- Sub Category
- Private Equity News
The modern investor is wealthy, dynamic, under 40 years of age and has both money and energy to invest. What does this mean for Private Equity?
The last few years have seen a wave of global change, not least in the landscape of investment and venture capitalism. As Covid-19’s terrible impact raged across the globe, so too did more positive impacts of this unprecedented pandemic. With more time and more money in the hands of the comfortably-off, 2020 saw huge growth in the personal investment sector and a significant change in its make-up. The rise of meme stocks and their intrinsic social media power saw a new, younger cohort of investors out to ‘game the system.’
Certain aspects of the pandemic have also had a positive impact on young tech entrepreneurs for whom the challenges of social distancing and remote working have presented great opportunities. The rapid behavioural shifts of the pandemic meant that only the truly agile in business were able to flourish, and for those who were able to pivot in the right way, success has been boundless.
The 2020 Wealth of a Decade report noted that entrepreneurs are becoming wealthy at a younger age. It attributed much of this change to another development – the growing predominance of technology and digital industries. The very nature of these industries enables the agility and ability to pivot that is so key to the current business and cultural landscape.
Add to that, the more active approach of today’s young ‘rockstar’ entrepreneurs to investment and you’ve got a heady scene. The entrepreneur investors on this list don’t sit back and put their trust into index funds buoyed on by the better odds that the passive approach affords. They are, arguably, more dynamic than their forebears. They use their business nous and understanding of cultural zeitgeists to select business ventures that they believe in and have the experience to impact.
At Traditum, we embrace these “hands on” investors. We recognise that many of our investors have much to contribute to the businesses they invest in. And no mentor is better for a business in growth than a mentor who has already succeeded, irrespective of age.
Read onto discover how some of the youngest and brightest stars of the tech entrepreneur scene have leveraged societal and cultural change to grow their ventures beyond all expectations.
Johnny Boufarhat of Hopin – net worth £1.5 billion
Take Johnny Boufarhat, Hopin founder and now the UK’s fourth wealthiest person at the tender age of 27. With a winning combination of foresight and good luck, Boufarhat launched Hopin as a solution to a challenge that he was faced with. Suffering from an autoimmune disease and stuck at home, Boufarhat wanted a way to connect with others remotely. Thus the idea for Hopin, a live virtual event platform, was born in 2019. With the onset of the pandemic the following year, demand for Hopin went through the roof and so the founder worked to progress his platform at high speed. Fast-forward a couple of years and virtual events have become the standard for countless businesses across the globe.
Boufarhat isn’t taking a step back with all this success – he’s a workaholic who works seven days a week and is intrinsic in his business’s ongoing success. He’s made angel investments in a number of early-stage tech companies like Softr, a no-code web app building platform backed by other high pedigree investors including Julian Shapiro of DemandCurve and Andreas Klinger of Remote First Capital.
Ben Francis of GymShark – net worth £700 million
As with Hopin, GymShark also faced bumper activity during the worst of the pandemic. At just 10 years’ old, the fitness wear brand and brainchild of CEO Ben Francis (aged 29) is worth more than $1 billion and increased its sales by more than 50% in 2020/21 thanks to an uplift in personal fitness activity. Francis founded GymShark out of a personal desire for better and more inclusive sportswear, starting out on his mum’s sewing machine. Now with a net worth of £700m, Francis sold a 21% stake in the company to US private equity firm, General Atlantic and rumours of the company’s impending flotation abound.
Though essentially a clothing brand, the essence of Gymshark’s success is online and particularly in its leveraging of social media. The brand has 5.7m followers on Instagram and has become the second most popular workout brand on TikTok before ever having a permanent bricks-and-mortar location.
Steven Bartlett of Social Chain -net worth: approx. £50 million
Of late, Steven Bartlett’s name has most frequently been heard in approximation to controversy surrounding his podcast. From the outrage that faced comments made by Molly-Mae Hague during her appearance on Diary of a CEO to the very inclusion of both Matt Hancock and Piers Morgan. However, before Diary of a CEO was even a twinkle in his eye, Bartlett was busy founding and running Social Chain, a groundbreaking social media agency for which he was CEO until resigning in 2020. When Bartlett launched Social Chain in 2014 he dropped out of uni to do so and was rewarded by winning accounts with the likes of Coca-Cola and Apple, not to mention many illustrious awards.
Since his resignation, Bartlett has been busy. Thanks to the reputation of Social Chain and the success of his book, Happy Sexy Millionaire his personal profile has boomed and he’s now the youngest ever Dragon to feature on BBC’s Dragon’s Den. He’s also busy founding and investing in companies that he’s passionate about. One such company is Huel, the food replacement drink brand that reached sales of £100 million last year and which is expected to IPO any day now. Bartlett’s net worth is around £50 million and once again, he’s not even 30.
Melanie Perkins of Canva – net worth $900 million
Continuing the trend of founders who launched hugely successful products based on their own experiences, Australian entrepreneur, Melanie Perkins is the CEO and co-founder of online design platform, Canva. As a student Perkins’s side hustle was to teach other students how to use design programmes. It made her realise that there must be an easier way. This led to her creating Canva alongside her partner, Cliff Obrecht. The pair went to Silicon Valley and managed to pitch legendary investor, Bill Thai. Thai was instrumental in Canva’s success, introducing Perkins and Obrecht to his network and giving them that imperative first foot-up.
The company achieved $40 million in a 2018 funding round and is now used by 85% of Fortune 500 companies. Perkins, who is worth $900m remains hands-on in her business and like others of her generation exhibits strong interest in philanthropy, committing to give most of her wealth away.
At this very moment, there will be countless budding entrepreneurs in pre-seed stages building ideas, wealth and profile. At Traditum we focus on growing disruptive businesses and backing ambitious people. To speak to us about our opportunities, visit https://www.traditum.co.uk/contact to get in touch.