The first date that created a 10m company

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Image copyright Simon Dawson
Image caption The couple fulfilled thanks to a dating site

The BBC’s weekly The Boss series profiles various magnate from all over the world. Today we speak with Radha Vyas and Lee Thompson, creators of travel company Flash Pack.

When Radha Vyas went on a very first date with a guy she had actually satisfied online, little did she understand that by the end of the night they would be beginning to fall in love … and preparing to enter into company together.

Radha was 32 and single back in 2012, when a dating site matched her with a male called Lee Thompson since of their shared love of travel.

Over beverages in a London bar she informed Lee that she had actually observed a space in the market for a company that provided group experience vacations for single individuals in their 40s and 30s.

Her argument was that while 18 to 30-year-olds were well catered for by that kind of organised journey, as were older generations, there was very little available for individuals in her age.

Lee, who was 31, concurred, and they began to go over the concept animatedly.

Image copyright Flash Pack
Image caption Their company, Flash Pack, presently arranges vacations to 56 various locations

“The more we discussed business concept, the more excitable we both got,” states Radha. “And within weeks we weren’t simply a couple, however prospective service partners too.”

Fast-forward to today, and the now wed couple are the creators and co-owners of Flash Pack, which takes more than 10,000 individuals in their 30s and 40s a year on group vacations to such locations as Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Jordan.

Radha had actually developed the concept for business previously in 2012 when she wished to go on vacation, however all her good friends “had actually settled, or could not get time off work”.

Deciding that she would disappear on her own, she registered for a group journey to Cambodia that was intended even more at individuals in their late teenagers or 20s.

“Everyone was charming, however due to the fact that they were a lot more youthful they weren’t rather on my wavelength,” she states.

“It got me believing – why isn’t there anybody doing this sort of a vacation for my age?”

Image copyright Flash Pack
Image caption Radha and Lee confess that running an organisation with your partner can in some cases be hard

As their relationship progressed in the weeks after their very first date, the couple began to investigate their travel service concept, and chose that it might certainly achieve success.

While Radha continued with her day task in the fundraising sector, and Lee worked as an image reporter, they then invested all their extra time getting their business up and running. They called it Flash Pack, as an abbreviation of “flash backpacking”, and scraped together £ 15,000 to money its launch.

But when their site opened for company on January 2014, with simply one listing – an experience vacation to Sierra Leone – success was not instant.

“The very first 6 months of business was unbearable,” states Radha. “You find out about all these over night successes, however that actually didn’t occur with us.

“We offered one vacation to Sierra Leone, however then needed to reimburse the individual as we could not get anybody else on the journey.”

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Business at London-based Flash Pack will considerably enhance however, after Lee created a marketing concept that he hoped would go viral.

With the 2014 World Cup due to begin in Brazil in June, he had a concept for an extremely particular picture.

“I ‘d seen an image of some workers at the extremely leading of Christ the Redeemer, the renowned [mountain leading] statue of Jesus, in Rio de Janeiro, and the views of the city looked fantastic,” states Lee.

“I understood if I might simply get up there and take a selfie it would go viral.”

So Lee persuaded the Brazil Tourist Board to let him do simply that, and he took his picture 738m (2,421 feet) above the city.

Just as he had actually hoped, the image did certainly go viral, with 50 million engagements on social networks. It likewise resulted in him being talked to by significant news outlets around the globe, and most notably – drove a great deal of traffic towards Flash Pack’s site.

Image copyright Flash Pack
Image caption Lee’s inkling that a selfie taken from the top of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue would go viral proven proper
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The statue lies on a mountain leading high above the city

Before long the business was offering numerous vacations a month. Business has actually grown progressively ever since, with declared fourfold yearly development recently.

Today Flash Pack has a yearly turnover of about £ 4m, and is valued at £ 10m. And while the business now has some external financiers, Radha and Lee hold a bulk stake.

Joel Brandon-Bravo , a travel market analyst and manager of offers site Travelzoo, states Flash Pack has actually effectively targeted a formerly underserved market.

“Flash Pack is among the couple of business truly catering for solo visitors in their 40s and 30s,” he states.”It is straight targeting this audience by offering motivating journey travel plans developed particularly for the cash-rich, time-poor tourist who wishes to go out and see the world, however does not have time to prepare every component of a journey on their own.

“And with numerous blog writers and influencers taking a trip alone, this has actually assisted reveal that solo travel is possible and a favorable thing to do.”

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A growing variety of individuals in the 30s and 40s appear to wish to go on group vacations

Radha and Lee both confess that beginning an organisation with your partner can put a pressure on your relationship, however state that eventually it is a really favorable thing.

“I could not think of doing this on my own,”states Lee.”Starting a business can be extremely lonesome, and to have somebody to share the low and high with is remarkable.”When the service began Radha and Lee utilized to filth in and share functions, #peeee

. Today Radha is the president, while Lee- who explains himself as “primary buzz maker”-concentrates on PR and developing the brand name.

As to the future, the business prepares to open a workplace in North America, as it now gets majority of its clients from the United States and Canada. It likewise wishes to continue to broaden the variety of its vacation locations.

“Not lots of individuals are speaking with this market (30 and 40-somethings ), so we actually have actually discovered that space in the market,”states Radha.

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