Almost every 70’s pop fan is acquainted with the name of Virgin Records. It has been home to some incredible talents like The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Spice Girls, Shawn Mendes, Florence + The Machine, and many more. It has consistently been one of the topmost performing record label in the UK for the past five years. It all started when Richard Branson, back in 1970, noticed a gap in the market for selling records by post, so he initially launched Virgin Mail order, which through the years, turned out to be much more remarkable. Lately, Richard became the only person to build 12 billion-dollar companies in eight different sectors.
IN THE NEWS!
Recently, the self-made billionaires behind two of the world’s most recognized companies, Bill Gates and Richard Branson, met in Paris for One Planet Summit- a meeting designed to discuss the challenges of climate change. Richard Branson, along with other high profile business moguls like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma, and Marc Benioff have been a part of Breakthrough Energy Coalition. BEC is a group of high net worth investors lead by Bill Gates, who have made commitments to fund $1 billion worth of next-generation energy technologies globally. So far, the company has invested in a variety of pioneering ideas, including businesses developing solar grids and electric vehicles and a biotech firm.
KNOW THY ENTREPRENEUR
As a young kid, Richard had dyslexia, which nearly led him to fail out of Scaitcliffe School, an all-boys school he attended until the age of 13. Still struggling, he dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to start a youth-culture magazine named Student. It sold about $8,000 worth of advertising in its first edition. In 1969, Branson had the idea to set up his mail-order record company to fund his magazine business. A year later, the demand got so high that Branson had to open the Virgin Records store on Oxford Street. After listening to Mike Oldfield’s tape, Branson offered to find him some record deals but was unable to do so. This dismissal led him to start his own record company, The Virgin Records label in 1973, by signing Mike Oldfield as their first artist. Mike’s album Tubular Bells went on to be the biggest selling album of the decade and was also used as the soundtrack to The Exorcist.
A few decades later, Branson tried to expand his business by starting his own airline company called Virgin Atlantic Airlines and a chain of megastores. However, this entrepreneurial extension made him lose his financial stability. To cope up with this, he had to sell his record label to Thorn EMI for $1 billion. Since then, the Virgin Group has reached 35 countries and has expanded to include a train company, a luxury game preserve, a mobile phone company, and a space-tourism company.
Richard Branson is also well known for being an adventure enthusiast. He has been the first to cross the Atlantic and Pacific by a hot air balloon. He has described Virgin Galactic, his commercial spaceline company, as being “the greatest adventure of all.” Branson has been voted to be the world’s most social CEO and the most followed person on LinkedIn. In 2004, he established a non-profit foundation termed Virgin Unite to solve social and environmental problems. He now spends most of his time working on Virgin Unite and the organizations it has incubated.
By Gurmehak Chopra