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Mitesh Soma

Founder, Chemist Direct and ecomfactor

Mitesh Soma is the founder of Chemist Direct, Europe’s leading online chemist and the winner of the Retailer of the Year at the Startups Awards in 2008.

Since then Mitesh has started ecomfactor, an internet group specialising in creating, acquiring and partnering with businesses to boost their e-commerce presence.

Born in Leicester Mitesh graduated from London’s City University with a 1st class degree in business and computing.

He started his career as a financial and management consultant with Siemens Business Services in Bracknell, Berkshire, before providing financial and management consultancy with companies including Citigroup, Deutsche Investment Bank and Deloitte Consulting.

He came up with the idea for Chemist Direct while assisting his wife Krishna, a qualified pharmacist, with her small independent chemist in Westminster.

He identified huge mark-ups between manufacturing and retail prices and realised costs could be slashed by cutting out the middlemen and keeping overheads to a minimum by using e-commerce. The company turned over £5m in its first year.

In January 2009, Soma expanded Chemist Direct to supply a full range of products for pets including medication, food and grooming products. In March 2009, Soma received a £3m investment from former Skype co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, now of VC fund Atomico.

The investment allowed Soma to take his business to the next level by increasing staff and moving to new, larger premises.

Soma exited Chemist Direct in June 2013 prior to a $10m investment from Atomico, DMG Media and Lepe Partners to pursue other interests and has exciting plans for the future.

On a personal level, Mitesh has been named a Young Gun by Growing Business in 2008, and in 2009 was named the Best Male Entrepreneur in the BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur Awards.