Steven Bartlett: Who is the newest Dragons’ Den Star?

Manchester entrepreneur and author Steven Bartlett has just been named as the newest star of Dragons’ Den.

The university drop-out will join Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Touker Suleyman and Sara Davies for the 19th series of the hit BBC One show.

Mr Bartlett is the founder and former CEO of social media marketing agency The Social Chain, which he set up from his bedroom.

He is the youngest Dragon in the programme’s history but how did he get to this point at just 28 years of age?

Below BusinessLive profiles Manchester’s latest rising star.

Early Life

Mr Bartlett was born in 1992 in Botswana with his family moving to the UK when he was three years old.

He lived in the Moss Side area of Manchester before he attended the Plymstock School in Plymouth in 2004 and graduated from the school.

He then continued his studies at Manchester Metropolitan University and started a degree in business before dropping out after a year.

After Uni

Mr Bartlett set about creating Wallpark, an app which acts as an online noticeboard for students. It was during this period that he met his business partner, Dominic McGregor.

In June 2014, he applied for a job as a freelance consultant for social network Bebo.

In an interview with GQ, he claimed that he did not use a CV for the job and instead emailed the founder with ‘five reasons why girls call me back and five reasons why they don’t’. He was accepted for the job next day.

Social Chain

In November 2014, Mr Bartlett and Mr McGregor launched Social Chain with a financial backing of almost £300,000 from investors.

At the start the company was criticised by its competitors for its failure to disclose its advertisement.

Mr Bartlett said at the time that the problem occurred due to his ‘misunderstanding’ of advertising rules.

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The group became a public company on October 2019, with Mr Bartlett announcing that the company shares are traded in XETRA/Frankfurt. The business had market valuation exceeding €200m at the time.

The group now consists of about 20 different companies.

The Social Chain has a current market valuation of more than £300m.

New Opportunities

In August 2020, Mr Bartlett and Mr McGregor announced they were to leave Social Chain.

It was then revealed in February 2021 that Mr Bartlett had joined the board of a £72m-turnover food replacement company Huel, becoming a non-executive director.

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In association with headline sponsors Brewin Dolphin, CMS, LDC, PwC, Robert Walters and category sponsor Bolton School.

He released his debut book, Happy Sexy Millionaire, this year and also hosts a podcast titled The Diary Of A CEO.

Mr Bartlett will now begin filming this summer on the Dragons’ Den series, currently on its 18th run on BBC One after previously airing on BBC Two.

He takes over from Tej Lalvani, who announced his departure earlier this year.

Business Live – North West