Getting To Know You: Phillip Letts, blur Group

In 1998 he co-founded Beenz.com, a marketing services Marketplace focused on global loyalty and rewards. In 2000, he was recruited by Silicon Valley legend, Bill Draper, to become one of the first British CEOs to run an established Valley business: Tradaq, one of the largest B2B Exchanges and a US public company. Returning to Europe as CEO of Surfkitchen. He then decided to focus on a new enterprise, embracing the Open Source software principles the blur Group was born.

What do you currently do?
I am the founder and CEO of blur Group, which I launched in 2010. blur Group is a global technology company reinventing how businesses do commerce.

What is your inspiration in the business?
Having been CEO of several international tech companies I wanted to strike out and build a company of my own from day one. My initial interest was in opensource activations, which I started doing some R&D on in 2006, blur Group turned into a reality in 2007.

Who do you admire?
I genuinely admire anyone who has the balls to start up a business. People watch shows like Dragons Den and think it’s easy, but it takes real guts and self-belief. When we first started operating I knew we had to be different so that we wouldn’t go bust or fail, which happens with many start-ups. It’s an enormous pressure to be under knowing that.

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
I’m delighted by how successful our AIM launch has gone since we activated this in October last year, and I do wonder if we could have done this earlier. The revenue it’s provided has allowed us to develop enormously as a business and we’ve really kicked ass because of this. In reality though, we didn’t have the internal structure in place until then to manage such a shift in the business, so I would conclude that doing it earlier would have been impractical.

What defines your way of doing business?
I fully believe in doing things differently. Why would you want to just be another ‘me too’ brand? With blur I wanted to ensure that we seriously ruffled feathers and were disruptors in the market from day one.

I firmly believe that by 2020 everyone will be doing services the blur way.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Get out there and do it! Make sure you have an idea you believe in, surround yourself with people who truly believe in the concept as well and then go for it 200 mph.

Entrepreneurs starting out should be prepared to put at least 10 years into their business before they can expect to see a real return. It’s a long time – so if you’re not willing to invest that decade, it’s almost certainly worth re-evaluating your situation and strategy.

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