Yasser Khattak has first-hand experience of what it takes to build a business as a young entrepreneur. Den, his innovative next generation light switch and plug socket business, has received a huge amount of publicity in the mainstream press and continues to grow rapidly. We spoke with Yasser about what it’s like to be a young entrepreneur.
Stories of young entrepreneurs creating, scaling and exiting businesses have become more common in recent years and Yasser believes that he is just one of many who are making an impact in the early-stage growth-focused startup world, commenting “the younger generation are transforming the technology industry”. A prime example of disruptive technology created by young entrepreneurs is Evan Spiegel, who founded Snapchat from his Dad’s house when he was just 20 years old – six years later Snapchat is valued at over $16 billion dollars. Another success story is Nick D’Aloisio, who at just 15 years old raised $300K for his summarisation application, Summly. Nick went on to sell Summly to Yahoo for $30m when he was 17.
The significant increase over the past few years in early-stage venture capital available to businesses, along with well publicised high profile success stories of young entrepreneurs has helped support the creation of new businesses like Den; “Young entrepreneurs have raw talent with no boundaries” says Yasser, “and can be extremely intuitive when it comes to understanding technology.”
Rishi Chowdhury, 28, founder of the London-based accelerator Incubus agrees that experience isn’t everything – “Experience can be long term and short term, and both are relevant and useful for our startups. By continuously testing the current market and learning, we can overcome the challenge of not having 20 years+ experience.” Oppo Ice Cream co-founder, Charlie Thuillier, 26, believes that the best time to start a business is when you are young, he comments “You are unlikely to have dependents, have less to lose, and will quickly form a very supportive network. You can be more audacious in breaking the rules, and less tied to the norms society has come to accept therefore more disruptive in your thinking.”
But starting a business alone is extremely challenging. Yasser has realised the important role which co-founders can play: “Building a company on your own can be lonely at times, and it’s a rollercoaster of a ride so it’s great to share these experiences with co-founders who can be there to help pick you back up!”
You can keep up to date with Den’s crowdfunding campaign here.