Doug Richard is an American entrepreneur based in England, who teaches entrepreneurship through the School for Startups, an organisation he founded that teaches, creates curricula and provides advice and support to governments in the area of entrepreneurship. He best known for his appearances on TV show Dragons' Den and as a government adviser.
Richard received his undergraduate degree from University of California at Berkeley majoring in Psychology in 1980. He received his Doctorate of Law at University of California at Los Angeles in 1985. He received his Executive Management Certificate from UCLA School of Business in 1989.
Richard founded his first company, ITAL Computers in 1985, which sold services that integrated computer aided design and manufacture systems to the southern California aerospace industry. ITAL Computers was sold in a private transaction in 1991 and the profits used to found his second company, Visual Software. Richard co-founded, managed and sold Visual Software with partner John Halloran. Visual Software Inc. Company was sold to Micrografx, a NASDAQ listed public company for $12,000,000 in shares in 1996. In 1997, Richard became the President & CEO of Micrografx, the company by whom he had been acquired the year before. Richard turned around the fortunes of Micrografx by shifting its focus from consumer software to business and technical marketplaces. Micrografx was sold to Corel Corporation in 2001.
After the sale of Corel Corporation, Richard re-located to Cambridge with his family. Shortly after the move, Richard co-founded the Cambridge Angels, an angel investent group focusing on technology startups in the Cambridge region, with Robert Sansom in 2001. He retired from the Cambridge Angels in 2008.
Richard was an active angel investor from 2001-2008. His first investment was in a Manchester based startup, Designer Servers, known as DSVR. Richard and the founders successfully exited from the company in 2004 when it was sold to the company that became Legend Communications, PLC.
Also in 2001, Richard co-founded Library House with a group of entrepreneurs and angel investors from the Cambridge Cluster. Library House was founded as a buy-side research house focusing on technology startups and be-spoke analysis for venture capital firms. The financial downturn in 2008 led venture firms to reduce their investments in research forcing Library House into administration as another victim of the global downturn. Its database of transactions, which was the only database of European venture activity, was sold to Dow Jones.
In 2004, Richard co-founded Trutap, with David Whitewood, a mobile software company offering free text and interactive messaging across the internet, prior to the introduction of smart phones. Trutap received three rounds of funding from two investors, Tudor Investments and the Cambridge Angels. The company closed in good order and the remaining investment was returned to Investors after the company was unable to pivot with the introduction and success of the iPhone.
In 2008 Richard founded School for Startups Ltd.
In late 2004, Richard was approached to join a new reality TV show by the BBC called Dragons Den. Richard was joined by Peter Jones, Duncan Bannatyne, Rachel Elnaugh and Simon Woodruffe as the first Dragons. Richard appeared on the first two series of the programme. He voluntarily stepped down after the end of the second series.
Awards and Recognition
Richard was appointed as an Ambassador for the British Library’s Business and IP Centre.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.
In 2010 he was awarded Enterprise Educator of the Year by National Council on Graduate Entreprise.
Publications and Government Advisory Work
In 2008, Richard wrote and published the Richard Report on Small Business, as the Chairman of the Conservative Party Task Force, a policy guideline on support for small business for the Conservative Party while in opposition.
In 2010 Richard published the “Entrepreneurs Manifesto”, a call-to-action to drive entrepreneurship in the UK.
In 2012 Richard published the Richard Review of Apprenticeships, a government requested review of the apprenticeship system which was supported by all political parties and formed the basis for the reform of the apprenticeship system in the UK.
In 2013 Richard published his first Book, “How to Start a Creative Business”, on entrepreneurship in the creative industries.
Board Memberships and Non Profits
School for Startups
Richard founded School for Startups in 2008 to help people start their own businesses through training and support courses, and to help governments and regions drive economic growth based on the principles of entrepreneurial economics. The school has taught over 30,000 people how to start their own business. The school is best known for a series of high profile programmes including:
- School for Creative Startups, an accelerator for creative businesses,
- The Launcher Programme, a social lending partner of the Startup Loan Company,
- The Southwest Peninsula Programme, in partnership with the Regional Growth Fund, to help new businesses in the southwest region,
- Web Fuelled Business, y bootcamps, funded by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills designed to help small businesses use the web to maximise sales, save money and go global.
- Windows of Opportunity series of y bootcamps, providing perspective on raising and investing money and funded by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills.
- The Makegood Festival, an annual celebration of creativity and entrepreneurship running across a four- day festival, winner of the 2014 London Design Award.
- The Nigeria Youth With Education Programme, This program, funded by the Department for International Development UK and the Nigerian Ministry of Finance, delivered free tuition through full day bootcamps, mentoring and distant learning support to young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
- The School for Startups Romania, This 12-month learning program ran for two years, was offered in two major Romanian cities: Bucharest and Cluj over a two year period. The EU institution, The Post Privatization Foundation, supported the program.
In January 2015 the Daily Mirror reported that Richard was arrested on suspicion of having sex with an underage girl. Richard strongly denied the allegations. He was not charged with a crime. The police have indicated that the matter is under investigation.
- Library House
- Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion#The Queen.27s Award for Enterprise Promotion 2006
- "The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion". Retrieved 19 September 2010.
- "Former BBC Dragon to headline return of the annual Cornwall lecture - Plymouth University". Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- "Doug Richard: Ex-Dragon's Den star arrested on suspicion of raping 13-year-old girl". Nick Dorman, Daily Mirror. Retrieved January 18 2015