Alastair Mitchell shows up a bit late to our lunch at the Hoxton Grill in London's East End. He apologises and explains he'd run into an old friend in the area. As we sit down for lunch, Mitchell tells me about a great new steakhouse that has opened up around the corner - The Tramshed if you're wondering. Good value and cuts of beef that compare with some of London's best steakhouses, he says. He's clearly a regular. Not just to the restaurants of East End London, but to the whole Tech City area.
Mitchell needs little introduction to those who follow the start-up world closely, but for those unaware, he's chief executive of Huddle, an online collaboration firm that pitches itself as an alternative to Microsoft Sharepoint, among others.
In this role he's used to welcoming people to the area and working as an unofficial ambassador for the entrepreneur initiative the government has been trying to evoke over the last couple of years. Huddle's name regularly appears along with the likes of Yammer, Moo, and Songkick as examples of London success stories and the government uses the firm to help it persuade other start-ups to set up base in London.
V3 met with Mitchell to find out what inspired him to set-up his own business, and what factors have been key in allowing him to create one of Tech City's most successful business software firms.
His career path is far from ordinary and started when Mitchell studied naval architecture as a degree at Southampton University.
After four years of sailing and designing ships and submarines, starting out as an entrepreneur in the IT industry was not an obvious next-step, but for Mitchell it was always a course he always intended to follow.
"I wanted to run my own business and change the world. I studied a lot of IT during my degree and was always interested in what was happening online," he says.
However Mitchell says the origins of his entrepreneurialism stem back to the time he spent with his grandfather aged five-years-old. His grandfather owned a civil engineering firm that built structures like the Humber Bridge.
"At Christmas, rather than giving me a present, my grandfather would give me a share of his company, and it felt cool as a kid - to own something and be part of it," says Mitchell.
"Huddle first started trading as Ninean Solutions, as we needed a name and we wanted to be inspired by a big idea," he adds.
The North Sea gas platform, the biggest concrete structure ever built, is based off the coast of Scotland and was one of Mitchell's grandfather's inventions.
"The platform sits on the sea floor and it's bigger than the Empire State Building. It's the biggest [concrete] thing in the [Guinness] Book of Records. It's also the biggest thing that floats," says Mitchell, still obviously proud of this heritage.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago