage or when scaling up, struggle with financial management. I also hear a lot of talk about customer service; they have a concept of customer service but don't execute it.
Consumers are a lot more complex than they have ever been. We have a generation that doesn't remember life without smartphones, Google and social media and the expectations are far different from maybe those in their 30's and 40's etc.
What can business leaders do to overcome these challenges?
Take on board.
Don't reinvent the wheel. Look at what others have done you are not the first to do this.
CEO John Maltman recently talked about companies needing to adopt an agile approach to business. How can businesses start to do this and what are the benefits?
For so long Agile has been a 'tech' thing but it can actually fit every part of your business. The benefit is you can fail quickly
Change is good, not a challenge.
Agile has speed to fit your agenda. For too long people have taken a project waterfall approach based on assumptions on what they need in six or 12 months time. The reality is that it’s really hard to judge and deliver against this. Why spend days qualifying a deal when you can get a bunch of people in a room for one hour and pretty much figure out what needs to happen.
Also, Agile promotes an attitude of just do it. Worse case you fail, but better to fail than not even try. No company, no person is perfect and for me Agile says, if you want to go do something, then just go for it.
Throughout all the companies you've built and led, what has been your biggest learning?
Don't be an island. I spent most of my 20s as an island and whilst it might bring success initially, it has a lot more negatives. Money doesn't fix things and can be gone in a moment. Many companies, founders and boards think throwing cash at a challenge will fix things, throwing cash at a company will fix things. In some cases it might and even that will be for the short term. In most cases it does not.
It's a small world and always doing things by the book will haunt you later. I still know people who remember me at 21 years of age, sitting in meetings like the quiet guy I was and all these years later, I know I can pick up the phone to them and they would help, as I would for them. The days of 80's, 90s corporate hard arse, politics management and running a business for me are becoming obsolete. But also everything stays in public domain these days and everyone is far more connected so if you do something stupid, even if it was 20 years ago, can still haunt you.
Lastly, we can talk about great leaders and founders but frankly nothing happens for good without the team to deliver.
What does the future hold for E Fundamentals?
In many ways we are at the start of our ambitious journey. We are moving towards building foundations of the company in different countries and dealing with different verticals. We have future business leaders in our company. I look forward to seeing these people move up through the business. In the future I can see E Fundamentals becoming part of a bigger machine.
The time is now and we have one shot. We will have challenges but show me a company that doesn't. We have some great ingredients as a company and a team and we don’t want to fail and we certainly don’t want to come in second place. We like winning which is why we’re in the business to help our clients win online.
David Murray-Hundley, Chariman E Fundamentals
An experienced advisor and mentor in both seed-stage and growth companies. David has exited several highly successful businesses that including the 1st B2B e-procurement solution which resulted in the business being acquired by Chase Manhattan bank.
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