Business Leader Magazine recently interviewed one of the richest people in Britain under the age of 30 – Chris Phillips.
Chris made his first million at the age of 18 through a football scores website he created as a tech-savvy teen. This idea then evolved into his first company, Dot 5 Hosting – an online hosting platform.
He sold the company to American hosting company iPower and is now worth over £70 million – more than musician Ed Sheeran or tennis player Andy Murray.
Now Chris gets involved in investment projects in leisure, tech, retail and property across the UK and has used his youthful, entrepreneurial flair to his advantage.
How did you manage to make your first million at 18 years old?
I was never a big fan of school; I am dyslexic and just wasn’t engaged. While the rest of my friends were getting their GCSE’s and A-Levels I knew I needed to figure something out that didn’t necessarily rely on my qualifications at school.
At 16 I was a big football fan and with the emergence of the web, I decided to make a football scores website mainly for myself and my friends.
It dawned on me that instead of paying someone to host my website, someone could pay me to host theirs. I founded Dot5 Hosting and two years later sold the company, making my first million
Were you always interested in technology?
I was the right age when the dot com boom went off, to be involved in that industry when businesses moved online sparked my interest in tech and it’s an area Just Develop It are still very much involved today.
One of our recent investments is MyPT Hub, which has helped take personal training online.
I could not run my company without my iPhone, I use Whatsapp to keep in touch over email, and my house is a completely run by automation. Most of the team would be surprised to learn that I’m actually the biggest techie of them all!
How did you start out your entrepreneurial journey?
After starting my first business at 16, and selling it two years later, I quickly caught the entrepreneurial bug.
Although I started out in technology, I’ve always believed in people over products so it was inevitable at some point I would branch out and invest in other industries. Over the years the opportunities I have had to invest in, or start, a business have more often than not been down to the people involved.
How did you grow your business and wealth?
As Just Develop It grew in terms of the technology projects, we also expanded into property, leisure, clothing and restaurants.
I’ve personally found that it’s the ability to find and foster relationships with the right people at the right time that results in success. I’ve tried to surround myself as much as possible with people that have key business skills and experience that prove invaluable in helping companies prosper and grow
What were the main challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Early on, I faced a lot of challenges to do with the operations side of the companies I started.
As I continued to invest and learn, those failures have proved to be the biggest lessons I’ve learnt.
The only way to overcome a challenge is to throw yourself into every opportunity that comes your way, use your intuition and prove your worth – then your track record speaks for itself.
What other entrepreneurial ventures have you been involved in?
In the last year an investment I’m working closely with is Xclsuive Jets, aviation is a completely new industry for me and it has been incredibly exciting to learn and immerse myself in a new venture.
The team have been fantastic to work with and the speed at which they are growing is unheard of for the industry, it’s been exciting to be a part of it.
Can you explain the importance of investments particularly given the UK’s current political climate?
The past couple of years we’ve seen a great deal of change in the UK’s political climate and while that goes on, there’s an uncertain atmosphere lingering.
Rather than waiting to see what happens, now is the time for investors to hit the ground running and really boost our countries business landscape.
Small to medium sized business make up 99% of the UK’s private sector and we need to make sure they have the right investment to thrive. In my opinion, British start-ups in general can be held back by their fear of failure.
This can result in being content to tick over and plod along at a rate that keeps risk low, people’s need for control often encourages them to think about how small they can stay rather than how big they can be.