Steven Bartlett is the founder and CEO of Social Chain, an integrated social media company he established when he was only 18 years old. Today, the company he founded from his bedroom in Manchester is now valued at $600 million.
The success of his company saw him become the youngest ever investor on BBC’s hit series, “Dragon’s Den,” a show he unsuccessfully applied to be featured as a contestant 10 years ago. In 2020, he got featured on Forbes’ 30 under 30 as one of the emerging entrepreneurs to look out for.
Becoming an entrepreneur and a business owner has not been smooth sailing for Barlett, who dropped out of school and once stole food from corner shops. Born in Botswana to a Nigerian mother and a British dad , Bartlett did not have the nice things other people had. For him, that was a signal that he had to create his own path to success.
His family had experienced financial challenges when they relocated to a middle-class neighbourhood in Plymouth, Devon, for a new beginning, The Guardian reported. The financial struggles of his family and experience of lack as a young boy motivated him to seek higher heights and a better life in his immediate future.
He ventured into entrepreneurship after enrolling at Manchester Metropolitan University to read business management. He earned a living organizing school trips and brokering deals with vending machine companies, and took his cut. He later quit schooling just after one lecture to focus on entrepreneurship.
“You’ve got the employment world that requires a 2:2 for jobs. You’ve got the university who are getting paid to drag you in and keep costs low, and then you’ve got the schools, which are ranked by grades,” he told The Guardian, explaining why he dropped out of college.
“It’s an archaic system that hasn’t moved with the modern world fast enough. Information is almost redundant by the time universities publish their textbooks. There’s probably not that many that have been written about blockchain, but we know it’s a pivotal part of our future.”
Bartlett now runs Flight Story Fund (FSF), aside from Social Chain. The company supports startups and female-led unicorn companies. The company plans to invest $100 million to support emerging female-founded business ventures disrupting the norm, and also invest between $1 million to $10 million in early-stage European startups yearly, according to Billionaires Africa.