After Bartlett Dropped Out Of School, He Built A Firm Valued At $600m, Now Investing $100M In Female-Founded Startups

Steven Bartlett
Steven Bartlett


Steven Bartlett is the founder and CEO of Social Chain, a fully integrated social media firm he founded at the age of 18 years. Today, the company he established in his Manchester bedroom is worth $600 million.

His company’s success propelled him to become the youngest ever investor on BBC’s hit programme “Dragon’s Den,” a show he unsuccessfully auditioned to be a contestant on 10 years earlier.

In 2020, he was named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 emerging entrepreneurs to watch.

For Barlett, who dropped out of school and once stole food from corner stores, becoming an entrepreneur and business owner has not been easy. Bartlett, who was born in Botswana to a Nigerian mother and a British father, did not have the advantages that others did. That signaled to him that he needed to forge his own route to success.

According to The Guardian, his family had financial difficulties when they migrated to a middle-class neighborhood in Plymouth, Devon, for a fresh start. His family’s financial difficulties and his own experience with poverty as a young boy inspired him to strive for greater heights and a better life in the near future.

He started his own firm after studying business management at Manchester Metropolitan University. He made a fortune by organizing school trips and negotiating contracts with vending machine firms, and he took a percentage. He later dropped out of school after only one lecture to focus on entrepreneurship.

“You’ve got the employment world that requires a 2:2 for jobs. You’ve got the university who are getting paid to drag you in and keep costs low, and then you’ve got the schools, which are ranked by grades,” he told The Guardian, explaining why he dropped out of college.

“It’s an archaic system that hasn’t moved with the modern world fast enough. Information is almost redundant by the time universities publish their textbooks. There’s probably not that many that have been written about blockchain, but we know it’s a pivotal part of our future.”

In addition to Social Chain, Bartlett currently operates Flight Story Fund (FSF). The organization assists startups and female-led unicorn firms. According to Billionaires Africa, the company wants to invest $100 million to promote developing female-founded business enterprises that are breaking the norm, as well as invest between $1 million and $10 million in early-stage European startups each year.


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