Our idea

We believe in the power of professional communities and networks. The chance to share and learn from each other. To get better at our chosen craft and raise professional standards.

And we believe this sense of belonging and mutual self-help is beneficial and enjoyable.

This is a basic human need and it exists now as it did at the time of the medieval guilds. What did not exist then, of course, were mobile phones and the internet.

Mobile messaging is exploding in use. But the available apps are not fit for professional use, not private enough, too difficult to use.

Our idea is to re-invent the idea of guilds and deliver private professional networking for the mobile age.

Our founders

Guild was co-founded by Ashley Friedlein and Matthew O’Riordan.

Ashley and Matthew are successful serial internet entrepreneurs who have worked together on three businesses: Econsultancy, Ably and now Guild.

Ashley Friedlein

CEO & Founder

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Matthew O’Riordan

Technical Adviser & Co-founder

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Our advisory board

Professor Robin Dunbar
Emeritus Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, Magdalen College, University of Oxford

Robin Dunbar is a world-renowned psychologist and author best known for his work in evolutionary psychology, and in particular for the concept of the Dunbar Number, which proposes a cognitive limit for humans of around 150 stable relationships at any one time.

His research focuses on the evolution of sociality in primates and other mammals. This has involved understanding the constraints on social group size, and the strategies that different species exploit to break through the glass ceilings these impose.

His books include:

Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language, Faber & Faber, 1996
The Trouble with Science, Harvard University Press, 1996
How Many Friends Does One Person Need? Dunbar’s Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks, Faber & Faber, 2010
The Science of Love and Betrayal, Faber & Faber, 2012

Robin says:

“Over the years, I've been approached by many networking start-ups, but I have always declined to be involved because they all seemed to be simple market-places and lack any sense of a social dimension.

Guild is in a different league precisely because its focus is small scale and intensely social and pays much closer attention to the way natural human groups are organised.”

Professor Julia Hobsbawm OBE

Julia Hobsbawm is an internationally-noted Social Health pioneer and the author of Fully Connected, shortlisted both for the CMI’s Management Book of the Year and Business Book of the Year in 2018.

Julia has defined Social Health as the antidote to the Age of Overload for business, government and individuals. Her ideas are featured by the World Economic Forum and The OECD.

She is also a keynote speaker and consultant, an Honorary Visiting Professor at Cass Business School; the editor-at-large of Arianna Huffington’s portal Thrive Global; a columnist for PWC’s Strategy + Business magazine and a frequent media commentator.

She also founded the knowledge networking company Editorial Intelligence, the ideas conference Names Not Numbers, the media Comment Awards and Brexit response Networking Nations. She now executive-produces and co-presents the podcast series Human and the Machine.

Julia says:

“Guild is the first app dedicated to creating meaningful networks which has caught my interest and I’m hugely excited to be involved at the outset. A human dimension to technology: that’s what we all need and want.

Annabel King

Annabel is an author and consultant who has led marketing and communications for a range of art and heritage clients including the Serpentine Gallery, Henry Moore Foundation, the National Art Collections Fund (The Art Fund), and the South London Gallery.

As part of leading arts PR consultancy Bolton and Quinn she worked on the launch of Tate Modern and in support of other clients including Rambert Dance Company, English National Opera, and the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

Annabel is the author of Pre-Raphaelites and their Followers (Brockhampton Press) and is a recent graduate of Curtis Brown Creative’s novel-writing programme.

She is co-founder of art profiling consultancy Detail and of the Cambridge Student Photography Awards, and was on the founding committee of the Renaissance Photography Prize.

A LAMDA associate, she co-established charity theatre company Wren Productions in 2007, and fundraises for the Cornwall Community Foundation and autism charity ADD-Vance.

Annabel says:

"It’s interesting to look at the way spaces help us offer the best of ourselves to each other, whether these are digital or otherwise. We connect better if our surroundings support it. With that in mind, Guild’s team worked with Jamie Watson and Studio Small to create a rich and considered environment for Members to communicate in."

Our purpose

To help professionals feel pride and fulfilment by sharing expertise with, and learning from, like-minded peers.

Our values

Curiosity – we’re always learning, we’re open-minded

Hunger – we’re ambitious, we can always get better

Integrity – we mean what we say, we do what we say