Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The UK’s three youngest tech entrepreneurs who started billion-dollar businesses

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These are the UK’s three richest and youngest tech entrepreneurs who have managed to turn an idea into a billion-dollar business.

The trope of the young American tech entrepreneur who has dropped out of education to pursue a rags-to-riches story is a familiar one.

In the UK, though, there are fewer household names of those under 30 who have made big money turning a tech idea into a billion-dollar business.

From what City A.M. could see, these are the UK’s three richest and youngest entrepreneurs who have managed to do it:

Christian Owens, co-founder of Paddle – estimated net worth of £101m

Everyone wants to turn their side hustle into a full-time business. Christian Owens lived that dream after he used Youtube to learn how to code in his early teens and started his first software business.

He quit school at 16 after his GCSEs to found Paddle, a platform that offers such a set of tools for software as a service (SaaS) businesses, including payments, invoicing, billing, tax and compliance.

Now 28, he is worth £101m. Paddle, valued at $1.4bn (£1.1bn) in 2022, has raised hundreds of millions from venture capital firms including KKR, Kindred Capital and FTV Capital. It makes annual revenue of about $100m (£79m).

Owens, who made the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2016, stepped down as chief executive last October in order to focus less on operations and more on products and customers.

Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham, co-founders of Marshmallow – estimated net worth of £455m

A gym is an unusual place to start a company from but tech entrepreneurs and identical twins Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham did that to save money – and for the on site sauna.

By the time they were in their late twenties, the co-founders car insurance tech firm Marshmallow had amassed a joint fortune of £455m.

Marshmallow, now valued at $1.25bn (£900m), became the second black-founded British business to be minted a unicorn, a company worth over a billion dollars.

Prior to Marshmallow, the Kent-Brahams were part of the founding team at the digital identity system Yoti.

Johnny Boufarhat, founder of Hopin – estimated net worth of £1.7bn

Billionaire Johnny Boufarhat made his money founding virtual event platform Hopin in 2019 at age 26 after an illness left him bedbound.

The platform, used for live streaming events and conferences, was once valued at $7.75bn (£6.1bn) in 2021 and counted American Express and Hewlett Packard among its clients. But its core assets were acquired by Ringcentral for just $15m (£11.8m) last year and a recent filing showed it entered liquidation.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List, Boufarhat is the wealthiest under 30 in the UK, with a fortune of £1.7bn. He stepped down as chief executive of the company last summer.

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