This month in Home Grown’s Flagship event, The Rockstar Series, we invited former Dragons’ Den investor and technology entrepreneur Piers Linney into London’s leading business club to share his journey from midtown paper boy to Entrepreneur of the Year and 1 of the UK’s top 100 Britons.
– Where did it begin for you? Author, Entrepreneur and Facilitator, Barnaby Wynter asks.
Our guest shares how at a young age he discovered an opportunity to quadruple his weekly pennies from his 6 days a week, 6:30 am paper round by usurping the local newsagents and selling the papers direct. He cut out the middle man, slashed his working hours and upped his £5 a week earnings. Thus began his entrepreneurial journey.
The schoolboy anecdote perfectly demonstrates Pier’s innate instinct for business and his natural ability for hard work.
It becomes clear throughout the session that Piers Linney’s winning formula for entrepreneurial success is a combination of grit, determination and risk-taking.
– Tell us about your journey from a mid-town comprehensive to city law?
Piers began his studies at the University of Manchester, whilst also attending night school to qualify as a solicitor. He then moved into investment banking before leaving that to pursue tech and media, made a lot of money, became famous, went on Dragons Den where he invested in 8 companies (4 of which went through after the show) and finally became Entrepreneur of the Year.
“It was not smooth sailing”, Piers reiterates. He applied 68 times for 1 training contract as he was set on a London law school. In his 2nd year, he decided to quit and pursue investment banking, but after learning everything he could about the industry, he got rejected by all the banks except one.
On paper it may seem a well thought through career trajectory, Piers tells our member audience, but in reality, there was no plan and many hiccups along the way.
Somewhere along the way Piers founded Moblox, a platform to help young companies understand content and technology, and buy from them or through them. Piers does not shy away from the grunt work. For example the course he created on how to operate a business, covering everything from hiring and firing to cashflow, was entirely researched, designed and written by him.
Did this make sense? “No”, Piers answers, “but it is important to understand your own processes before outsourcing anything so that as you scale, you understand your business through and through”.
– Let’s discuss Diversity Equity and Inclusion
DE&I and social mobility are incredibly important to him as someone from an ethnic minority who has experienced more microaggressions that you can count.
Where once he used to camouflage his modest background, he now keeps it far more authentic as his own boss.
His parting advice to be yourself, make lots of mistakes, learn hard and fast and don’t worry about loosing money.
– Is there room for big tech?
“When we solve AI, the change will be exponential”, Piers says. “The reason nations are obsessed with AI is because whoever solves it will be light years ahead in both software and physical tech. It is a race to the finish and whoever wins will see exponential growth – fast”.
If you’re interested in enriching your entrepreneurial experience and finding a strong community of entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders then contact our membership team at Home Grown.