Our funding round is now closed. Yes, it’s taken longer than 5 weeks to get all the T’s crossed and I’s dotted.
But in reality, it took us just 5 weeks to get £1.1m of funding.
First, let me tell you how it all happened
Last August, I sent an email out to our members telling them that we were going to begin Crowdfunding in the following January and that we were looking for one, or two, primary investors to help us seed the funding round.
I thought, what the hell, maybe there’s one or two of you out there who might be able to help.
I closed my laptop that evening, went home to my zoo (high concentration of monkeys in my household) and the following morning I came in to find 74 emails.
Emails that said:
“Ruari, I’m 55 years old, I grew my business to 27m last year and the best investment I ever made was the £109 I gave OYNB.”
“Dear Team OYNB, you guys are changing lives and I can’t think of a better way to invest my money than give back to the community that’s changed mine.”
We used the incredible momentum from our members to bring some heavyweights from the investment world that would give us operational experience, credibility and resources to deliver our adventurous plan:
Eric Young the Chairman of Archangel group – the largest Angel network in Scotland invested and is on the board as our Chairman.
Spartan Races – Joe De Sena now a good friend and on our advisory board are amongst our largest investors. Their partnership gives us the potential of 125 festival locations in 42 countries
Chris Laping – CIO of Coffee & Bagels Brands & best selling Author. Chris came on the board as CTO with a wealth of experience in all things technology.
The Founders of an Online casino Alea.com invested in OYNB and we are working on a solution for the gambling industry together.
Ajit Nawalkha – Ex CEO of Mindvalley and co-Founder of Evercoach joined our Advisory Board.
How are we going to help more people with the investment?
We have always believed in a “Weight Watchers for alcohol” model, but alcohol is just the first step. We create “technology to facilitate connection through behaviour change”.
We must develop a strong user journey, from the moment you join OYNB to how you can get more involved and potentially carve out a lifestyle for yourself.
The first thing we have to do is invest in our technology, and we’ve been asking you A LOT of questions over the last 3-6 months and within the next 3 months, you will start to see some of that technology develop.
We have invested in our team, which is now 16 strong and continues to grow in North Berwick, Scotland.
We are in talks with two major health insurers to deliver our corporate programs to a global audience quickly.
Why is it a business?
I stuck this question in because we’ve been talking about how to “change the world’s relationship with alcohol” and recently some research was published that the alcohol industry spends £1Trillion on marketing every year.
We all know how persuasive marketing is…
We will never be able to have the impact we want, whilst holding a begging cup out. We need revenue to create word class products, world-class marketing, a world-class team and ultimately change the world.
My last comment is a personal one…
I wrote a letter to Richard Branson when I was 14 years old, it said – “I’m going to change the world one day, I look forward to having lunch with you”
He never replied so lunch is definitely on him.
I set up my first business when I was 15, and by the time I was 25 I’d set up 5 different businesses (loose term… some were more… “projects”).
It wasn’t until a drunken evening someone persuaded me to fill out the application form for the TV program the apprentice… 4 months later I’m sitting outside for the beginning of series 2, ready to go on the show.
They didn’t take me on the show that day, and no-one ever explained why, but to get over the rejection I flew immediately to Ibiza where I bumped into an Oil Broker who got me a job in London broking oil.
Two worlds collided; partying and being successful. The more I took clients out, the more successful I was. I met my wife and soon our relationship struggled because of my job, my drinking, my partying.
Under huge corporate and social peer pressure, I decided to take a break from booze and this was the turning point of my life.
I felt happier, healthier, fitter, faster – I felt better at everything. I had no intention of taking this much further, until I got together with Andy Ramage., Together we came up with a plan to launch something that would not only change our lives but change the lives of thousands, soon to be millions of others.
OYNB was born in 2016, and we were completely amazed at the impact it had on the world.
In 2017, I sent 10 tweets to journalists and one of them was a BBC journalist who loved what we were doing. 3 months later OYNB was featured on BBC world news in over 200 countries. A friend of mine had seen the feature, and called me up from Italy to say “What you are doing is amazing, I’m meeting the Dalai Lama next week – would you like to meet him?”
A week later I got to ask the Dalai Lama a question in front of thousands of people in a square in Pisa. Later we stayed at his hotel and spent some time with him at breakfast.
At this point, all the dot’s of my life connected together.
The difficult childhood, recurring nightmares, the letter I wrote Branson, the hedonism in my 20’s, drinking in my 30’s, the failed businesses, the career path, my partner in life, the birth of OYNB, meeting the Dalai Lama and acknowledgement of my life’s purpose.
It’s hard to explain, it’s like a ‘knowing’ inside, I’ve known it since I was 4, it nearly ate me alive, I knew it at 14 and I couldn’t stand the noise. In my 20’s and 30’s I tried my hardest to numb it out with alcohol and partying, but it gnawed at me and my life and until I was living it – it caused rot inside me.
I know that OYNB is much bigger than me, I know that the serendipity that happens in OYNB and for it, is nothing short of incredible. It would make you re-believe in God, or Buddha or Gaia or the Universe or maybe even the Matrix, whatever it is you believe in.
The team that now pour their passion into OYNB are not just staff or just people – they all have stories, experiences and connection to the mission that drives them. It isn’t “working” at OYNB, it’s living a purposeful meaningful life while creating stuff that changes lives.
I’m so excited for the future, I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work with a team building something beautiful.