FT Start-Up Stories

Shakil Khan and his co-founder kept their student accommodation website out of the media spotlight during its early years while they tested the market and its global potential. He tells Jonathan Moules why he thinks this was the right strategy

 

John Stapleton co-founded a successful food business in the UK and then sold the business with the idea of setting up a similar venture in the US. As he tells Jonathan Moules, things didn’t quite go to plan.

 

Richard Walton moved to Costa Rica to take up surfing after a health scare prompted him to rethink his work-life balance. He tells Jonathan Moules how it worked out.

 

Ismael Ahmed, an expert in remittances, used funds from a compensation award to finance his start-up WorldRemit. He tells Jonathan Moules that a successful revenue model was key to attracting the second stage funding he needed to go global.

 

John Lynch moved from Connecticut to Krakow in 1991 as a volunteer for a US aid mission designed to train entrepreneurs in the newly liberated Eastern Bloc. After a year, he decided to stay on and start a business himself, becoming an ‘ice-breaker’ in what was still a harsh climate for start-ups.

 

Alicia Navarro has been dubbed the ‘queen of the pivots’, a process of developing a business by changing the direction of travel – and living with an expectation of constant change. She tells Jonathan Moules her story.

 

UK founder Jamie Waller tells Jonathan Moules how an ethical approach helped him get ahead of rivals in the debt collection business

 

Dutch entrepreneur Siete Hamminge tells Jonathan Moules how his tech start-up was nearly undone by the long lead times required to seal deals with big companies. He found an alternative use for his bird detecting radar technology and saved the business.

 

The Drum is a magazine and events business for the marketing industry. It was well regarded but not particularly profitable, and Diane Young its chief executive found herself looking for ways to boost her flagging motivation. She tells Jonathan Moules how she turned things around.

 

Matt Johnson, an American entrepreneur in London, built his business on developing uses for electronically conductible paint, using open source technology. He tells Jonathan Moules what happened when he discovered his product was being cloned.