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Felix Velarde founded one of the world's first web design agencies, Hyperinteractive, in 1994, and was co-founder of Head-Space, one of the first open creative galleries on the web. Forbes and Management Today included Head-Space in their lists of the world's ten most influential websites, with Management Today concluding that Head-Space "Created the blueprint for intranets everywhere - and Youtube." Velarde is currently on the central organising team of Vint Cerf's People-Centered Internet initiative.
An early specialist web design agency, Hyperinteractive created the first graphical websites for brands including Snickers and Allied Domecq, and created the first interactive awards productions for the Cannes Advertising Festival and D&AD. In 1997 he launched Head New Media with Creative Director Jason Holland. Head went on to become the digital arm of the world's fourth-largest advertising network, Interpublic's Lowe & Partners (now MullenLowe Profero) in 1998 and was the world's most awarded digital agency in 1999. Also in 1999, Velarde and Holland were the subject of Keeping Creative, an episode of BBC Knowledge's 15 part series, "The Crunch", profiling innovative entrepreneurs. An offshoot of Head, Interactive Television agency Head End, produced the first Interactive Television commercials for Tesco and Unilever and built the wapTV developer community for Sky.
In 1996 Velarde was a founder of an innovative strategy company, Underwired which led the growth of the discipline of eCRM building on the pioneering CRM work of Oracle's Mei Lin Fung et al. Having left Head New Media in 2001 he became Underwired's CEO, selling it to Hasgrove PLC in 2009. In 2012 he arranged an MBO and was Underwired's Chairman until selling his stake in 2014.
Velarde was also CEO of an agency roll-up The Conversation Group between 2013 and 2016. He is a Non-Executive Director of several agencies and start-ups and chairman of MomentumABM, which pioneered Account-Based Marketing.
While at Head New Media, Velarde and Holland sponsored a non-commercial online creative community, Head-Space, which incubated prominent community websites including Urban75 and John Lundberg et al.'s Circlemakers.org. Employees at Head New Media were given one day a week to work on Head-Space (the founders of Urban75 and Circlemakers both worked at Head New Media in the 1990s), but contributors came from all over the world. Featured in the travelling exhibition Digital Archaeology since 2010, Head-Space is recognised as a digital artefact of considerable historic and cultural relevance.
From 2006-2008 Velarde was a sponsor of the UK's prototype personal carbon trading system, CarbonDAQ, a project being led by leading Left-leaning think tank the Royal Society of Arts, of which he is a Fellow.
In 2015 Velarde became a member of Innovation For Jobs (i4j) Leadership Forum, a Silicon Valley-based think tank chaired by co-founder of the Internet Vint Cerf, and David Nordfors. Other participants include former CEO of SRI International Curtis Carlson, Lord Jim Knight, Robin Farmanfarmaian and Steve Denning.
Since 2016 he has been on the Organizing Team of the People-Centered Internet project chaired by Vint Cerf and co-founded by Mei Lin Fung (who invented CRM while at Oracle), which aims to ensure that the Internet's roll-out to developing and emerging countries is guided by principles of People-centered development rather than commercial focus. The organization works closely with IEEE, World Economic Forum, World Bank Group, The White House and others.
Industry and Teaching
Velarde is a Fellow of the Institute of Direct & Digital Marketing, and is an educator, speaker, writer and widely published commentator on digital marketing and marketing industry development issues. Until 2015 he was an Adjunct Professor lecturing on Hult International Business School's MBA and Masters in International Marketing programs. In 2013 Velarde was a contributing author to two books on marketing strategy including Multichannel Marketing Ecosystems. He has been an Awards Judge for the Direct Marketing Association, New York Festivals, British Interactive Media Association and Drum Awards for Digital Industries. Velarde has given keynote speeches on the topics of business management and M&A and has organized three conferences in the UK and USA on agency M&A.
Velarde attended Richmond upon Thames College. He is a qualified glider (sailplane) pilot at Cotswold Gliding Club, and a member of London's Groucho Club. In 2016 Velarde gave the second talk of the festival at Burning Man's Center Camp stage on the subject of "Practicing Serendipity, and Just Saying Yes."
- Marketing Design Award for Best Use of the Internet 1996
- MacUser Maxine for Best Online Community 1996
- Cannes CyberLion for Best Online Community (Head-Space with Jason Holland) 1999
- BIMA Award for Best Use of Email 2006
- Direct Marketing Association Golds 2006, 2007
- Cream Top 100 Innovators 2010
- UK Top 100 Digerati 2013
Velarde has been profiled in the following articles:
- Management Today: Entrepreneur Q&A: Felix Velarde, Underwired
- Business Matters: Felix Velarde
- Campaign: Profile - Felix Velarde
- Business XL: Backchat - Felix Velarde
- The Cream 100 Top Innovators, 2010-04-03
- Hyperinteractive launches Underwired, 1996-05-09
- "Underwired co-founder Felix Velarde departs following Gratterpalm integration". The Drum. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
- "Our People". People Centered Internet. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
- ECRM Strategy courses at Institute of Direct Marketing
Absolute Essentials of E-Marketing courses at Institute of Direct Marketing
Successful Creativity in Direct Marketing courses at Institute of Direct Marketing
- Digital Marketing Show, London 2013
CRM Panel organised by Oxford Brookes University's Academy of Marketing SIG on Customer Engagement with support from Henley Business School
- Changing Brand Perception Customer Experience Magazine
Total Customer Engagement Internet Retailing 2013-07-07
Total Customer Engagement Through Personalisation Business Matters
Do One Thing Well MyCustomer.com
- Various articles from the NMA archive 2007-2012
In Search of a Fourth Dimension in Segmentation World Advertising Research Center, Admap, May 2011, pp. 16-18
Dear Prudence, Can You Come Out to Play? Precision Marketing October 2008
Email, eCRM and the Prospects for Recession World Advertising Research Center, Admap, April 2008, Issue 493, pp.55-56
ECRM is the way forward New Media Age, 2007-13-12
Targeting by Trevor Clawson, Revolution Magazine, 2007-11-01
Agency procurement is a collaboration, not a conflict by Felix Velarde, New Media Age, 2007-18-01
Procurement followup by Michael Nutley, editor, New Media Age, 2007-02-01
Growth of Blogs sees same mistakes of the web's heyday by Felix Velarde, New Media Age, 2005-20-10
"Why internet sites don't make sense for every product" by Felix Velarde, Marketing, 2001-26-01
"The Appliance of Plain English" by Felix Velarde, Financial Times, 2001-13-03
"Creating a climate for success" by Felix Velarde, New Media Creative, 1999-25-06
"Survival of the fittest" speech at the Brand Building on the Internet conference, Earl's Court, 1997-11-12
"Looking for a New England" by Felix Velarde, New Media Age, 1997-09-09
- Multi-Channel Marketing Ecosystems Markus Ståhlberg & Ville Maille (editors), Kogan Page (publisher; 2013-28-11) ISBN 978-0749469627; ISBN 0749469625
Fifty Shades of Marketing Francesca James, Hannah Durham (editors), Bookboon (publisher; 2013-17-10)
- "Brief Encounters main speaker announced as Momentum ABM chairman, Felix Velarde". The Drum. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
- "PlayaEvents : 2016 Event - Practicing Serendipity: Say 'Yes' & what happens". playaevents.burningman.org. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
- The Drum Top 100 Digerati