Sarah Wood does not see herself moving away from East London any time soon.
The entrepreneur has lived by Victoria Park for almost 20 years and launched her hugely successful video ad tech company, Unruly, in the Old Truman Brewery.
“East London continues to be the most original, characterful and quirky place,” she says. “I am constantly inspired while walking around this area – by the street art, the shop displays and the independent businesses.”
Creativity drives her work. In 2006, she co-founded Unruly with Scott Button and Matt Cooke.
“The social web was beginning to explode around this time,” she says. “We noticed that people were no longer just using the web for information, they were using it to share ideas and content and to be creative and collaborative.”
They decided to start a business to help brands make their video adverts go viral.
“The digital landscape was unruly. We wanted to show brands how to navigate that unruliness,” she explains.
The entrepreneurial vision hit its target. Unruly is behind some of the most iconic video adverts of the past ten years. The Unruly software made Dove’s Real Beauty sketches and Evian’s Roller Babies go viral. The company now has offices in 20 countries worldwide and works with 90 per cent of the top 100 brands.
Sarah says she loves the freedom she enjoys as an entrepreneur. “You enjoy creative autonomy as you are able to build your own product. As a founder you create your own work culture,” she says.
“I take a very integrated approach towards work and home – I bring my children into work and invite my colleagues to my home. The company is an extension of the family.”
What makes you most proud?
My proudest Unruly moment so far has been getting into the Guinness Book of World Records, twice. The first time was when Evian’s Roller Babies campaign appeared as the Most Viewed Video Ad of All Time in 2010, and then we did it again in 2013 with Dove’s Beauty Sketches – it was viewed 134,265,061 times!
Where do you hang out in East London?
Victoria Park, London Fields and Hackney Wick.
Best coffee in these parts?
Doppio on Hanbury Street.
Fish House on Lauriston Road for supper, Bistrotheque on Wadeson Street for brunch and Sodo on Upper Clapton Road for pizza.
How has the area changed?
It’s a lot busier, with some parks seeing huge investment. The Hackney Marathon is also a great new addition to the events calendar.
Anything you would change?
East London is always changing, and that’s the source of its energy.
The area’s best-kept secret?
I’ve been meaning to get down to the model boating club at Victoria Park – but waking up early on Sunday mornings can be challenging!
If East London were human?
It would be Tinie Tempah – energetic, not afraid to break the rules.
East London in a word?