At Beauhurst, we track over 30,000 UK high-growth companies, and over 150,000 people who hold key positions in these businesses. Many of these key people are very young – 290 founders are aged under 25, 117 of which have raised equity and secured a company valuation.
Proving to investors that your company has the legs to offer them a significant return on investment down the line is no small task for any entrepreneur, but is especially impressive for those with little experience, and whose abilities may often be underestimated. We’ve ranked the top 10 founders of UK-based companies under the age of 25 by the estimated paper worth of their shareholdings.
Our valuation data are based on the latest valuation recorded for the company and annual returns made to Companies House. They should be treated with caution and do not take into account share class, liquidation preference, undiluted options and other factors that could impact the ownership value.
1. Harry McClements
Title: Co-Founder and Director
Latest ownership figure: 6.3%
Harry was just 20 when he co-founded Simba sleep as part of a four-man team. Operating within the consumer goods sector, Simba Sleep produces innovative mattresses formed of five different layers. The company has shown an impressive growth trajectory, and has now raised over £72m of equity finance across nine funding rounds.
Their backers include Atami Capital, JamJar Investments and Spark Ventures. A £40m raise in December 2017 placed the company’s valuation at £140m.
Simba Sleep has been featured in Startups 100 list in both 2017 and 2018 and, in March of 2018, the company attended Tech Nation’s prestigious FutureFifty accelerator. Fellow graduates include startup unicorns Monzo, Revolut and Checkout.com.
2. Yasser Khattak
Title: Founder and CEO
Latest ownership figure: 26.37%
Yasser Kathak founded Den automation in 2014 at just 18 years old. The company designs and produces plug sockets and light switches that can be controlled either by hand or remotely via apps or sensors.
Now 23, Yasser is CEO of the electronics company, which achieved a £18.5m valuation in March of this year. In total, the startup has raised £6.74m of equity investment over eight funding rounds. In 2017, the company attended R/GA IoT Venture Studio accelerator, with perks including access to a large business network, mentoring and marketing support and office space and workshops.
3. Luca Schnettler
Title: Founder and CEO
Latest ownership figure: 57%
Having enrolled in a Computer Science with Business Management degree at Queen Mary University London in 2017, Luca Schnettler left the course in the same year to pursue his passion to build something big. He now dedicates his full attention to digital health assessment startup HealthyHealth.
Two years on, and at just 21 years old, Luca has led the company through three investment rounds worth more than £1.5m, most recently raising in May of this year. According to our calculations, this capital injection has valued the company at £6.03m. The latest annual return (which predates this most recent round) showed that Luca owned 73% of the company in September 2018. He is now reported to own 57% of the business.
The team are now expanding internationally with clients based in the UK, Europe, US and Asia, and are preparing for another fundraising round in order to hire new talent.
One of Luca’s big learnings over the last two years has been the importance of working with a strong team, and he credits much of his success so far to the network of people around him. He mentioned that one of the biggest contributors to his company’s success with clients has been the hard work of his team.
4. Josh Valman
Title: Founder and CEO
Latest ownership figure: 34.2%
At just 24 years old, Josh Valman is sole founder and CEO of RPD International (Rapid Product Development), a company that builds and develops prototypes for clients to help them scale production.
He founded the company back in 2012, and has since completed five funding rounds worth £2.3m and received two research and development grants totalling £302k.
RPD is now branching out and supporting medical companies, after receiving certification to produce medical devices last year. Josh is looking to continue the rapid growth of the company, and focus on working with clients who want to have a large and meaningful impact on society.
Josh is now an Innovation Board Advisor at the Royal Academy of Engineering, helping to identify ways to support innovation across the sector.
5. Ben Jeffries
Title: CEO and Co-Founder
Latest ownership figure: 53.24%
Ben is CEO of Influencer, which he co-founded in 2015, alongside content creator and Influencer CMO Caspar Lee. The influencer marketing platform utilises the social media reach of influencers across different platforms to create targeted advertising campaigns for clients.
