The famous entrepreneur was born in Cyprus. His family emigrated to Britain in the 1960s and Theo showed his business skills at the tender age of 15 when he was put in charge of his North London school's tuck shop, achieving notable success.
His formal working career started as an assistant to the tea boy with a Lloyds of London broker before moving into retail at the age of 18. He then moved into property and corporate finance, setting up his own company aged just 23.
He was Chairman of Millwall FC for eight years, taking the club out of administration and into the Championship and to the FA Cup Final v Manchester United and into Europe.
He has also revived the fortunes of notable retail brands such as La Senza Lingerie (UK), Contessa Lingerie, Ryman, Partners the Stationers and Stationery Box. He sold his interest in the La Senza UK business and Contessa in 2006.
In 2008, he combined the stationery businesses to launch a new chain, Ryman Stationery (www.ryman.co.uk) where he is now Chairman. The company sponsors the Isthmian football league, called the Ryman Football League.
Another high profile venture is Red Letter Days, the company he salvaged out of administration. He owns it with fellow Dragon, Peter Jones.
Theo's latest high profile retail activity is the launch of a highly innovative new lingerie business this spring called Boux Avenue. The range is fresh and vibrant and the retail stores and website will be a delightful shopping experience for women looking for something special. Details will be announced in full at the end of March 2011.
Outside of business
Theo's life story – Enter the Dragon – is published by Orion Books in paperback. It gives an insight into the thoughts and aspirations of one of the UK's most popular entrepreneurs.
Through his appearances on BBC TWO's Dragons' Den (the eighth series aired last summer), Theo has advised many young entrepreneurs and invested in several innovative businesses and brands.
The Paphitis Charitable Trust distributes his fees from TV appearances, speeches and his book to causes close to his heart, in particular charities associated with children. With his colleagues at Ryman, Theo helped raise half a million pounds for Comic Relief's Red Nose Day Campaign in March 2009 and the company is supporting this year's campaign too. Ryman is also actively involved in Sport Relief.
Theo is a patron for Skillsmart Retail, the Sector Skills Council for Retail, which is committed to driving up skills levels in the industry. His special areas of responsibility are as the Retail Apprentices' Champion and for the new National Skills Academy for Retail.
He has three Honorary Doctorates – from the University of Middlesex, the University of Huddersfield and the Southampton Solent University. These are in recognition of his belief that it is important to enjoy learning in its broadest possible sense.
Theo has also fronted a highly successful campaign by the Carbon Trust that gave away 0% loans of up to £100k to businesses through its Big Business Refit campaign.
In 2008 Theo visited Vietnam, India and Brazil for a new BBC TWO television series produced in partnership with The Open University called Theo's Adventure Capitalists. The series, that aired in May 2009, tracked the success of British enterprises looking to do business overseas. It was shown on over 50 global TV networks, significantly raising Theo's reputation worldwide.
The BBC has filmed a new TV series called The Next Big Thing, where Theo goes behind closed doors at some of the biggest names in UK retail to expose the fascinating world of buying for the first time. The programme is a series of seven one-hour shows which will air on BBC TWO this Spring.
Theo lives in Surrey with his wife Debbie. They have five children and three grandchildren.