UK entrepreneurs who made a weird career change that paid off

Ant jumps over the cliffIf you’re scared to leave employment to start a business or think your job hasn’t equipped you for entrepreneurship then let these stories of famous founders’ career changes inspire you

Michelle Mone OBE – Marketing beers to building a brassiere business

As founder of the Ultimo brand, Baroness Mone is arguably one of the country’s most influential business women and well-known female entrepreneurs, but back in the 1990s her career was a world away from brassieres.  Mone started her career as a marketeer for a Canadian beer company and went on to become head of marketing at the company’s Scotland office.  She was made redundant and she decided to leave the world of breweries behind to launch Ultimo; the lingerie business that Mone would scale to become a company with revenues in excess of £39m.

Richard Reed CBE – Account management to smoothie making

A geography graduate from Cambridge University, Reed spent four yours as an advertising agency executive before deciding to launch Innocent with friends Jon Wright and Adam Balon.  In 2013, Reed and his Innocent founders sold 90% of their shares to Coca Cola for an estimated £100m.

Paul Lindley – TV executive to toddler food

Paul Lindley’s organic baby food brand Ella’s Kitchen is beloved by mums and dads across the country yet his past career saw him more focused on what kids were watching, than what they were eating.

Lindley was previously deputy managing director of TV company Nickelodeon – the network behind original series such as SpongeBob Squarepants. After spending nine years at the channel working his way from accounting to deputy MD, Lindley quit and went on to launch the first Ella’s Kitchen range in 2006, named after his daughter.

Will Shu – Investment banking to food delivery

A former investment banker for Morgan Stanley, Shu would often work 100 hour working weeks and would order take-away most days; facilitated by his company’s $25-a-day food allowance. When Shu was transferred from America to the company’s Canary Wharf office in London, Shu’s penchant for take-away food remained yet he found London’s local take-away options lacking.  Since launching the company in London in February 2013, and spending time as a Deliveroo driver himself, Shu has seen Deliveroo scale to valuations of over $2bn with operations in 35 UK cities and 40 cities internationally