Graffiti near our Brick Lane office

Graffiti near our Brick Lane office

VIDA’s two founders have one aim: to launch, build, incubate and accelerate the growth of new, niche digital media publishing brands. 

As serial entrepreneurs, they know what it takes to build a business and are bringing that knowledge and passion to VIDA. Their vision is to benefit not only business partners but the industry overall, and work as a force for good.   

It’s a vision borne of many years’ experience. Over the last three decades, Peter Cowley and Mark Maddox have been busy launching, managing, and selling digital media businesses. Back when social feeds and smart-phones were a glimmer in the collective eye, they were content pioneers. Both saw the potential for brands to capture audiences through digital content. 

They got to know each other through working on, of all things, the UK’s version of Big Brother, several years before each put a face to the name. In the 2000s Peter managed digital media at TV behemoth Endemol, using the services of Mark’s agency Que Pasa via its contract with Channel4. 

Peter recalls: “Big Brother was where Endemol and Channel4 could trial digital innovations including premium rate voting, mobile voting with short codes and mobile content/video clips. Que Pasa became their partner to deliver the mobile content.” 

By the 2010s, the two had become friends and collaborators via NESTA, where they were involved with the creative entrepreneur’s network, Peter as a mentor and Mark as a mentee. 

They also worked together at content marketing agency Seven, where Mark was MD and Peter’s company Spirit provided video production services. Mark explains, “Social video was becoming an important part of the Seven offering. We forged a valuable partnership with Peter’s agency Spirit Digital.” 

Both shared a grander vision: to support new niche businesses in digital publishing and the wider eco-system. In recognising that support was needed, VIDA began to take shape. 

Whatever the project, they value each other’s input. Says Mark, “Our relationship has been forged on a mutual inquisitiveness about future platforms and our love of content. Or maybe it’s just that we’re scared to get old… I do own a pair of Snapchat spectacles!” 

That curiosity and refusal to stand still has led to VIDA. As the name suggests – VIDA means life in Spanish – this is a business with a beating heart. Peter simply states, “We’re in the business of helping other businesses to grow.” 

The VIDA business model combines funding, support and commercialisation, enabling VIDA to support new, niche digital media businesses, and a number of not-for-profit ventures. 

Although the global digital media landscape remains in a state of flux, they wouldn’t have it any other way. Says Mark, “We’re all about this disruptive, constantly evolving space. We thrive on new business ideas and the energy of entrepreneurs.” 

VIDA is driven by what its founders share: purity of vision, confidence borne of experience, a boundless work ethic, and a desire to both innovate and do good. 

Now it’s time for everyone else to get involved. Choose VIDA.

Chloe Riess