Matt Hermer is the Founder and Chief Executive of Ignite Group. Matt is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the group’s marketing, PR and international growth.
Brought up in Cardiff, the youngest of four children, Matt graduated from Reading University and went to work for Hambro’s Bank, eventually spending a total of 8 years in the City, with stints as an investment banker at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson and ABN AMRO.
In 1998, at the age of 26, Matt learned that his favourite bar for entertaining clients in Chelsea’s Walton Street was for sale. On an impulse he decided to buy it, renamed it Eclipse and gradually turned it into a highly successful destination that helped lead the revolution in London’s cocktail culture.
Six months after purchasing his first bar, Matt left the City to focus on his new business as a bar owner, rolling out additional Eclipse bars in West London. In 2002, realising that his clientele would like to carry on partying without having to travel to the West End, Ignite opened Boujis, the group’s flagship boutique nightclub in South Kensington, which quickly became a huge success, attracting a loyal and high-profile clientele.
Matt’s personal passion for food and wine steered Ignite Group into the restaurant business, and the first Bumpkin restaurant opened in Notting Hill in 2006, specialising in well-priced, unpretentious British home cooking using only the freshest seasonal local ingredients. Now with branches in South Kensington and Westfield Stratford City, Bumpkin has won the Soil Association’s Silver Catering award and a two-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
In 2009 Ignite opened an Eclipse bar in the Barcelona W Hotel, Starwood’s luxury boutique lifestyle brand. In 2011 Ignite launched the VIP nightclub concept Wyld in the W Hotel in Leicester Square, alongside the W Lounge and a VIP Screening Room.
Ignite opened its first site in Asia with the launch of Boujis Hong Kong. The membership for the new private club was sold out before the opening date of October 2012.
Tatler named Matt the ‘Restaurateur of the Year’ in 2008, and the Evening Standard has featured Matt in its annual report on ‘London’s 1000 Most Influential People’ every year from 2008 to 2011.