Richard Stephenson - Investor, Entrepreneur and CEO of YUDU Media

Richard Stephenson CEO of Yudu

How it all started...

My first serious job was joining the Unilever marketing management trainee scheme. I must have been a real pain to manage, as I could never understand why everything took so long. But I learnt a lot and the training was excellent.

It was 1979, Britain was in “winter of discontent” and had turned to the IMF to prop up the failing economy. I left for more exciting opportunities in the Middle East, learnt about ten times as much as I did with Unilever but ran into some “unconventional” business methods and retreated unable to fund my planned MBA.

So I started another company which went well, got married and moved to Malaysia to start from scratch an Asian focussed business. A great start was thwarted by the 1986 recession and I returned to the UK to start a new business feeding the booming City of London.

This time I was party to a bad agreement made with a venture capital firm and I gained more valuable experience. The sparkling venture quickly ended up in the hands of a public company, Ward Group Plc. After a spell completing the agreed post acquisition plans I left to join Cape Plc and rose to Commercial Director of the Group. When the majority shareholder sold their shares I decided to move to Scapa Plc as a Divisional CEO. 18 months later I conducted a £37m MBO of the division, bought a smaller competitor and made the first of a 3 way sale in 2001 and completed the third exit in 2003 for a total sale price of £105m.

Thereafter I bought a small media company Digital Web Books from a Manchester University incubator and took on the role of Operating Partner to DukeStreet Capital. Over the next few years I chaired a number of investments: Thornbury; a medical staffing agency, Xafinity a business process outsourcing and pension management business; Navimo a manufacturer and distributor of products to the marine recreational market, and Deloro Stellite, a maker of wear components for the power, oil and gas, aerospace medical and oil and gas market.

Between 2009 and 2012 I relinquished all of my other responsibilities with the successful sales of Xafinity and Deloro Stellite to focus on YUDU Media…. That small media company that has now grown to be a world leader in Apps and mobile solutions. With 1,400 apps now live in iOS, Android and Win8 YUDU is changing the way we consume content online. The YUDU team has a great opportunity to excel in this new world.

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