A Kingston University graduate listed in this year's Forbes 30 Under 30 has reflected on how his business course helped him succeed and shared his tips for other students eager to follow in his enterprising footsteps. Christian Facey, along with his business partner Wilfrid Obeng, was listed in Forbes' Europe Media and Marketing Class for 2021, which identifies the most talented young media and marketing moguls of the future.
Last year the pair founded AudioMob, an audio advertising company for mobile gaming, after they developed technology that allows players to listen to adverts without their play being interrupted by videos or banners displaying the ads. They have already raised $2 million (£1.4 million) in funding and their advertising clients include Warner Music and Ministry of Sound Group.
Christian, aged 29 and originally from Bedford, graduated from Kingston Business School in 2014 with a BSc (Hons) in Business Management, having studied a four-year sandwich course with a one-year work placement. After retaking his AS-levels, Christian secured a place at Kingston through Clearing and, once there, promised himself he would seize every opportunity. His time at University was a key factor in giving him the knowledge and practical experience to succeed as an entrepreneur, he said.
"Kingston University was absolutely the best choice for me with an environment that gave me the skills and confidence to develop as a budding entrepreneur," he said. "The modules that I studied, conversations with my tutors and joining the Entrepreneurial Society taught me how to approach typical business challenges and find opportunities. I also met some incredible people, both tutors and students, who inspired me to become an entrepreneur."
Christian's top tips for students who would like to follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps include developing a hard-working mindset and applying what you learn to real-life by getting as much work experience as possible.
"If you want an edge over the competition, you should have two or three internships under your belt by the time you graduate. If you cannot get real-life experience, then create your own experience by starting new business ventures," advised Christian. "Also learn to accept that you cannot know everything. Be prepared to learn from your mistakes and from others."
Christian, who now lives in east London, started an events business while at Kingston Business School, then a foreign exchange trading business and finally a nightlife business, which proved unsuccessful.
His love of producing hip hop music and passion for online gaming and music, which he shares with Wilfrid, inspired the pair to found Jukebox, a music streaming platform monetized through audio ads. Although the business did not thrive, AudioMob was born out of Jukebox's advertising element after the two entrepreneurs invested in research into the games market and new technology. Being listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 was a huge surprise and a vote of confidence in the business said Christian.
"We are very proud of this achievement and of our work in building a unique and original advertising format," he said. "Running a business is always a learning journey and staying at the cutting edge is a proactive process of research, development and discovery."
Now Christian and Wilfrid plan to take their business to the next level in a games industry that is worth billions, with 2.5 billion users of mobile games. Their immediate focus is audio adverts for mobile games although the innovators also have plans for how the technology can be adapted for other uses.
"It's been an amazing journey and there are many things we want to do, from developing our technology to increasing diversity within the game technology and entrepreneurial sectors with a mentoring program for Black 18 to 25-year-olds, to corporate social responsibility initiatives around mental health and the environment. We are only just getting started," said Christian.
"I also hope our success will inspire young, budding entrepreneurs from a diverse range of backgrounds and show young people that with hard work, initiative and good ideas they can launch a successful business."