Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Camden Man Casts His Net Far and Wide

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Camden Man Casts His Net Far and Wide

Article excerpt

Byline: ERIC ELLIS

IT'S A LONG WAY from Lil Castle's pie, mash and jellied eels shop in Camden to the new economy in Singapore, but Londoners Eddie Barber, Mark Brimblecombe and Colin Miles have made the transition.

Camden native and onetime truck driver Barber rues the passing of a weekly visit to the shop, but says running one of Asia's sharpest e-commerce solutions companies, Net Megastore, is compensation enough.

"Is the food better here?" asks Barber. "That's a tough one. You can take the boy out of London but not London out of the boy."

The trio run Net Megastore in a building that is all sharp edges in trendy industrial grey and the banter between the Londoners involves memories of great football cup finals.

But these are no misty-eyed expatriates wistfully evoking the "old country".

As Asian technology start-ups fall about them like ninepins, Net Megastore is exporting British knowhow from the Far East back to Britain.

Net Megastore began life two years ago as one of Asia's first online CD retailers, discvault.com.

Ealing-born Brimblecombe, 34, and Barber, 44, are logistics experts who moved to Asia in the mid-1990s, managing shipments around the region for courier service TNT.

By 1999, Brimblecombe was getting restless. A music fan fascinated by amazon.com's takeoff in the US, Brimblecombe saw an advantage in starting Asia's first business-to-commerce music retailer and ran it part-time while holding his TNT day job.

HeHe remembers being at Hong Kong's Rugby Sevens, sitting next to his visiting boss who happened to be reading a magazine profile of disc-vault.com. "He was very good about it," says Brimblecombe. "He said 'Mark, it looks like you've got a big decision to make.'" decided to bail out of TNT, ploughing his life savings into discvault.com and bringing friends Miles and Barber with him. …

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