Mark Pearson (entrepreneur)

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Mark Pearson

Mark Pearson (born 1980) is CEO and founder of Markco Media, a European discount network.[1][2][3] Markco Media is the parent company of MyVoucherCodes.

In June 2014, Pearson sold Markco Media to the publicly listed mobile payments firm Monitise plc in a reported £55m deal.

Pearson is an active investor and mentor.[4][5][6] The Sunday Times Rich List 2011 valued his fortune at £60m ($100m).[7]

Career[edit]

Prior to launching MyVoucherCodes.co.uk in 2006, Pearson worked as a chef at Claridge's in London, under celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.[8]

When Pearson left school aged 16 he took up a place at a local catering college. He entered and won a nationwide cooking competition,[9] leading to his employment by Claridge’s.

Pearson then went on to manage his own chain of restaurants after taking out a small loan from his grandmother.

Aged 23, Pearson started Roses by Design, a company that sold fresh rose petals with tiny messages written upon them.[10] It was whilst running this business that Pearson learnt about affiliate marketing.

Pearson was approached by Inter Flora and Flowers Direct, which both asked if they could put discount code banners for their businesses on his web pages, and then pay him a commission for each resulting sale.[11]

Soon he found he was earning more money in commissions than he was selling his own roses. My Voucher Codes was launched in November 2006, when Pearson was 26, as the UK's first such discount offers website.

He paid £300 for the first version of the site.[12] He ran the site from his bedroom until 2009, when he opened an office in Croydon. He moved the business to a central London location in 2011, where the business now employs more than 100 people.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Pearson grew up on a council estate in Liverpool with his mother and sister. He traces the origin of his drive to succeed to time spent in a domestic violence refuge, where he realised he had to be the ‘man of the family’.[11] He has publicly said watching his mother cut out newspaper coupons to get money off food to feed the family as she juggled single parenthood with working several, low-paid jobs inspired him.[13]

In 2010 Pearson appeared on Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire, where he was exposed to the realities of gun crime and domestic violence in Nottingham.[3] He donated £115,000 of his own money to three charities. Pearson says big charities “wind [him] up because they cost so much to run” and the purpose for him appearing on The Secret Millionaire was to “meet people on the ground who don’t get the spotlight”.[14]

Pearson lives with his fiancé Aaron and their surrogate twins in Monaco[failed verification].[15]

Hackathons[edit]

In 2012, Pearson founded Hackathon London, an event that invites developers to build tools and services in teams or individually, giving them the chance to pitch ideas to active investors and business mentors.[16]

In November 2012, Pearson spotted on Twitter that the Young Rewired State Hackathon in Scotland, for coders under 18 years of age, would be cancelled if it didn't receive funding. He subsequently sponsored the event, enabling it to go ahead.[17]

Controversy[edit]

On 1 July 2010, Pearson's company, Groupola.com, ran a deal where the public could purchase an iPhone 4 for £99 instead of the RRP of £499. The high traffic of people wanting the phone brought the servers hosting the site down and caused a backlash on Twitter and Facebook [18] Although the company reported to have 200 iPhones, only 10 iPhones were available.[19]

Investments[edit]

According to The Telegraph, Pearson has invested around £5m in a total of nine firms, giving a minimum investment of £100,000 each time.[20]

His portfolio includes Shopwave, an iPad payment system for retailers which also monitors sales, and mobile analytics firm Calq. His biggest investment success to date is British 'unicorn' Ve Interactive, in which he has invested £1m over the past three years. The firm has grown from a team of 30 to 700 people and serves over 6,000 e-commerce clients globally, working in 47 countries from 18 offices worldwide and in 19 languages.

In June 2015, Ve Interactive was estimated to be valued at $3bn.[21]

VE was forced into administration on 7 April 2017 after HM Revenue & Customs issued a petition for winding up order on 3 April 2017 having previously served a winding-up petition in February 2017. [22]. The company was subsequently bought out of administration for £2m by a consortium of investors including Pearson. [23]

In October 2014, one of Pearson's investments, Playlists.net, was acquired by Warner Music Group for an undisclosed sum.[24]

Fuel Ventures[edit]

In December 2013, Pearson co-founded Fuel Ventures, an early-stage e-commerce investment fund and startup studio.[25] Fuel Ventures was co-founded alongside Paul Rous, an entrepreneur and ex-corporate financier who was previously at Goldman Sachs.

