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Young entrepreneurs break the code for success

DIGITAL DONS: Tim Armoo, left, and his business partner Ambrose Crooke

TWO YOUNG men whose digital start-up has attracted top clients including Adidas and online retailer ASOS want to encourage others to follow their digital footsteps.

Ambrose Crooke and Timothy Armoo, who formed Fanbytes, hope their success can serve as an example on the possibilities in the world of technology and the importance of learning how to ‘code’ – that is, create software or design apps using computer language.

The two entrepreneurs help brands to connect with millennial through major social media platforms.

Eight months since its launch, the youngsters say Fanbytes making inroads to companies who are looking to market their products.

Addressing the shortage of black coders Armoo, 20, told The Voice: “I think it’s because it involves a lot of delayed gratification. The best programmers are typically white and middle class. They don’t have the same pressures that a working class, black pupil, for example, might have.

“The concept of spending months or years perfecting a skill such as a coding to some people is an opportunity cost when they could instead be getting a job and making money right now.”

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Crooke, 21, added: “I also think it’s not really perceived as a cool thing to do when you’re young.”

The duo who met at a leadership event organised by Deloitte, both cited their friendship as being key to keeping them grounded and successful.

On their chance encounter, Crooke said: “The first thing the speaker said was ‘look to your left, look to your right, you could be sitting next to your future business partner’. I looked to my left and saw Tim and I thought, ‘no way’, but here we are.”

In addition to creating the UK’s number one marketplace for brands to collaborate with Youtube personalities, both young men are currently enrolled at Russell group universities completing their degrees.

Though still undergraduates, their youth is part of their appeal – as millennials themselves, they understand what their peers want and have grown up with social media.

Armoo, once named Huffington Post’s Entrepreneur of the Week, added: “This is a long term play for us. If you look at the brands we work with, the fact that we raised investor money from people who are expecting their money back with some return, and the fact we still think there’s so much more space to cover in influencer marketing – there are so many possibilities for our business to develop.”

Amongst their investors is English businessman Nick Wheeler, more popularly known as the man behind menswear retailer Charles Tyrwhitt.

For the pair, growing the business to its full potential is just as important as encouraging other aspiring coders to realise theirs.

“Visibility is important for us because we’re able to be to change the narrative; the background of two black guys doing well in a technological industry is unorthodox,” Armoo added.

The entrepreneurs politely declined to share details of the financial value of their business but Crooke said: “What we can say is that this will be something that once we’ve graduated, we can do it full-time and support our families. I think that should serve as an inspiration.”

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