Richard Charles Branson is a British businessman born in 1950 and known worldwide for being the founder of the Virgin company. He is also notable for his role as an investor and for his philanthropic work.
It should be noted that Branson started at an early age in the business world, because at just 16 years old he had already created his first company, a magazine that he baptized with the name of Student. However, the great business success of his career would come from the hand of the Virgin company.
Early life of Richard Branson
Born in South London, he soon began his career in the field of business. In 1966 he launched Student magazine. While the publication was slow to take off, he eventually went on to interview big-name personalities like Mick Jagger and RD Laing.
This publication announced the arrival of new records on the market in order to stimulate sales. Meanwhile, Branson was selling records at affordable prices.
However, in 1971, Branson hit a bump in his career. The British businessman was arrested for selling records for export. Branson managed to get out of that mess after agreeing with the British Customs and Excise Service. Thus, he ended up agreeing to pay the corresponding fine and the relevant amounts that he owed as taxes.
Virgin, springboard to success for Richard Branson
With his record sales business offering him a substantial income, he and Nick Powell created the record company Virgin Records. The reason for calling the company Virgin was because they were all newcomers to this business class.
After creating a studio in Oxford known as The Manor Studio, artists such as Mike Olfield and the Rolling Stones signed contracts with Branson’s record company.
By 1979, Virgin had expanded and Branson had amassed a £5 million estate. With his company on the rise, the record company opted for internationalization.
Furthermore, Virgin opted for the diversification of its business and entered the commercial airline market with the company Virgin Atlantic Airways. However, in 1992, in order to keep the airlines from him, Branson sold the Virgin label to EMI Records. In fact, the sale of the Virgin label meant a severe emotional blow for Branson, since that firm had catapulted him to business success.
In 1993 Branson did not stop and bet on the railways with the purchase of Intercity West Coast and Cross-Country. In turn, he returned to the world of music with his company V2 Records.
As for the airlines, it took over Euro Belgian Airlines, which it renamed Virgin Express. In fact, the arrival of Virgin in the airline business caused strong competition with the reputed airline British Airways.
These tensions with British Airways led Branson to sue for defamation. The trial ended in favor of Branson, who received a compensation of 500,000 pounds that he distributed among his workers. The airline also received financial compensation of 110,000 pounds.
Moving into new business areas, the mobile phone service provider Virgin Mobile appeared in 1999. Branson did not stop and in 2004 he turned to space tourism through Virgin Galactic. The objective of this company is to obtain tourist trips to space by offering tickets to tourists at a price of 200,000 dollars.
Global warming represents a challenge for humanity and also a business opportunity. This is how Richard Branson created Virgin Fuels. This company was created to try to provide a solution to global warming and offer cheaper and more environmentally friendly fuels.
After the sale of Virgin Mobile, Branson created Virgin Media, a company that offers Internet, television and telephone services. What’s more, Branson himself made a foray into the world of entertainment through the Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation companies.
Especially noteworthy was the creation of the Virgin Earth Challenge award in 2007. This award sought to promote the development of new technologies that contribute to the well-being of humanity.
The tireless Branson would continue with new companies, giving rise in 2008 to Virgin Healthcare, a private health company that combined conventional medical treatments with homeopathic treatments.
Branson not only tackled numerous business areas, but also, through Virgin, sponsored the Brawn Formula 1 team in 2009, the very year that the team was crowned world champion for drivers and constructors.
Over the past several years, Branson has pursued business in fields as diverse as healthcare, telecommunications, commercial flights, trains, new technology, and hotels. To do this, he has used a complex network of more than 400 companies.
As a prominent philanthropist, he is involved in initiatives such as against global warming, the fight against discrimination against the LGBT community, the preservation of peace and humanitarian aid to countries affected by natural disasters.