Gymshark owner who started business from his parents’ garage becomes Britain’s youngest billionaire
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I think we'd be lying if we say we didn't sit in our parents' house when we were younger thinking of this amazing idea that would hopefully make us a billionaire one day.
Obviously, for the vast majority of us, that dream never comes true, but it did for Birmingham-born entrepreneur Ben Francis.
If you didn't know, Francis is the founder of fitness wear brand Gymshark, which is estimated to be worth £1.25 billion ($1.5bn).
The popular sporting brand, which has its headquarters in Solihull, is worn by some of the biggest celebrities on the planet.
Starting out in his family home after Grandma Francis bought him a sewing machine, Gymshark has gone from strength-to-strength, to the point where Francis sold 21 percent of the business to private equity firm General Atlantic for $300 million (£240 million).
In late 2021, Francis announced the opening of the brand's first ever store in Regent Street, London.
The Gymshark CEO made the announcement on social media along with an accompanying video explaining his decision and giving a tour of the building he has signed a 10-year lease for.
While walking around Regent Street and the building, the CEO said: “I must admit, walking down where we sort of came in the tube on Oxford Circus and then to walk down the street and see... the Gymshark store, it just immediately gave me goosebumps.”
He continued: “I’m so proud of the decision that we’re making for the long term of this community and for the brand.”
And now, Francis has become the Britain's youngest billionaire at the age of 30, which also makes him one of the world's youngest billionaires.
Recently, Francis was named on Forbes' World's Billionaire list who are 30 and under, a list that included 14 fellow billionaires, including Mark Mateschitz, the son of the late Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz.
Francis has a total net worth of $1.2 billion (£922 million), with him currently owning 70 percent of the Gymshark brand.
But Francis' rise to fame has not been the easiest, as the young billionaire was involved in a drug scandal that threatened to end his career.
In 2020, a video surfaced of him online appearing to snort white powder with his pals, something Francis did of course address.
"Four years ago, I was a young guy. I got caught up in a moment and made a stupid mistake that I massively regret," he said.
Since then, Francis' wealth and brand has only increased.