Karen pursued a career in training and human resources, but at age 29 founded the IT staffing firm Mortimer Spinks. After selling the company to FTSE 250 Executive Search firm Harvey Nash in 1997, she bought and staffed a restaurant business in Fulham in 1998, which, coupled with a passion for food, inspired her to found Toptable.
Toptable (styled toptable but now re-branded as OpenTable) is an online restaurant booker covering the UK as well as major cities in Europe and New York City. It was founded by Karen in 2000 as a tool for restaurant owners to advertise their venues and book customers directly. Toptable sat over 1.5 million diners in 2006 when it completed its first full year.
Today, 2.3 million visitors view the Toptable website each month and, in February 2010, a dedicated Toptable iPhone app was launched.
Investors in Toptable include football manager Sir Alex Ferguson, celebrity chef Gary Rhodes and Diageo. In September 2010, toptable was acquired by competitor OpenTable for approximately 55 million USD.
Now based in Montreux, Switzerland, Karen is an active investor backing and supporting numerous internet start-ups, fledgling businesses and other entrepreneurs. She is currently an Investment Partner at ProfoundersCapital and investor in JustAddRed, where her investments include Hire Space and Pets Pyjamas, the number one online destination for stylish pets and their owners.
Karen was awarded an MBE in 2010. Karen was featured in Inspiring Fifty: Europe 2015.