Global Personals’ Ross Williams crowned Keystone Law Golden Gun at Young Guns Awards 2014

Title win sees online dating entrepreneur succeed Holly Tucker of at annual celebration of UK’s most impressive young business owners

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Ross Williams, the founder of online dating services company Global Personals, has been named the Keystone Law Golden Gun at the Young Guns Awards 2014.

The Golden Gun title which gives recognition to an impressive member of the Young Guns alumni; entrepreneurs previously listed in the index of the UK’s most outstanding business owners aged 35 or under, was granted to Williams on the back of a successful three years following his Young Gun win in 2011.

Williams follows in the footsteps of online marketplace’s Holly Tucker, who received the award last year, as well as Mobile Interactive Group (MIG) founder Barry Houlihan, named Golden Gun in 2011, who has subsequently sold his £100m+ turnover mobile business and started a new sports social venture – BreatheSport.

Unveiled at the 12th Young Guns Awards ceremony held at the Kensington Roof Gardens yesterday, digital entrepreneur Williams was selected from an impressive alumni group which boasts over 350 members including Richard Reed of Innocent Drinks, Thea Green of Nails Inc. and Michael Acton Smith of Mind Candy.

Launched in 2003 from Williams’ spare bedroom, Global Personals now operates a portfolio of sites which includes and, backed up by a white label service which counts The Independent and Cosmopolitan as clients. 

Now one of the world’s largest privately-owned dating firms of its kind, Williams has scaled Global Personals to annual revenues of over £50m and has achieved a major international presence; it now operates in seven English speaking territories worldwide including America and Australia.

The Golden Gun title comes on the back of a number of other recent award wins for the digital entrepreneur including IoD Young Director the Year (2014), Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2013), and Great British Entrepreneur – Ecommerce (2013).

Discussing his delight at winning, Williams said:

“Being named a Golden Gun winner just three years after being awarded the Young Gun title in 2011 is an honour. The last twelve months have been a whirlwind for Global Personals. We were recognised as delivering significant economic impact to the UK, named in both Tech City UK’s Future Fifty and a report from the London Stock Exchange Group, as well as opening a new office in San Francisco, with the volume of first-time US subscribers on our network increasing by 228%.

“Really, being named the Golden Gun isn’t just an award for me, it’s an award for my team. I truly believe that the key to success is in surrounding yourself with people who are experts in their field. From our board of directors to the people who work in our call centre, they are the reason that more than half of our paying members have met someone on our online dating network. That’s the important thing for me – helping thousands of people find the love of their life every day.”

On awarding Williams the Golden Gun title, James Knight, partner at Keystone Law, explained:

“Yesterday’s event brought together the country’s most progressive and vibrant entrepreneurs, each passionate about their innovative and growing businesses. This was our second year to present the Golden Gun and, after last year’s winner’s Holly Tucker MBE, there were big shoes to fill. 

“The calibre of potential Golden Gun winners was exceptional with a lot of household names, however Ross was a darkhorse, flying under the radar despite having gained his private pilot’s license at the age of 18. His success to date is unrivalled in his industry and I have no doubt that he will continue to soar above his competitors. I was delighted to present the award and highlight such an impressive achievement. He is an inspiration to the next generation of Young Guns and the class of 2014.”  

Ian Wallis, editorial director of Growing Business – the organisers behind the Young Guns awards, added: “The Young Guns alumni contains the founders of some of the UK’s most successful independent businesses of the last 20 years, so Ross was up against serious competition.

“His start-up story and the growth achieved in the past few years with an excellent business model founded on the principles of white labelling make him an incredibly worthy winner. Global Personals’ international expansion, its vast array of dating websites, turnover growth to the £50m mark and the recognition it has received from the business community for its achievements made it – and Ross – truly stand out.”

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