Presently a virtual seed investor, Michael was additionally the cofounder of Gumtree.Com and Slando.Com.
Michael has finished his BA (Hons) in Economics from the Kingston University in 1990, and had began his profession as a Banker with Hambros bank [a private banking division of Société Générale].
Due to a pain factor that he had faced, at some point of the times with the financial institution, he had started out Gumtree.Com in 2000, which they bought to eBay in 2005 and began Slando.Com. Slando became bought to South Africa’s biggest media group – Naspers, in 2011.
He has additionally been listed as the 28th maximum influential on the list of “50 maximum influential Britons in era” by way of Telegraph.
His existence, successes and achievements being an suggestion to many, but are extremely hard to discover or study. Since, he's well known to be a media shy persona, and in his whole tenure has slightly confronted the media, one may also hardly ever come across any article about him.
Even after making so many massive offers, he makes no massive deal approximately it – no picture shoots, no TV appearances or interviews and no advising the authorities. Unlike his dotcom peers, he doesn’t revel in a celebrity status!
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After a success dotcom offers underneath their belt, one might believe that Michael could be one heck of a Spendthrift, with flashy cars and lots of houses, but shockingly he is quite the opposite and owns a pink scooter, and believes in spending very accurately.
Let’s let you know the lesser-recognised tale of his successes!
Part I: Gumtree.Com…!
What is Gumtree.Com?
Now owned through eBay – Gumtree.Com is a British on line classifieds and community website, with options of loose and paid listings.
Their three important styles of listings of Self-serve ads, Display Ads and Classifieds, fall under categories which includes: Motors (Vehicles & Parts), For Sale (Everyday Items), Property, Jobs, Services (From Traders to Tutors), Community (Bands, Clubs & Classes), Pets (Lost, Found & Looking for domestic), and many others…
Gumtree is predominantly regarded to be a unfastened listings website, however on the equal time, it additionally allows the customers to promote their advertisements by using “providing” them at the website online in one of a kind methods. Different varieties of featured ads can be offered for special prices. Some of them include: -
- URL Feature: – To add a hyperlink to another website for your ad.
- Urgent Feature: – Let’s you add a tag of urgency on your ad for seven days.
- Bump Up: – Bounces up your ad to the top of the listings and also advert duration to 30 days.
- Spotlight Feature: – Lists your advert on the Gumtree homepage for seven days.
- Feature your Ad: – Displays your ad on the top of the listings for a particular quantity of time.
Other than that, they have additionally prolonged their provider to enterprise customers as properly. They additionally have categorized advertising programs for corporations and groups seeking to use Gumtree’s offerings.
At this point, their provider is immediately or not directly (through partnering with different categorized sites), found in much less than 30 countries the world over.
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What’s their story?
Gumtree.Com became cofounded via Michael Pennington and Simon Crookall in 2000.
It all started all through their banking days.
Their work profile at Hambros bank required them to travel overseas loads. During one of such trips, they had been seeking out a brand new flat, a mobile smartphone and even pals, after they noticed a huge hole inside the society. A ache point that deeply existed, however nobody had performed something approximately it.
This was the late nineties, so the internet within the west become also booming at complete pace. So on one random night time out, more than one beverages down and after immense brainstorming, they decided to capitalize in this opportunity.
The idea become to setup a advertisements website join humans with comparable wishes. One million Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans primarily based in the UK, to be unique! Who were either making plans to transport, had just arrived within the metropolis, or needed help in getting started out with lodging, employment or meeting new human beings.
Having said that – they cease their jobs, self-funded the project and started out the organization, in 1999. And after months of rigorous hardwork, research, and trials & errors; at the peak of the dotcom increase, Gumtree.Com went stay in March 2000.
They selected ‘Gumtree’ as the call, as it related all the three communities!
Since they had been self-funded and on a shoestring price range, they used every cheaper and basic medium to promote their commercial enterprise.
In a remember of 3 years, Gumtree.Com had outgrown their preliminary community of Australians, South Africans and New Zealanders, and had transformed into the subsequent Craigslist of the United Kingdom. They had even all started monetizing the website and by 2005, had efficiently managed to make bigger across 31 towns round the sector together with Edinburgh, Adelaide, Durban and Paris, that too, with just 12 personnel. They have been additionally making profits by using now.
In 2004, Gumtree was offered with a massive cheque with the aid of eBay. After many negotiations and discussions, Gumtree become ultimately acquired through eBay’s classifieds organization, for an undisclosed quantity in May 2005.
Gumtree’s first of all became equipped to provide handiest 25% stake of the corporation, however eventually they decided to sell off the company. This turned into due to the fact – consistent with them, the net classifieds discipline in 2005, wasn’t in reality a confirmed business model, and became like shooting in the dark. Hence, they decided to pick out the more secure direction, and sold!
Today, Gumtree.Com has transformed into the most important and #1 classifieds portal inside the UK, and debts for 668,000 traffic an afternoon and 18.1 Million Unique Visitors Monthly.
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Part II: Slando.Com…!
During the negotiations of the sale of Gumtree, the founders of Gumtree.Com also started discussing the capacity territories in which a comparable enterprise version could work. So after some studies they figured that, the enterprise global changed into willing closer to China, whilst the marketplace of Eastern Europe and Russia, remained untapped.
This become like a meals for concept for them. None of the Businesses were searching at any such big territory.
That is whilst the founders decided to release a portal that was just like Gumtree.Com in this location. They also explained the commercial enterprise concept to eBay. Since, even giants like eBay can’t be everywhere on the equal time, they agreed to companion with the Gumtree founders and launch a comparable portal domestically.
The idea was to copy the model of Gumtree Countries round Eastern Europe and Russia, and offer them with a portal wherein one should submit commercials in their neighborhood languages under classes inclusive of: property leases, income, flat shares, courting, jobs, etc…
Both the parties – eBay and Gumtree founders, chipped in some cash, and launched the project. EBay took a 20% stake inside the agency!
And with that – only a month after selling off Gumtree.Com, Michael in conjunction with Simon launched Slando.Com in 2005 itself. Slando.Com changed into also founded in London itself!
Much like Gumtree, the sales model of Slando became also based totally on featured ads as well.
Unlike their homeland, matters were pretty extraordinary and hard accessible for them. The biggest factor that pestered them was the bureaucracy inside the country, which going through their words became – “Quite irritating”.
Russia become in large part a paper financial system and with a view to do pretty much whatever, a number of office work had to be done!
Unlike the UK, wherein you have to deliver an bill to accumulate the cash, in in opposition to for the provider one acquires; in Russia, you need to offer several exceptional files to get such a transaction performed. Moving cash from one birthday celebration to some other, paying an bill to a person, is an exceptionally complex procedure in Russia.
In 2011, the founders observed that the business had reached to a level wherein the growth of the product required for it to be toward its clients, and required someone suit for the part. That is where South Africa’s biggest media organization – Naspers (who already had a big presence in Russia and Ukraine), came into picture.
They started out talks with them, and after walking the organisation successfully for about six years and after months of negotiations, the founders of Gumtree.Com in the end bought their shares to Naspers for an undisclosed quantity.
Post the sale, the founders were part of Slando for about six months to oversee Slando’s integration, until 2012.
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Today much like Gumtree, with greater than 11 Million customers throughout Russia and Eastern Europe, Slando too has transformed into one in all the most important and quickest developing on line classifieds portals throughout 10 countries consisting of – Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Portugal, Greece and Brazil – and now accounts for 1600 nearby cities and areas as nicely. Since their launch, they're always taking part in a a hundred% yr-on-yr growth.