Influencer has now raised £653k in investment, and their last round in 2017 set a valuation of £3.1m. Fittingly, their first raise drew on the shareholder’s own network reach, and was completed through crowd funding platform Crowdcube.
The team at Influencer are now looking to expand their tech offering, bringing new innovations that allow brands and creators to build deeper relationships, while also preparing for global expansion.
6. Charles Williamson
Title: Co-Founder and CEO
Latest ownership figure: 50%
A last minute addition to our list, Charles raised £15k in equity finance and a £3.35m valuation to go with it just over a week ago for EdTech company Stairway Learning. Not bad for a 21 year old co-founder and CEO, who is also studying for his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.
Stairway offers personalised online maths tutoring for GCSE students, and aims to redress inequality in education.
7. Mariya Grinina
Title: CEO and Co-Founder
Latest ownership figure: 73.65%
As CEO and co-founder of Finda, Mariya is the only female founder on our list. Finda is an online booking system that creates career opportunities and encourages safer working practices for the modelling industry.
The company was founded in February of last year, when Mariya was just 22 years old. She has since led the company through two funding rounds totalling £479k, the first of which took place just a month after inception.
With a 73.65% share in her company, Mariya has the highest percentage ownership of all the founders on our list.
8. Harry Hugo
Title: Co-Founder and Chief Campaign Officer
Latest ownership figure: 29.94%
At just 24 years old, Harry Hugo is already a seasoned Serial entrepreneur, having co-founded social influencer run marketing agency The Goat Agency, as well as sports media company Fresh Press Media. Harry is the Chief Campaign Officer at The Goat Agency, which he co-founded in late 2014 with Nick Cooke and Arron Shepherd.
In the same vein as Influencer, The Goat Agency is a marketing agency that draws on the network of social media influencers. The company has raised two rounds of equity finance totalling £2.2m, and the most recent round valued them at £29.9m.
This year alone The Goat Agency has worked with Amazon, FIFA, New Look, Malibu, UEFA, Fenty Beauty, TikTok and Kellogg’s. Earlier in the year they opened their third international office in Singapore, and are continuing to grow their 120 head count every week in order to meet the demand of new clients.
9. Dan Swygart
Title: CEO and Founder
Latest ownership figure: 73.53%
Alpacr develops a mobile app that allows outdoor adventurers to meet up and connect with each other. Dan founded the social network in early 2017, whilst still working towards his degree in Economics at Cardiff University, from which he graduated with first class honours.
The company has already raised four equity rounds totalling £185k. The latest round in November 2018 valued the company at £1.85m.
The brand launched globally in July 2018, and are now used across the world. Prior to this launch, Dan and his team won the Virgin Voom competition hosted by Sir Richard Branson, attending a breakfast with him in London. They now count former CEO of YikYak, Tyler Droll, as one of their Non-Executive Directors. Tyler is an impressive figure to have on the board, having achieved a $400m valuation for his own social app within just one year, and raised $74m of venture capital funding.
10. Anthony Collias
Title: Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer
Latest ownership figure: 25%
Operating within the sharing economy, Stasher allows customers to find ‘StashPoints’ at participating businesses that will allow them to store their luggage for up to several weeks.
Along with his two co-founders, Anthony established the company in late 2015, whilst working as a Paid Search Account Manager at fellow high-growth company, Brainlabs.
The idea for the company was born from the flurry of requests for friends to store luggage at Anthony’s Euston home. After setting up a website to gauge the level of interest and making connections with local businesses that could also offer short term storage, Stasher was born. Anthony’s experience at Brainlabs proved invaluable in helping the company expand in its early stages, building super targeted ads to potential customers.
At 24 years old he is now the Chief Commercial Officer and helped guide the company through three funding rounds totalling £1.44m. The latest raise in January 2019 valued the company at around £4.68m, and another funding round is currently in the works.
Stasher has seen strong growth in revenues, currently at 4x year on year, and remain on course to sustain that growth with their continued expansion in North America and Australia.
Having achieved so much success already, we look forward to seeing how these entrepreneurs continue to grow their businesses in the future.