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Who are the top 32 serial entrepreneurs?

Many successful businesspeople create one company and spend their lives scaling it, but for others, one just simply isn’t enough.

As these entrepreneurs progress through their careers, they spot new industries that are worth branching into, take time to pursue what they’re really passionate about, or sometimes, for whatever reason, they just don’t get it right the first time. For our latest top 32 list, we took a closer look at serial founders.

How was the top 32 chosen?

We asked our audience to suggest exceptional founders who have not only founded and scaled multiple companies but have left a mark on their respective industries. The founders included on this list are based in the UK and have either founded or co-founded at least two companies.

This list is in no particular order.

Alex Chesterman

Alex Chesterman is behind several of the UK’s most well-known companies. In 2002, he co-founded ScreenSelect, a DVD-by-mail and streaming video-on-demand company that after a string of mergers, was eventually acquired by Amazon for £200m in 2011.

In 2007, Chesterman co-founded property website Zoopla and after renaming it ZPG Ltd. and floating it on the London Stock Exchange for nearly £1bn, ZPG was sold for £2.2bn in 2018. In the same year, he founded used car marketplace Cazoo, a company Chesterman led as CEO until April of this year.

Oliver Bolton

Oliver Bolton is CEO and co-founder – along with Lorenzo Curci – at Earthly, the company is on a mission to protect and regenerate 1% of our planet by 2030. Oliver founded B-Corp health company Waterbomb, which produces the ‘What A’ drinks range, and co-founded the bespoke nutrition brand Vitl with Jon Relph.

The serial founder was also a winner of the COP27 ClimaTech prize, a winner in Uplink’s 2023 NatureTech prize, and the winner of the $3m (£2.4m) Virgin VOOM award from Sir Richard Branson.

Eric Van der Kleij

Eric Van der Kleij first became a founder with the creation of Adeptra in 1996. Adeptra tested the boundaries of new technology by creating an automated credit card fraud detection and alert system and was sold to FICO for $115m (£94.7m) in 2012.

Adeptra’s success led to Eric being asked by David Cameron to become CEO of Tech City, where he played a significant role in the growth of East London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’. After a decade of helping other start-ups to scale, Eric became a founder again in 2020, with the launch of Edenbase, a fund investing in emerging technology businesses.

Caspar Lee

Born in England and raised in South Africa, Caspar Lee rose to prominence with his popular YouTube channel. After gaining a following of over 18 million, he co-founded the global influencer marketing agency Influencer, alongside Ben Jeffries, taking on the role of Chief Vision Officer.

He teamed up with fellow YouTube creator Joe Sugg to co-found the talent management company Margravine Management. He also set up South African-based student accommodation company Proper Living and Creator Collective Capital, a VC fund investing in start-ups alongside their syndicate of top creators, musicians, athletes, and actors.

Martijn De Wever

After founding the innovative venture capital firm Force Over Mass, which was named the ‘Most active technology investor in Europe’ by the Dow Jones in 2013, an experienced investor and founder Martijn De Wever has been working tirelessly to revolutionise the private market with Floww.

Floww is a fintech platform which addresses the fragmented nature of the current private market by providing a user-friendly software interface that connects issuers, investors, and intermediaries. Through regulatory innovations, Floww creates special-purpose vehicles, enabling smooth cross-border transactions and access to broader pools of capital beyond UK investors.

Geeta Sidhu Robb

Geeta Sidhu Robb first founded a company with her now ex-husband, but after it folded, she built an organic food and juice programme delivery business, Nosh Detox. Transitioning from a career as a corporate lawyer to running a health and nutrition company, within three years she had qualified as a raw chef, health coach, and nutrition specialist.

After qualifying, Geeta set up GSR Coaching to put this experience to use, going on to help nearly 19,000 women achieve the bodies they want whilst improving their mental and physical confidence.

Eduardo Martinez Garcia and Michael Galvin

Serial founders Eduardo Martinez Garcia and Michael Galvin are two entrepreneurs with vast experience in the finance and technology sectors. The two have previously held senior positions at Accenture and co-founded Geniac, a SaaS platform that helped small businesses in the UK manage their day-to-day administration activities.

After successfully exiting the business, they found themselves pulled towards fintech and in 2019, went on to co-found Toqio, a simple and cost-effective SaaS alternative to complex and costly in-house fintech development projects. Garcia serves as the company’s CEO, whilst Gavin is the CCO.

