The head of Plexal is leaving the innovation centre behind to focus on new ventures supporting women leaders in technology and international innovation projects.
Claire Cockerton founded the London-based company in 2017. The site at Here East on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was designed and built in a record-breaking 12 months and opened by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
Since then Plexal has reached 65 per cent capacity, hosted world-issue hackathons, welcomed high-profile international CEOs and delivered innovation services to global brands.
It has grown a community of deep tech innovators and become a beacon of attractive, high-value innovation spaces designed to support entrepreneurs and large organisations to explore technology’s new frontiers.
“I always believed Plexal would be a success because of our inspirational location at the Olympic Park and the deep pool of technology talent in the UK – but the business has grown and stabilised faster than I had anticipated and it is now time for a new challenge,” said Cockerton.
“To overachieve on our targets in our first two years is a tribute to the talented, diverse and passionate team, which are ready to take the business forward into its next phase.
“This gives me the freedom to pursue new ventures – which will focus on supporting female leaders in technology and on bringing my experience in creating innovation centres to future international projects.”
A £13.5million deal for the London Cyber Innovation Centre has ensured that Plexal will be a fixture on the technology map for years to come.
Before joining Plexal, Cockerton co-founded a number of technology innovation projects including Level39, Innovate Finance, and Cognicity – each with a goal to encourage and support entrepreneurship and the development of new technology in very traditional sectors.
She believes more work needs to be done on addressing social bias, inequity in financing, discrimination of mothers and the common misappropriation of ideas and deliverables in the workplace.
Cockerton has also launched and run a number of initiatives promoting women in tech, including Plexiglass, an all-female accelerator programme for founders which offered content, support, mentoring and workspace facilities.
She also was the driving force behind Fin4Fem, a financing preparation programme, and a series of women in tech roundtables which sought to articulate and brainstorm around the problems women face in business.