Darren Richards - Profile of an Entrepreneur

Darren Richards - cars and helicopter

Darren's intrinsic entrepreneurial spirit has been the driving force behind a life punctuated by a catalogue of successes. The first of Darren's industry-leading business ventures took shape when he set up a company importing children's toys and became one of the first people to introduce the virtual pets, known as Tamagotchis, into the UK – helping to ignite the craze which followed. After spending several years running the company, Darren's keen eye for business saw him discover a new niche in the market.

It was at the start of the dotcom boom when Darren hit on the idea of setting up a dating service after idly surfing the web having come out of a long-term relationship. He suddenly realised that the internet could be the perfect way of meeting other singletons but when he searched for an online agency to join, he could only find companies based in America. Having spotted a gap in the market, Darren decided to do something about it and DatingDirect.com was born.

An instant success, the site had over 40,000 members within three months and fast-tracked its way to the number one position in the UK. Several years later in January 2007 and with over 4.5 million members, Darren sold the company for £30 million.

Following the success of DatingDirect.com, Darren was eager to embark upon his next venture. Having spent the years since building up a multi-million pound property portfolio, Darren took a closer look at estate agency services in the UK. Finding that the market was split between traditional high street agents and their large commission based fees but great service, and online estate agents and their low fixed fees but no local expertise, Darren came up with the idea for EstatesDirect.com - a national estate agency with great service and local experts in every area of the UK, but with 0% commission and a small fixed fee. EstatesDirect.com launched in January 2011 and in it's first year is already generating a hugely positive reaction from consumers and other estate agents. Look out for EstatesDirect.com, the next big thing.

Darren now divides his time between the UK and Tenerife, where he has business interests ranging from bars and clubs to holiday villas and apartments. When in the UK, Darren likes to fly his helicopter and finds enjoyment in indulging his passion for motor sports as well as driving his collection of supercars.

» Read about Darren's business success stories