Solly Solomou and Arian Kalantari, co-founders of LADbible Group – which has featured on Tech Track 100 in 2017 and 2018 – speak at our Fast Track 100 alumni dinner for entrepreneurs in Manchester. The dinner was co-hosted by Greg Doran, Northern Head of TMT at Barclays, and Fast Track’s founder Hamish Stevenson.
The LADbible co-founders shared their insights on how they have built their social publishing platforms, reaching over 40m unique visitors a month.
Solly, chief executive, said LADbible was among the earliest media and entertainment providers to identify Facebook as the future of online content. “With just two of us, we had millions of people viewing our website…With that audience, we moved back to Manchester and consulted Mahmud Kamani (the co-founder of Boohoo, who invested in the company). He advised us to do a few things really well,” said Solly.
Solly and Arian, who met at school, then invested in analytics and advertising technology to discover exactly what young people wanted to watch and read online, and to attract advertisers. They were rewarded with sales of £15.3m and profits of £3.7m in 2017.
“We’re a data-driven company,” said Solly. “Within one minute of posting a video we will know exactly how it will perform.”
Arian added: “Publishers used to decide what they wanted to talk to audiences about, but that has flipped with data, and consumer engagement has democratised media.”
Vic Stewart, finance director at the Alchemist Bar and Restaurant, spoke to Fast Track about how it had managed its growth from a small, entrepreneurial company to a larger enterprise with 14 sites across the UK and sales of £35.5m in 2018.
Katy Leeson, UK managing director at Social Chain, discussed the challenges of rapid expansion. She outlined the importance of staying true to the social media marketing agency’s values as it grew from sales of £1.3m in 2015, to £15.3m in 2018, with 250 employees.
Founder and non-executive chairman at Sykes Holiday Cottages, Clive Sykes, said that technology has been instrumental to the company’s success, with online advertising helping it achieve sales of £37.5m in 2017.
A word from our sponsor
Guests enjoyed networking drinks and dinner with representatives from Barclays. Their achievements were recognised by Greg Doran, Northern Head of TMT, who congratulated the fast-growing companies on their entrepreneurial vision and success.
More information on the Fast Track 100
For information about our alumni dinners and opportunities for sponsors, visit our sponsorship page: https://www.fasttrack.co.uk/sponsorship/