The writer’s challenge, having spent an hour with the brilliant Clare McKeeve, is how to condense that hour into a linear feature that can fit into a limited space. It’s no surprise then that the University of Glasgow law graduate come Chartered Accountant fellow, banker, investor, private equity doyenne and media board director should now be CEO of the world’s largest online community of creatives.
The other challenge is how to give justice to someone who rarely speaks publicly, a mother and stepmother of six with a blue riband corporate career and an entrepreneurial flair that is now, quite literally, harnessing the collective human creative spirit. And it’s only 9am on a Monday…
TLNT Holdings, which owns Talent House, Ello and Zooppa, is building the go-to hubs for four million designers, graphic artists and digital fundis from Venice Beach to remote villages in India. The concept is anything but linear. It’s organic. Evolving. Fizzing.
“I’m a process engineer at heart,” explained McKeeve, “I jumped into technology on behalf of a shareholder and now I oversee the largest creative department in the world.”
That department, which offers out and delivers creative genius for clients as impressive and diversified as the UN and Warner Brothers to Huawei and Microsoft, extends across 195 countries; connecting talent to projects with growing opportunities to mentor, educate and teach entrepreneurial skills to a global creative community previously restricted by location and background.
“Our team of 35 can reach over four million,” added McKeeve,“with one million of them being purely creative. Their work has been used by Porsche, Nike, Procter and Gamble and the UN’s COVID campaign.
“Essentially we have democratised the whole creative industry. It now no longer matters where you live, where you were born, who you know.
“It’s about talent and quality of work and that’s massively empowering. It’s the ultimate meritocracy in content creation and only through technology could we be able to deliver this.”
In a corporate career that started at UBS Warburg and KPMG then moved via Objectivity Partnership to Macquarie Group, where she finished as an MD, Clare embarked on an entrepreneurial life that included a luxury brand portfolio, Luxcite, and as Founding Partner of Aletheia Partners was nominated by eFinancial News twice: once for Deal of the Year and then again for German Private Equity Fund of the Year with Enterprise Value for investments made by the firm exceeding €2 billion.
As MD of Eaton Gate Capital for the past eighteen years she has been a private capital advisor to large private clients with projects including capital raising advice on large luxury retail developments, financial services and asset management for sovereign clients. Projects to date for the Group have exceeded €9 billion with geographic coverage ranging from the US, Europe, Middle East and Australia. One of these featured the Louvre development in Abu Dhabi. Like I said, blue riband.
“I’m very privileged.” She explained. “Firstly, I have happy kids, that’s the most important thing. My ethos has always been to work bloody hard and be kind.
“To me, it’s about finding what you love and then finding ways of making money out of it. For Talenthouse, creatives don’t get into the industry to pay the bills, they do it out of passion for what they do. So for us it’s how do you build that enterprisation of talent, plugging into the passion economy and finding what you really love.”
For a self-declared process manager from a corporate career that psychometrically tested their employees we’re moving into visionary territory. A vision that now sees Talenthouse globally partnered with Snapchat and exploring vertical banking through the platform.
“Technology is phenomenal but it has to work and be useable.” She adds. “It needs a human layer over the top as it’s about telling a story. How do you create that story? You can’t just burp words on a page. A page needs crafting, then you automate, learn and aggregate.
“Technology speeds things up and there’s the powerful sustainability angle; you don’t need to be on planes anymore. It’s incredibly democratising.”
On which note in September McKeeve will be launching Club House in partnership with the Design and Technology Association allowing brands to pitch briefs and partner with schools. The impacts of this are limitless for the creative industry, not only unlocking the potential of budding creatives whose works are largely restricted to art class walls but also getting across the hearts and minds of the next generation. A generation who brand owners really have no clue about.
And all this from a woman with six children and half a dozen jobs. “I got on with it,” she explained. “I work hard and I made my own opportunities, which can be challenging when you’re a working mum.
“I really believe that women excel. We’re efficient, we’re organised and we talk less and listen more. I really think we need to forgive ourselves if we’re working too and sometimes can’t fit it all in.
“Don’t dwell. Get on with it. Keep moving forward.”