Sir Richard Branson

After dropping out of school at the age of 15, Richard Branson launched his first business in 1968, Student Magazine, which provided an alternative to the publications and school magazines of the time. Branson started Virgin as a mail-order record retailer in 1970, under the name Virgin Mail Order, and founded Virgin Records bricks-and-mortar stores.

The Virgin brand has grown tremendously with notable brands including, Virgin Active, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Radio, and non-profit foundation Virgin Unite.

Elaine Warburton OBE

The current chair of Edinburgh-based medical devices start-up Javelo Health, Elaine Warburton OBE has co-founded two ground-breaking companies: QuantuMDx, a medtech company that develops diagnostic medical devices, and ReadyGo Diagnostics, a company that was founded in 2021 and is developing a suite of consumer-facing medical devices for rapid yes/no answers.

QuantuMDx was founded in 2008 and Warburton is currently a non executive director at the company, although she previously served as CEO for 12 years. In 2021, she was awarded an OBE for her contributions to health innovation.

Steve Baker

Steve Baker launched Ventia Ltd in 2009 after the financial crash. Set up to provide boutique flexible office spaces in central London, it was listed as a Sunday Times Fast Track 100 company in 2014 and 2015, the same year the firm was sold for £14m.

A year before Ventia’s sale, Steve launched Eden Sustainable to take advantage of the burgeoning commercial rooftop solar sector. Since 2020, the company’s growth has exploded: turnover to November 2023 is estimated to be around £16m and Baker hopes to surpass the £100m mark in the next three years.

Mike Greene

Mike Greene has enjoyed a stellar career as a chairman, CEO, director, and mentor. His investment prowess spans 30 start-ups, including Chargemaster, Shazam, and Bolt Learning, whilst he has successfully built several businesses of his own.

This includes the Association of News Retailing, the trade group that once represented 19,000 news retailers. Greene also bought “him!”, the insights service that tracks online consumer reviews and their associated product detail, which is now known as Lumina Intelligence. After successfully selling the company to William Reed Business Media in 2011, Greene founded the convenience shop chain My Local in 2016.

Timo Armoo

Best known as the co-founder and CEO of Fanbytes, a company that helps brands reach Gen Z through influencer marketing, Timo Armoo sold the firm to Brainlabs in May 2022 for an eight-figure sum. However, his entrepreneurial career began at the tender age of 14, with the founding of Alpha Tutoring, which he grew to 65 tutors in just six weeks.

Armoo’s next venture was EntrepreneurExpress, an online business publication which he co-founded and served as editor-in-chief. At the age of just 17, Armoo sold the company to Horizon Media in a six-figure deal.

Stephen Fitzpatrick

With an estimated net worth of £2.2bn, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, Stephen Fitzpatrick is one of the UK’s most successful serial founders. Best known as the founder of OVO, the major energy supplier which Fitzpatrick established in 2009, he is also the founder & CEO of Vertical Aerospace, the first UK company to have built and flown a full-scale fully electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

Fitzpatrick’s other ventures include intelligent energy platform Kaluza, an energy software company powering the future of energy.

Eccie and Gini Newton

In 2014, sisters Eccie and Gini Newton co-founded Karma Cans, the office lunch delivery company. After three years of building it, they used their experience to establish Karma Kitchen, a project which delivers co-working and commercial kitchen spaces to SMEs in the food and drinks industry. Karma Kitchen raised a whopping £252m in Series A funding back in the summer of 2020.

Currently operating across 22,000 sq ft of kitchen space in Hackney and Wood Green, the company plans to open 50 new sites in the next five years to provide affordable workspaces to over 5,000 start-ups and SMEs in food across Europe.

Cherry Freeman

Back in 2012, Cherry Freeman founded LoveCrafts, the online crafting community which acts as a marketplace for members to buy supplies and share their work. Freeman has successfully grown the business to more than one million customers in 200 countries and has 140 staff spread across London, Kyiv, and New York.

In 2019, Freeman co-founded Hiro Capital, the venture capital fund that invests in metaverse technology and game creators who are building the future. In addition to serving as general partner at the VC fund, she is a non executive director at several gaming and tech companies.

Sharmadean Reid MBE

Awarded an MBE for her services to beauty and women in 2015, Sharmadean Reid launched WAH Nails in 2009, which evolved out of a hip-hop magazine for girls that she created whilst at university.

