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People: Mark Collier, Chairman and CEO, Investia

People: Clare Marshall, former treasurer, Export Development Corporation

People: Tiina Lee, Head of EMTNs, Deutsche Bank

Mark Collier

In October 1998, Mark Collier left his job, rented a basement in the City of London with former colleague Ron Lay, and stepped aboard the e-business bandwagon by founding Investia. "Why," he says, posing himself the question, "at the age of 44 did I give up my job as president of Charles Schwab Europe? Because in two years we'll be Britain's largest software company in terms of turnover and the largest provider of web-enabled technology for the financial services industry in Europe."

Such brazen statements may be the norm for internet entrepreneurs but they do not appear to come naturally to Collier, who seems a little uneasy talking about himself. I hazard that if his prophecy comes true, his name will become as familiar as that of his former boss. He looks horrified.

He is, though, enthusiastic when he talks about his "team", and exhibits touching wonderment at the skills and lifestyles of his software designers in California.

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