These 5 webpreneurs tossed their virtual hats into the ring from early ages, and to great success!
Jessica Ratcliffe –GaBoom
Avid online gamer Jessica Ratcliffe launched peer-to-peer video game swapping service Gaboom.co.uk, while studying a Management BSc course at Royal Holloway University in 2010. The idea which she initially thought of at just 15 allows users to trade unwanted games with users. The service prompts swaps between both users who indicate they want games the other has, genius isn’t it? Jessica appeared on BBC1’s popular TV show Dragon’s Den and has since raised £50,000 for the business. She has decided to take some time away from university, so she can concentrate on GaBoom full time.
Josh Magidson and Ed Green—Eatstudent.co.uk
University classmates Josh Magidson and Ed Green are prime examples of entrepreneurial spirit. No doubt one of the best strategies in understanding your target audience is to well...be them. As students the pair saw a potential money making opportunity in helping their peers find takeaways quicker and easier. After graduating in 2008 they completely redeveloped the site and service, before recently selling the service to e-commerce giant Just Eat for £500,000. Not bad for a university hobby is it?
James Murray Wells—Glasses Direct
James Murray Wells had an Einstein—or should we say Zuckerburg moment while still in at university in July 2004. Inspired after discovering that a £150 pair of glasses only cost £7 to make he created a service which sold spectacles directly to the public. The business he started with the remainder of his student loan sold 22,000 pairs of glasses in its first year, with an annual turnover of £1 million. Last year he started another business hearingdirect.com on a similar premise to Glasses Direct, selling digital hearing aids for significantly cheaper prices.
Forward thinker Christian Owens has taken an alternative route into the e-commerce sector. Rather than selling products online his business started in 2008 when he was just 15, goes toe-to-toe with web kings Google. Branchr is an alternative to Google offering its own pay-per-click advertising platform and boasts clients such as MySpace and William Hill. The young entrepreneur from Nottinghamshire was named Most Enterprising Brit in 2010 and may soon move the business stateside, vowing to build Branchr until it is worth £100million.
Number 5 on our list of young e-commerce entrepreneurs is Matt Wegrzn. His love affair with the internet began at just 15, when he was a web developer as part of a team called ColdFusion. Breaking away from the organisation at 17, he began his journey to becoming a fellow domainer. He started out buying the domains of forums and is a successful domainer today, with some of the domain names he has sold going for over six figures each. He now runs a successful site which buys, sells and parks domains, which he launched in January 2007.
With the web the enterprising potential is endless. I hope these young business people have given you the inspiration to start your own venture.