- Author: Dougal Shaw
- Business reporter, BBC News
A young black businessman with several contacts in this sector, Timothy Armoo, 27, more than missed the chances of gaining investment, developing and selling his start-up.
He grew up in a housing estate in south London and attributes part of his success to “chance” as a teenager.
“When I talk to my girlfriend about it, Mr. Armoo says, she tells me, ‘You know you shouldn’t be able to do this.'”
Mr. Armoo founded his social media advertising company Fanbytes in 2017 and expanded it to employ 65 people.
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The London-based company connects influencers on social networks with major brands for promotional purposes.
He just sold the company to the larger advertising company Brainlabs for an eight-digit sum, he says – both companies are private, the exact amount has not been disclosed.
It is still incredibly difficult for black entrepreneurs to access start-up finance.
According to a recent Extend Ventures report, less than one per cent of venture capital investment in the UK between 2009 and 2019 went to black entrepreneurs – a figure similar to that in the United States.
And recent government statistics suggest that black-owned businesses are four times more likely to reject business loan applications than white or South Asian business founders.
Mr Armoo was born in Hackney, London, but when he was three months old, he moved with his grandmother to Ghana, where he remained for ten years.
When he returned to London in his early childhood, he lived at Mawby House, Old Kent Road, an apartment where his father, a first-generation immigrant, also lived.
“I was a poor child, we never had a lot of money and that gave me a strong commitment,” says Mr Armoo.
But then he experienced what he called “happiness” when he won a sixth-grade scholarship at Christ’s Hospital, a private school in London, where he eats more than £ 12,000 (approximately 9,172,175 CFA francs) per quarter.
“It forced me to discover a world I had never known before.
There was a child who was picked up by a helicopter one day. It opened my eyes and gave me confidence in what was possible, even though there weren’t many people who looked like me, “he says.
Timothy Armoo explains that this experience gave him confidence “in the way he speaks in certain circles, in the topics one approaches.”
He then used these skills to put together Fanbytes to meet with investors…
Armoo has also benefited from the growing value of social media influencers, especially in advertising.
Fanbytes recruits social media stars on TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat and forces them to work with big brands to collaborate on their advertising campaigns.
Mr. Armoo founded Fanbytes with two other black businessmen and close friends, Ambrose Cooke and Mitchell Fasanya.
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Mr Cooke developed the company’s own algorithm as part of his dissertation at Imperial College London. The algorithm extracts the data to find promising influencers on social media, allowing Fanbytes to recruit them before they become popular and expensive.
Today, she collaborates with some of TikTok’s biggest stars, such as Rhia from the UK, which has more than 14 million followers, and Vloger Bella Poarch, which has 89 million followers.
Its clients include Deliveroo and the United Kingdom Government.
Fanbytes acquired Brainlabs, a digital advertising company founded in 2012 by Daniel Gilbert, a former Google employee.
“Influencer marketing has quickly become an integral part of the digital media mix and influencers have become new A-sheets. So being able to offer it along with our other options under one roof is a huge advantage for our customers,” explains Gilbert.
TikTok’s advertising revenue is expected to triple to $ 11 billion (approximately CFA 6,731.3 billion), more than the combined Twitter and Snapchat advertising revenue, according to research firm Insider Intelligence.
“Influencer advertising is becoming increasingly important for brands as people spend more and more time watching content from social media personalities,” said Rebecca McGrath, Mintel’s deputy director of media and marketing.
According to a recent Mintel report, almost one in five (19%) people who have viewed content that has affected content have bought a product or service after seeing influencer promote them on social media in the last three months before November 2021.
This means that advertising agencies that still focus on traditional advertising, such as print, could start buying smaller start-ups that specialize in influencers in the future, Ms. McGrath says.
Mr Armoo hopes to persuade others to follow in his footsteps.
One of the biggest obstacles for black founders, Armoo, is, “is that they don’t see people other than them doing that that would normalize success.” a
“Finance is and there are opportunities,” he added. Mr. Armoo shared his business tips on his social media accounts.
“I’ve always considered myself a businessman first and then a black businessman. Otherwise, you start to put too much emphasis on your race and start thinking about all the statistics on lower rates or lack of bounces, which causes you to play mentally on the defensive.” advises.
“Be objective and solve problems. Concentrate on being so good that they can’t ignore you,” Timothy Armoo recommends.