New Dragons’ Den star Steven Bartlett has launched a business venture with a former managing director of Social Chain.
Mr Bartlett has partnered with Oliver Yonchev to launch Flight Story which they have described as a “world first in-house communication and talent platform”.
They added the new company provides public companies with the “people, process and technology they need to build a resilient retail investor community around their story”.
Mr Bartlett, who co-founded Social Chain in Manchester with Dominic McGregor, said: “Hedge funds wouldn’t have imagined a world where 16 year olds are giving investment advice to other 16 year olds via TikTok.
“I feel like I had no choice but to launch Flight Story. Over the last two years I’ve been peppered with phone calls at an alarming and increasing rate, from pre-IPO and post-IPO companies that were starting to realise that if they didn’t have a social media and communications strategy in place, or the right talent in-house, there was a existential risk to their IPOs.
“It might sound crazy, but I had phone calls from family offices that were telling me they now believe a successful TikTok strategy could sway their market cap by billions.
“This is the world we’re living in, if you’re a public company and you don’t understand the opportunity and value of these social media platforms, and how they’re influencing – directly and indirectly the performance of your share price and of your public opinion, then you need to turn the lights on because you’re driving in the dark, and sooner or later you’re going to crash.
“This shift presents huge opportunities for public companies to get the credit they deserve, but it also presents a whole range of new challenges.
BusinessLive is your home for business news from around the North West- and you can stay in touch with all the latest news from Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria through our email alerts.
You can sign up to receive daily morning news bulletins from every region we cover and to weekly email bulletins covering key economic sectors from manufacturing to technology and enterprise. And we’ll send out breaking news alerts for any stories we think you can’t miss.
Visit our email preference centre to sign up to all the latest news from BusinessLive.
For all the latest stories, views, polls and more – and the news as it breaks – follow our BusinessLive North West LinkedIn page here.
“Flight Story will help companies face these new challenges. Today companies that can effectively tell their story at scale on social platforms win, and those that don’t fail.
“We know that telling stories on the internet is a modern day superpower for those with expertise and willingness to do so.
“It sounds crazy, but I would bet against any public company that doesn’t have someone in their business that understands the power of TikTok.”
He added: “I have to be honest, the traditional agency model is broken and built on dishonesty.
“Having run one of the biggest global social-first marketing agencies, we were not incentivized to act on the client’s behalf – the traditional agency model requires you to hold your clients ransom, by retaining the value, talent and knowledge they need, and to charge even greater retainer fees to access that value – we oppose this model.
“I’ve seen too many great companies fail with their public market journey because they did not appreciate or understand the opportunity social media presents them, Flight Story fixes this.”
Flight Story has said it is already on track to deliver eight-figure revenues in its first year, having generated more than £6m in revenue in its first two months.
Mr Yonchev also said: “Retail investors are not just a tiny subset of the market, they are a growing, engaged, loud and collectively incredibly influential group.
“A group that recent history shows us can single-handedly decide the fate of a business – Ignore them at your own risk.
“After the global success of Social Chain, working closely with Steven again to launch a world first, new venture together, and with an incredible team is truly an honour.”