Nick Jenkins is a serial investor and the entrepreneur behind the first online personalized greeting card website, Moonpig.com. The sale of Moonpig.com, just 11 years after he founded it, netted Jenkins £45m.
Even in the digital age, a personal note expressed in a thoughtfully chosen greetings card remains an important way to mark a big occasion. Online card retailer Moonpig.com is a big part of the reason why sending paper cards remains so relevant.
Jenkins got the idea for Moonpig.com while studying for an MBA at the UK’s Cranfield University in 1998. He would buy cards to send to his friends and relatives and then Tippex out the existing greeting so he could personalize the message.
Jenkins saw that if expanded this idea could leverage the capabilities of the Internet to create something you couldn’t buy in the average card shop. This idea was truly innovative – the Internet was still in its infancy and the dotcom bubble was yet to burst.
Jenkins told the Financial Times , “With Moonpig it was having the right product at the right time. The right product was my idea, the right time was good luck.”
He named the business after his own nickname given to him whilst at school in Shropshire, rode out the dotcom bubble and, by 2003, the company was a household name in the UK. In 2004, it launched in Australia. It was another three years before the company would finally become profitable but, by 2007, Moonpig had 90 percent of the UK online greeting card business; shipping six million cards annually.
In 2008, it returned pre-tax profits of £6.7 million on a turnover of £21 million – double that of the year before. By 2011, it was ranked third by the Sunday Times Profit Track 100 – a listing of private firms with the fastest-growing profits. At that point, online retailer Photobox bought Moonpig.com for £120 million, with Jenkins’ 35% stake netting him an estimated £45 million.
Having stepped completely back from Moonpig.com, Jenkins began investing in charities and smaller start-ups, notably Green Energy Options, Boomf.com, and Sheerluxe.com. In 2014, Jenkins assisted Sir Richard Branson to select the winning start-ups in Pitch to Rich (now the VOOM competition).
By 2015, he was invited to be one of the Dragons on the British TV series which matches entrepreneurs with ambitious start-ups, Dragons Den. His first season saw him make six investments worth £842,000 and he returned for a second season in 2016 before finally quitting the show. Jenkins continues to act as an angel investor and trustee on the charity foundation he helped to found. Spears estimates his net worth to now stand at £150 million – much of which he expects to leave to his foundation.
Not bad for a fortune based on paper and good sentiment.