Founder, Appear Here, aged 21
Founded by Ross Bailey just last year, online pop-up space booking platform Appear Here has more than 250 spaces and 4,000 brand and retailer customers. It counts Google, American Apparel and property firm British Land among its customers as well as smaller fashion brands Wreck London, Serge DeNimes and ISWAI. In November last year it secured a further £1m of funding from investors Howzat Partners, backers of Trivago, MMC Ventures, backers of AlexandAlexa, and Forward Investment Partners, existing investors and backers of uSwitch and Hailo. Not bad for a 21 year old.
So what is the secret to his success? “An exceptionally low attention span, which means I’m always looking for new opportunities. I find it hard to sit still,” says Bailey. He started out with his own pop-up on London’s Carnaby Street selling limited edition T-shirts to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
However, he did pick up one valuable lesson while studying art direction and copywriting at the School of Communication Arts, where dean Marc Lewis would bellow “We sell or we die!” before students every day. “To me it has always stuck. I don’t want to be some pushy sales person by any means, but whatever we create needs to sell.”
Appear Here investor Neil Hutchinson, founder of Forward Internet Group, says he looks for three qualities when investing - work ethic, leadership and vision - all of which he says Bailey has “in abundance”. Hutchinson also says “it would be criminal to put a ceiling on his potential”. Quite the endorsement.
And Bailey has no intention of sitting still. “We want to completely disrupt the commercial property industry, so that Appear Here becomes the de facto site for renting space.”