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West Midlands

Meet the leader: James Villarreal, West Midlands

22 Jun 2016

James Villarreal, founder and chair of West Midlands IoD’s Young Director’s Forum, turned an argument over broadband bills with his student housemates into a multimillion-pound business.

Glide ensures household utilities are billed to occupants individually, thus avoiding all those seething arguments about who’s paid and who hasn’t. Villarreal quit his degree at Birmingham University and turned over £140,000 in his first year, soon raising almost half a million via investment angels and a further £1.2m three years later. But with young professionals in major cities increasingly resorting to house-sharing, this is a market Villarreal is convinced will grow. “We’ve only scratched the surface,” he says. “We think we have about 3.4 per cent of the available market.” He’s now keen to position the company as a thought leader and set Glide apart from competitors. What advice can the Director virtual board give him?

James Villarreal talks about:

  • How his housemates’ failure to cough up £10 a month for broadband sowed the seeds of his business
  • Why he took the plunge and quit his degree
  • His estimates of £10m within two years were too optimistic, but a decade on the company has reached £17.3m turnover
  • His technical back-end headcount is quite high for a small company, but new developments in energy-saving technology convince him the potential is higher still
  • As this market looks set to expand, he’s keen to position Glide as thought leaders

Read the full story here.

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West Midlands

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