How They Started Digital – how 25 good ideas became spectacular digital businesses

New book gets under the skin of the world’s hottest digital start-ups and revealed how they made it

Need a book for the beach? How They Started Digital is more than a regular business tome. Perhaps we would say that as it’s the fifth title in the How They Started series we started publishing in 2007, but we’re unashamedly pleased with it because of the unprecedented level of access we gained to some of people behind the world’s most successful digital businesses.

We’d go as far as saying it’s the most revealing book you’re ever likely to read about starting a digital business.

Brought to you by Crimson Publishing, the company behind Growing Business and, and edited by serial entrepreneur David Lester, How They Started Digital tells the stories of how 25 good ideas became spectacular digital businesses.

Each chapter gets deep under the skin of how disruptive ideas were turned into global businesses. By getting the founders, early employees and original investors to go on-the-record about the biggest fears, failures, mistakes and challenges, How They Started Digital is able to promise the unvarnished, unadulterated stories – and business insights – you won’t read elsewhere.

We reveal, through in-depth interviews with the people closest to the businesses, how they achieved their first sales, the trial and error evolution of their business models, and how the entrepreneurs overcame first year hurdles to achieve global dominance.

The founders of computer gaming giant Electronic Arts, global dating website, major UK money lending site Wonga, and many more, freed up time in their diaries to tell their brutally honest start-up stories.

To that list, you can add the founders of Groupon, Etsy, Neon Play,, Trip Advisor, Moneysupermarket, Cheapflights, GoCompare, ASOS and the man behind Moshi Monsters Michael Acton Smith. We also spoke to key people – seed investors and founding team members – who shared the secrets of the rapid rise of international brands Twitter, Spotify and Zynga.

Spanning the best of the US to the fastest rising digital businesses in the UK, How They Started Digital – also available as an ebook, (obviously) – covers the gamut of sub-sectors within the digital space. From computer games to mobile app builders, search engines to cloud subscription models, movie animation to retail, social networks to content curators, and from price comparison to marketplaces, the book provides rare insights to what made those businesses tick.

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This 320-page bible to what it takes to start and grow a digital business is the fifth in the hugely popular How They Started series.


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