Simon Franks: Redbus
Focus: Film, media and advertising
Former City trader Franks started $50m turnover Redbus in his spare bedroom, with a film distribution business. Six years on that business is one of the largest distributors in Europe and the fastest growing UK company, but just one of the business’s arms. Also under the Redbus banner are outdoor advertising, online media and production companies – all of which are profitable – with the latter responsible for Bend It Like Beckham. It also retains a part-stake in online DVD company Video Island.
Franks was one of the founding members of LOVEFiLM, which was built through the merger of around 10 different DVD rental companies, including Video Island – the DVD rental operation launched by Redbus in 2003. LOVEFiLM was eventually sold to Amazon in 2011 for £200m. Franks founded the Franks Family Foundation in 2006 which mentors and partners with charitable organisations around the world to help address problems in some of its poorest regions. He now chairs the Redbus Group, which invests in fast-growth early-stage businesses including Credible, Eighteen-24 and Huddlebuy.