Ride25: Rob Hamilton

Experienced entrepreneur and Young Gun Rob Hamilton shares his latest venture, a cycle tour company offering participants a “once-in-a-lifetime challenge to cycle the world”

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Name: Rob Hamilton
Age: 40
Company name: Ride25
Number of employees: 10
Location: Greater London
Date launched: 07/01/2014
Website: www.ride25.com

Tell us what your business does:
We enable people of all shapes and sizes to cycle around the world in 25 short legs. You can choose to join one trip for say four days or do the whole journey over say 25 years!

Where did the idea for your business come from?
We organised a charity cycle and the number of people who wanted to join from 40 in the first year to 160 in year three – all with no marketing – made us think we had a potential business opportunity.

How did you know there was a market for it?
Following the huge take up we got for the charity cycles we organised, we knew there was a market out there.

What were you doing before starting up?
I started a business called Instant and sold it to private equity in 2012. My business partner John Readman ran Search Laboratory – the fastest growing digital agency in the UK.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?
What else can you do? Who would employ me?

How did you raise the money?
Exit of previous business.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
We only started a couple of months ago but understanding travel regulation has been interesting. We’re now a fully bonded tour operator through ABTOT.

Describe your business model and how you make money:
We simply charge a set margin above the total cost of running the trips.

What was your first big breakthrough?
Both John and I used to promote nightclubs as students – this provided the cash for real businesses that we later started.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Start as young as you can – you have nothing to lose and will find your way around problems if you have less experience – that can be an advantage.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Our Ride25 pioneers will be in India by then… I hope we’ll have changed the lives of 10,000s of people who will tell their grandchildren about their adventure from London to Sydney.

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