Ian Wilson, co-founder and president of WattBike – which has almost doubled sales to £20m since it featured on Fast Track Ones to Watch in 2017 – speaks at our Fast Track 100 alumni dinner for entrepreneurs in Birmingham. The dinner was co-hosted by Ray O’Donoghue, Managing Director for Corporate Banking in the Midlands at Barclays, and Fast Track’s founder Hamish Stevenson.
Wattbike’s co-founder and president shared his insights on what makes an entrepreneur and the importance of branding.
“Running a business is all about how you express yourself,” said Ian, “and your brand is your expression.” He emphasised the importance of staying true to your dream.
The former world champion rower grew his first company – rowing machine maker Concept2Europe – to a $20m business before selling it, and said the knowledge earned was invaluable to WattBike’s success.
Wattbike was developed for the British Cycling team which won 9 medals at the 2008 Olympics. “From then on it just took off. Every rugby team had got it. We were asked to go to Australia and were given a huge welcome. Each Aussie rules rugby club bought 50.”
Wattbike’s hi-tech indoor training bikes can now be found in over 20 countries. The All Blacks rugby team are unpaid ambassadors. Star endorsements from British athletes Jessica Ennis-Hill and Anthony Joshua helped make Wattbike a Fast Track Ones to Watch company in 2017.
Ian, who has grown the Nottingham company’s sales to £20m, described the league table ranking as “the club everyone wants to be in.”
Ben Everington, co-founder of this year’s Fast Track 100 number one company, clinical trials supplier Midwinter Solutions, explained how securing first place on the league table had impacted staff morale, and was a personal reward for years of hard work.
Bav Samani, director at street fashion retailer HYPE. described how debuting on the Fast Track 100 in 2016, with turnover of £14.6m, led to multiple investment and takeover offers, although the company, which hit sales of £20m in 2017, hasn’t yet found the right partner.
Byron Dixon OBE, co-founder of Micro-Fresh, a specialist in antifungal and antibacterial coating technology, explained why his company is seeing new opportunities in the construction industry and has expanded into the US.
A word from our sponsor
Guests enjoyed networking drinks and dinner with representatives from Barclays. Their achievements were recognised by Ray O’Donoghue, who welcomed guests and praised their drive and the contribution they have made to British business.
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/