Success in Business

Darren had dreamt of setting up his own business since he left school at 16. Between stints of working in restaurants and as a holiday rep in Gran Canaria, he had tried putting several ideas into practice without success. "My friends would say, oh here comes Darren, I wonder what new idea he has today." After founding and running, a company worth millions, Darren says, "I was beginning to think it was never going to happen. But the moral is, if you think you have a good idea, keep going for it. You have only to find one idea that works."

Like many entrepreneurs, Darren has created many successful businesses from scratch. Darren's persistence and drive brought him success, but after making his first millions, he did not rest, he continued with new ventures, always looking for the next big thing. Here are Darren's key success stories:

Darren devised the idea for an online dating service as far back as 1998. As with all great ideas, it was born out of a need for a decent service not provided elsewhere - a gap in the market. Having recently come out of a long-term relationship, Darren thought the Internet would be a perfect place to find single people in his area. But when he searched for a dating website to join, he found they were all American based with members using silly nicknames such as 'Sexy Babe' or 'Hotpants'. Darren knew that if he wanted a serious UK-based online dating service, he was going to have to create his own. That was when was born.

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Property Investment

Villa in Tenerife

Darren has invested some of the proceeds of the sale in property. Unlike a lot of the get-rich-quick and amateur property investors we've seen over the last decade of property boom and bust, Darren invested wisely for the long term. He now has a property portfolio in excess of £10 million. Shunning property hotspots such as Dubai, Eastern Europe and the Spanish mainland - which he saw as over-inflated - Darren has redeveloped many properties in the UK for long term rentals, and purchased holiday villas in up and coming holiday destinations such as Cape Verde. On a more personal note, Darren has also built up a small commercial empire in his favourite destination of the Canary Islands - buying up bars and clubs in the Playa de las Americas region of Tenerife. He also owns a couple of multi-million Euro villas on the island.

From his experience of the property sector, especially in the UK, Darren has had many dealings with estate agents. These experiences led him to question the costs involved in selling and letting property. The majority of high street estate agents charge between 1% - 2% commission based on the asking price. The higher your property is valued the more you pay. Darren also noticed an influx of online estate agents charging a fixed fee. This seemed fairer, but Darren quickly found out that the level of service was far removed from that of a traditional estate agent. Why can't an estate agent offer the great service of a traditional estate agent combined with the low fees of an online estate agent? This question led Darren to a conversation with industry expert Ben Grove and the inception of

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Tenerife Yacht Charters

Tenerife Yacht Charters

Like many millionaires, one of Darren's first purchases after selling Dating Direct was a luxury yacht. The yacht is moored in Puerto Colon, a beautiful marina to the south of Tenerife, where Darren now spends much of his time.

Darren's idea for setting up a yacht charter business came when friends and family, in Tenerife on holiday, would pester Darren to go out on the yacht. He realised there was a market for luxurious yacht charters, affordable to the everyday holidaymaker. Darren created Tenerife Yacht Charters and the yachts are now booked out all year round for events from weddings and birthdays to business meetings.

Visit the Tenerife Yacht Charters website

Other Ventures

Darren spends much of his time at his home in Tenerife - it's a lot sunnier than the UK! He owns several bars in the popular area of Playa De Las Americas. He also owns Tenerife Yacht Charters business, which hires out luxury yachts for business or pleasure.

Read more about Darren Richards' other business ventures...

» Darren is always interested in investment opportunities. Click here to pitch your idea to him