Meet the A level entrepreneurs
This year’s A level results have just come out, but some school-age youngsters have always set their sights a little higher – like earning their first million. With almost a quarter (22%) of young people aged between 15 and 18 interested in starting their own business, according to a recent survey by YouGov, commissioned by Google, here are some teenage millionaires offering inspiration.
When he was just 17, Phillips was already running Dot5Hosting, the company he founded in his Denmead, near Portsmouth, bedroom to provide web hosting and domain name registration. This led to his first million and at 19, he was said to be making north of £7m a year. He’s now best-known as CEO of web-based services creator Just Develop It and reportedly has a net worth of £62m.
London-born McVey began importing micro scooters from the US when he was just 13 – he apparently came across the Arizona-based scooter company Viza when he mis-spelled ‘Visa’ in an internet search. He sold them to friends before netting the European distribution rights and was a millionaire by the time he turned 15. By the age of 18 he was appointed by the Queen as a ‘Pioneer for Britain in Entrepreneurism’. He later diversified into consultancy, publishing and pharmaceuticals, among other things, and appeared on the Sunday Times Rich list with a net worth of £10m.
The precocious youngster from Londonderry began running his own nightclub at just 15. By 17 he’d moved into property management and made his first million. By 18, his company was worth over £15 million and at 26 he was helping failing businesses with regular appearances on the TV show Million Dollar Intern.
The Solihull-born entrepreneur started his first web design business when he was 12 and the formation of his internet service provider firm DMC Internet with his savings allowed him to make his first million at 19. He’s since gone on to be featured on the Sunday Times Rich List with a net worth of £6m. Sometimes called the British Bill Gates, he’s also made a name for himself as a venture capitalist and philanthropist.
The brainy lad from Limerick won the first of his young scientist prizes at the age of 14. He founded online auction system Auctomatic with his equally code-crazy brother John before the pair moved to California and by the age of 19 he’d made his first million. Thanks to his later company, Stripe, which makes it easier to process internet transactions, last year Forbes listed his worth as £570m.
And an honourable few who made their millions a little later
Born in Nottingham, young master Gower started developing video games aged 8. As founder of Jagex Game Studio with two of his brothers he created RuneScape and went on to become the 11th richest young entrepreneur in the UK in tandem with his brother Paul. He’s since left Jagex and started a new company Fen Research and has a reported net worth of over £500m.
James Murray Wells
As a university student Wells realised he needed glasses, and discovered that there was no online-only retailer selling prescription spectacles directly to customers. Glasses Direct, the start-up he began from his parents’ Gloucestershire home, changed all that. Initial capital came from his student loan and he was already turning over £1m in the first year of trading. He’s since founded Hearing Direct, aiming to bring a similar approach to hearing aids and recently sold MyOptique (the company behind Glasses Direct) for a reported £120m.
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