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Hall of Fame / FreshMinds


Caroline and Charlie

Caroline Plumb & Charlie Osmond
FreshMinds Limited
London, UK

Applying the best minds to undertake important business research for some of the world’s leading companies is what makes this knowledge business tick.

Caroline and Charlie met at Oxford University while studying for degrees in Engineering, Economics and Management and, on graduating, decided to turn down the offer of high-flying careers with a leading London based management consultancy firm, to start their own business.

The concept behind the launch of FreshMinds, in 2000, was to connect the smart people they knew directly with the business world in order to become the world’s most respected research and recruitment consultancy.

Without any major commitments at the time, the enterprising duo viewed starting a business as a relatively low risk option, and in fact set out with the mindset that their company was either going to be a massive success or a massive failure, but that it certainly would not be just “OK”.

Caroline and Charlie started their business from a room in Charlie’s parents’ house with no contacts, no experience and only US $800 (GBP £500) between them. Thirteen years later, FreshMinds has built a network of over 25,000 “Minds”; a group of the sharpest analysts, consultants and researchers in Europe. Minds work with FreshMinds Research to fulfil briefs for clients; they also make up the candidate pool FreshMinds Talent draws on to find outstanding executives, graduates and interim consultants. The business now employs over 100 full time staff, has a turnover of £10m and has been named as one of the 100 best small companies to work for by the UK national newspaper, “The Sunday Times”.

In 2002, FreshMinds won the £1,000 top prize at the London Shell LiveWIRE final and went on to win a further £2,000 award, in recognition of the company’s ‘outstanding employment potential’, at the prestigious Shell LiveWIRE UK final. Commenting on their Shell LiveWIRE success, Caroline said, “It gave us an important boost at an early stage of our development, and confirmed that we had an innovative business model. Shell LiveWIRE saw that the business had employment potential in those early days, and I’m delighted that we have proved them right.”

One of the boldest and best business decisions the pair have made was in the early days when Caroline went to their biggest customer and doubled their prices. Although scary, it proved to be absolutely the right move. They had fallen into the trap that many start ups do of not properly valuing their service and consequently undercharging. The customer responded by ordering more of their services at the higher prices, valued and respected their service more highly, and started to recommend the business to more of their contacts. In turn, FreshMinds were able to offer even better quality work at the new price level, which led to more business.

FreshMinds is currently focussing on the digital and data space. With a mission to redefine both the research and recruitment industries, they are pioneering innovative research methods and data analytics, blending insight, consultancy and digital techniques and customer, social and enterprise data sources in order to drive value and growth for their clients.


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