Her experience building WAH Nails led to her frustration at the lack of technological solutions in beauty booking software, so in 2018, she co-founded Beautystack, a networked marketplace app for influential beauty professionals, with Dan Woodbury and Ken Lalobo. Reid currently serves as the CEO of The Stack World, an online community whose mission is to develop the next generation of women in power, which she also co-founded.

Julian Telling

One of the founding Directors of Bristol Private Equity Club, Julian Telling has established, listed, and sold several companies. He co-founded Falcon Group PLC in 1983, which was listed on the Alternative Investment Market in 2005 and merged with Lighthouse in 2008.

After obtaining a professional pilot’s licence during a two-year sabbatical, the serial entrepreneur helped to establish Centreline Air Charter, which was sold to Steve Lansdown in 2018. Telling also co-founded Mobile Money, a logbook loans company, and helped to build it over seven years before it was sold for £10m.

Sokratis Papafloratos

Sokratis Papafloratos is the brain behind disruptive men’s health brand Numan. Having raised over $75m (£61.2m) in funding and boasting a team of over 150 people, the company offers personalised, integrated care in one digital platform.

Before Numan, Papafloratos founded TrustedPlaces, a classifieds business that was powered by the knowledge, insight, and opinions of local people, eventually selling it to the Yell Group (formerly the Yellow Pages) in 2010. He also founded Togethera, a private sharing app for family and loved ones, which was ultimately shut down in 2016. Despite the failure of the business, 18 months later he founded Numan, and the rest is history.

Brent Hoberman

Brent Hoberman made his name during the dot-com boom of the late 90s, co-founding online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com with Martha Lane Fox in 1998. Hoberman led the firm as CEO until it was sold to Sabre in 2005 for $1.1bn (£902m). His other notable ventures include Made.com.

He co-founded the online furniture retailer in 2010 but left his role as chair in 2016 before the company’s $1bn (£819m) IPO. In 2015, he co-founded the start-up accelerator Founders Factory, and in 2017, he co-founded the $400m (£328m) AUM seed fund firstminute capital.

Nigel Toon

Nigel Toon is the CEO, chairman and co-founder of Graphcore, the British semiconductor company that develops accelerators for AI and machine learning. After raising $200m (£164m) in its Series D funding round back in December 2018, the semiconductor firm was valued at $1.7bn (£1.39bn).

Prior to co-founding Graphcore in 2016, Toon was the CEO of two successful venture capital-backed processor companies. In 2002, he co-founded Icera, a 3G cellular modem chip company, which was sold to NVIDIA in 2011 for $435m (£357m).

Felix Leuschner

Before venturing into the world of angel investment and his current role as Venture Partner of Target Global, a pan-European technology investment firm, Felix Leuschner successfully founded and built several companies. He co-founded Gamegoods, the European marketplace for digital currency in 2006, before establishing and leading Stylistpick, a social commerce company that partnered with celebrities, stylists, and influencers to curate personalised fast-fashion offers.

In 2015, Leuschner founded and then led Drover, the car subscription company that was acquired by Cazoo for approximately £60m in 2021.

Matthew Hayes

As co-founder and managing director of Champions (UK) plc, Matthew Hayes leads a team of around 75 delivering growth solutions to entrepreneurial owners and their investors. The business works with clients at the consultative level to create and implement strategy-led solutions on their fast-growth journeys.

Matthew is a founding investor and Director of Diginius Ltd, a global SaaS technology company specialising in managing PPC and social media advertising expenditure. He also co-founded Madison & Mayfair, an e-commerce interior furniture and gifting business.

Steven Bartlett

Originally making his name as the co-founder of Social Chain, a social media marketing company with revenues of around £532m, Steven Bartlett is the youngest-ever investor to be named on Dragons’ Den and a Sunday Times best-selling author. Bartlett is also known for running Europe’s most downloaded business podcast, The Diary of a CEO.

Disruption is at the core of Bartlett’s endeavours, such as his investments in Huel, atai Life Sciences, and UNTIL, and his brand ambassadorship of healthtech company ZOE. Since Social Chain, he’s gone on to create marketing company Flight Story and start-up fund Flight Fund. He is also the Co-Founder of web3 app development tool thirdweb.

Rishi Chowdhury

Since co-founding IncuBus Ventures in 2013, Rishi Chowdhury has designed and built over 30 incubators, accelerators, and corporate innovation programmes and spaces. He founded his first company whilst at university and even tasted failure when Remskine Holidays, the student holiday organiser he co-founded in 2008, folded. Undeterred, Chowdhury co-founded the business media company YHP in 2010.

