Kiwi mo­ti­va­tor gets Aussie back­ing

Jake Mil­lar turned down cash in­vest­ment in his busi­ness and opted for ‘‘sweat eq­uity’’ in­stead.

Sunday Star-Times - - BUSINESS ENTREPRENE­UR - John An­thony ex­plains.

A New Zealand en­tre­pre­neur plan­ning to build a $100 mil­lion global ed­u­ca­tion com­pany, has signed a ‘‘sweat eq­uity’’ agree­ment with an equally am­bi­tious Aus­tralian busi­ness­man.

At just 20-years-old, Christchur­ch Boys’ High School old boy Jake Mil­lar has a busi­ness track record that’s not to be sneezed at.

Last year, he sold his first busi­ness, a mo­ti­va­tional ca­reers web­site called Oom­pher, to gov­ern­ment en­tity Ca­reers New Zealand for an undis­closed sum.

Dur­ing his short ca­reer, Mil­lar has also picked some of the best busi­ness brains in the world, pin­ning down in­ter­views with the likes of Vir­gin Group founder Sir Richard Bran­son, Tesla Mo­tors co­founder Ian Wright, New Zealand’s rich­est man Eric Wat­son and Prime Min­is­ter John Key.

Six months af­ter sell­ing Oom­pher, Mil­lar and his busi­ness part­ner Yuuki Ogino co-founded on­line busi­ness ed­u­ca­tion com­pany Un­fil­tered.

Mil­lar said he val­ued Un­fil­tered at $5m and had a goal to make it a $100m busi­ness within five years, as it pre­pares to launch in Aus­tralia and the United States within the next six months.

Un­fil­tered makes money by sell­ing mem­ber­ships to in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses, which gain un­re­stricted ac­cess to all videos and con­tent on its web­site, as well as ac­cess to ex­clu­sive events and an in­vestor net­work.

Its cus­tomers in­clude Seek, Fon­terra, NZME, TVNZ, Coca-Cola Amatil, Ray White, Pie Funds, Food­stuffs and Rus­sell McVeagh.

It also works with com­mer­cial part­ners, in­clud­ing PWC, BNZ, NZTE, AMP, Spark, Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion, Craigs In­vest­ment Part­ners, Bell Gully and Univer­sity of Auck­land, who pro­file ex­per­tise through Un­fil­tered.

Since launch­ing, Un­fil­tered has re­ceived more than 280,000 page views, 500,000 video views and more than 10,000 ‘‘likes’’ of its Face­book page, which was in­creas­ing at about 22 per cent a month.

Ear­lier this year, Mil­lar in­ter­viewed 27-year-old Aus­tralian en­tre­pre­neur Richard Bell for an Un­fil­tered video and was so im­pressed by Bell he asked him to in­vest in Un­fil­tered to help it grow into a global com­pany.

In­stead of ne­go­ti­at­ing cash in­vest­ment, Mil­lar in­sisted Bell in­vest ‘‘sweat eq­uity’’ in the form of his time and en­ergy for three years, in re­turn for a 21 per cent stake in the com­pany.

Bell is now chair­man, a di­rec­tor and share­holder of Un­lim­ited.

The com­pany was not yet in need of eq­uity but would look to cap­i­tal raise in the next year, Mil­lar said.

What the busi­ness re­ally needed was lead­er­ship and in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence to help it launch in Aus­tralia and the US, he said.

‘‘Al­though we now have seven staff and we’re hir­ing ag­gres­sively, we do not need cash to grow as yet,’’ Mil­lar said.

‘‘Our busi­ness is to­tally boot­strapped.’’

When the busi­ness reached a cer­tain size Mil­lar en­vis­aged Bell would take over as chief ex­ec­u­tive.

‘‘Through his skill set we will be able to sky­rocket our US growth and our Aus­tralian growth.’’ Bell had a loan on standby for Un­fil­tered should it need cash and would be paid board fees of $20,000 a year.

Bell dropped out of school at 16 years old and af­ter gain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in sales started his first busi­ness as a 20 yearold.

‘‘I’m a tra­di­tional high school drop out kind of guy,’’ Bell said.

He’s since owned two health clubs on Syd­ney’s North Shore, started a con­sult­ing firm and in­vested in Aus­tralian en­tre­pre­neur ed­u­ca­tion busi­ness En­tourage which has 300,000 en­trepreneur­s in its net­work. He had his first ex­ec­u­tive role with a six-fig­ure salary at 19 years old, lead­ing a team of more than 100 staff.

‘‘I’ve con­sulted to over 1000 com­pa­nies in 125 dif­fer­ent sec­tors given the that En­tourage clien­tele was all en­trepreneur­s and start up busi­nesses.’’

Bell said he was im­pressed by Mil­lar’s ‘‘de­ter­mi­na­tion, hus­tle and risk-ap­petite’’ fol­low­ing the in­ter­view.

‘‘His knowl­edge of busi­ness was very clear by the de­fin­i­tive ques­tions he was ask­ing me.’’

Tak­ing over as Un­fil­tered chief ex­ec­u­tive was some­thing he would con­sider when the com­pany reached the right size, he said.

‘‘I like to play with com­pa­nies with be­tween $20m-$50m turnover and ob­vi­ously Un­fil­tered is not quite there yet.

‘‘I’m happy to take the reigns over when we get to the re­quired size.’’

Mil­lar moved to New York City in June, to take the busi­ness global. He re­cently changed his sur­name from Miller to Mil­lar, to avoid con­fu­sion with Amer­i­can rap­per Ja­cob Har­ris ‘‘Jake’’ Miller.

Mil­lar has in­ter­viewed some of the best in busi­ness

Jake Mil­lar has signed up Aus­tralian Richard Bell to help grow Un­fil­tered as it pre­pares to launch in Aus­tralia and the US within six months.

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