Fuel Ventures also invited everyday investors to contribute to the fund through crowdfunding website Seedrs,[26] raising £539,900. In August 2015, it was announced that British tennis player Andy Murray had invested in Fuel Ventures through Seedrs.[27]

Awards[edit]

  • 2010 - Real Business Growing Business Awards "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" award [28]
  • 2011 - Ernst and Young "Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year" award [29]
  • 2011 - Smarta "Young Gun" award [30]
  • 2012 - Digital Entrepreneur Awards, "Digital Entrepreneur of the Year" [31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "HushHush Jumps On The Daily Deals Bandwagon: Designer Fashion, Interiors, Gardening, Food & Drink". TechCrunch. 21 November 2012.
  2. ^ "Mark Pearson: Britain's coupon king". Real Business. 7 April 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Third time lucky". newbusiness.co.uk. 24 September 2012. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Citizen Journalism is alive and well in the UK – Blottr scores Angel investment". TechCrunch. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  5. ^ "Secret Millionaire invests £250K in music website". Businesszone.co.uk. 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  6. ^ Knowles, Jamillah (2012-06-18). "Last Second Tickets Secures £1m From Markco Media". Thenextweb.com. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  7. ^ Tripathi, Shruti (2012-06-16). "The interview: Mark Pearson, MyVoucherCodes.co.uk | Features". LondonlovesBusiness.com. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  8. ^ "Secret millionaire: MyVoucherCodes.com founder Mark Pearson". Thisismoney.co.uk. 2010-11-06. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  9. ^ https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasperhamill/2014/08/31/the-rags-to-riches-story-of-britains-thriftiest-multi-millionaire
  10. ^ http://www.newbusiness.co.uk/articles/entrepreneurs/third-time-lucky-mark-pearson
  11. ^ a b https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29612233
  12. ^ "Mark Pearson: £300 start-up to £10m turnover". Businesszone.co.uk. 2011-08-19. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  13. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2804761/Entrepreneur-60m-fortune-Voucher-Codes-website-inspired-watching-mother-cut-coupons-paper-violent-upbringing-poverty-stricken-Liverpool.html
  14. ^ http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/09/26/interview-entrepreneur-mark-pearson-on-surrogacy-diversity-and-working-with-gordon-ramsey/
  15. ^ http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/09/26/interview-entrepreneur-mark-pearson-on-surrogacy-diversity-and-working-with-gordon-ramsey
  16. ^ "Hackathon London | Events". EN for Business. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  17. ^ Askeland, Erikka (2012-11-26). "People: Giant wood statue gets VisitScotland guests guessing". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  18. ^ "Groupola: iPhone deal backfires". Retrieved 2014-07-15.
  19. ^ "iPhone offer by Groupola 'misleading', says OFT". 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
  20. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/11152372/MyVoucherCodes-founder-left-school-at-16-and-sold-his-business-for-55m-now-he-wants-to-help-other-young-entrepreneurs.html
  21. ^ Ahmed, Murad. "Europe incubates tech's new billion-dollar babies". Financial Times.
  22. ^ https://www.insider.co.uk/news/story-behind-michelle-mones-appointment-11893278
  23. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/09/02/ve-interactives-rescuers-put-15m/
  24. ^ https://techcrunch.com/2014/10/16/playlists-net-acquired/
  25. ^ O'Hear, Steve. "After Exiting Markco Media, Mark Pearson Launches New London-Based VC Fund And Startup Studio". TechCrunch.
  26. ^ Kharpal, Arjun. "Want to be a VC? All you need is $150". CNBC.
  27. ^ Barber, Lynsey. "Andy Murray invests in three British tech startups through Seedrs equity crowdfunding platform - Tossed, Trillenium and Fuel Ventures Fund". City AM.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2014-11-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ [1][dead link]
  30. ^ http://startups.co.uk/young-guns/mark-pearson/
  31. ^ http://www.digital-entrepreneur.co.uk/previous-winners.html

External links[edit]