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Mark Davies

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Born to a Welsh father and South African mother in Cardiff, Wales, Mark studied at Downside, a Benedictine school in Somerset, and graduated in Social Anthropology from Cambridge in '86. He had already backpacked from Nairobi to London at 18, but visited New York after University and ended up living in the United States for twelve years. Beginning as a busboy at Tommy Tangs in Tribeca, Mark worked as a scriptwriter for The Travel Channel, a celebrity interviewer for the UK's Big Breakfast on Channel 4, and as a writer and editor for children's publishing, StageBill and 7 Days (a weekly guide to New York). In 1993 Mark setup his first enterprise, Sky Electronic Publishing, where he started designing and publishing directmail catalogs for companies like the Body Shop and Budweiser. Inspired by online publishing and the Internet, in 1995 he began Metrobeat, an award-winning online local guide that merged with California's CitySearch a year later. Together, Metrobeat and CitySearch setup cityguides in 70 cities over four countries. Moving back to the UK in 1998, he co-founded First Tuesday, an internet social networking phenonmenon, which spread to 120 cities in 5 continents, connecting entrepreneurs with investors and capturing the giddy spirit of the dotcom era. Eager to keep pushing boundaries, Davies used the funds from the sale of Metrobeat and First Tuesday to establish subsaharan Africa's largest private technology centre in Accra, Ghana: BusyInternet. Busy is a social investment, focussing incubation activities to promote the use of ICTs and best practices among small and medium size enterprises. Currently Mark is leading the Esoko initiative, which is registering farmers and traders throughout Africa and connecting them with eachother and international buyers through mobile alerts and services. He spends his time between homes in Bahia, London and Accra.

Esoko (2006 - present) founder/ceo
Pioneering market information exchange that allows farmers, traders, businesses and government to exchange critical commerical information via mobile phones in public or private networks. Focussed on improving how value chains operate in rural/informal sectors... aiming to improve revenues for the poorest. Currently developed in Accra, and used in 12 African countries. Winner of UN's WSIS award 2009.

BusyInternet (2001 - present) founder/chairman
Ex-bottling factory in Accra, Ghana converted into SME incubator, ISP, cybercafe, datacentre.

FirstTuesday (1998 - 2001) co-founder
A phenomenon during the dot-boom of the late 90s, Mark co-founded First Tuesday as a social networking offline event, where investors and entrepeneurs could network.

Metrobeat/Citysearch (1995 - 1998) co-founder
An award-winning city guide that was the first of its genre, and became the founding model and philosophy for CitySearch editorial city guides which is currently a leading group of city guides in the United States, and part of the IACI/Expedia group of companies..

sky electronic publishing (1993 - 1995) founder
Small desktop publishing initiative responsible for Body Shop, Budweiser etc. direct mail catalogs.

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