Six years later, he co-founded Momentum London, a programme supporting later-stage B2B start-up’s shift from selling into SMEs to acquiring large corporate customers. He co-founded his latest venture, Incube Space, in 2020 and leads the company on its mission to make commercial real estate sustainable, healthy, and productive spaces for everyone.

Sharon Pursey OBE

Back in 2004, Sharon Pursey OBE founded her first company, Buckram and Bump, an interior design business. In 2013, she moved into safety tech and co-founded SafeToNet, an award-winning company that develops technology to keep children safe through real-time threat detection and prevention.

Awarded an OBE in the 2020 New Year Honours List, Sharon co-founded the SafeToNet Foundation in 2018, which supports initiatives and charities working to safeguard children from experiencing harm online.

Matt Jones

As founder and CEO of Rebel Lion Advertising, Matt Jones is spearheading an ambitious acquisition journey to become the largest independent agency group in the UK. However, he founded his first creative advertising agency, S3 Advertising, in 2011, grew it into a multi-million-pound national business, and sold it through a management buyout in October 2019.

After exiting the business, the multi-award-winning entrepreneur went on to build male skincare brand MESOA Skincare, a company he successfully secured investment for during an appearance on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den.

Saasha Celestial-One

Saasha Celestial-One is the co-founder and COO of Olio, a free app which connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so that surplus food can be shared, thus reducing food waste. Since launching the company in the UK in 2016, Saasha has successfully grown it to more than 100 team members and seven million users.

In 2013, she also co-founded and led My Crèche, London’s first pay-as-you-go childcare provider, which helped fill a gap in the market for parents in need of fully flexible childcare.

Eamon Jubbawy

Eamon Jubbawy is the founder and CEO of Isometric, the carbon removal registry and science platform. Prior to establishing Isometric in 2022, the Oxford graduate co-founded several companies, the first of which was Onfido, the identity verification platform for the internet economy.

Jubbawy served as the company’s COO for eight years, before co-founding Sequence and Safi in 2021. Safi is an end-to-end solution for trading recyclables across the globe that is backed by the founders of Revolut and Monzo, whilst Sequence is a B2B billing software platform that raised £16.6m in a seed round last year.

Mulenga Agley

After nearly a decade in the world’s leading global advertising agencies, Mulenga Agley followed his passion for fast-growth tech and joined the founding team of Monese, the first-ever fully mobile current account. As VP of marketing & growth, he grew the business from scratch and successfully exited after a $60m (£49.1m) Series B fundraise, selling his shares to PayPal.

He launched Growthcurve in 2017, a company which uses the latest technologies and high-impact growth strategies to grow unicorns and help global clients, such as Chelsea FC, Coinbase, and Unilever tap into a start-up growth mindset.

Steve Broughton

Starting his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 29, Steve Broughton founded CleanSafe Services, a specialist commercial and industrial cleaning company, in 2004. After recognising the demand for related services, he founded three more companies: WasteSafe, PestSafe, and Superproof. In 2017, Steve brought them all together to form SafeGroup Services and within three years, the company grew into the UK’s largest independent national specialist reactive cleaning and waste management company, employing 120 staff.

In the same year, the serial entrepreneur co-founded Legionella and FireSafe, the water and fire compliance business which currently employs 65 people, with Steve Morris.

Luke Tobin

Starting his first business at the age of 19, serial entrepreneur Luke Tobin has gone on to found five companies in total, the most recent being Digital Ethos and Tobin Capital. Digital Ethos is a B Corp-certified marketing agency that was established in 2016 to bridge the communications gap Luke had noticed between agencies and clients.

After achieving an average growth rate of 67% between 2018 and 2022, the company was sold to the DBG Group. Whilst growing Digital Ethos, Luke founded the investment business Tobin Capital, which specialises in consultancy and investment for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Rajeeb Dey MBE

Named the world’s Youngest Young Global Leader in the 2012 cohort by the World Economic Forum, Rajeeb Dey MBE has enjoyed a distinguished career as a business founder. In 2005, he set up Enternships, a portal that connects students and graduates to work placements in over 7000 start-ups and SMEs.

In 2011, Rajeeb co-founded StartUp Britain, the national campaign to inspire, celebrate, and accelerate entrepreneurship in Britain, which was supported by the government. He is also the founder and CEO of Learnerbly, the workplace learning marketplace that empowers employees to access curated content from more than 250 of the best learning and development providers.

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