Jake Millar, founder of startup businesses Unfiltered and Oompher. has died in Kenya.
Millar set up the business as a teenager and received millions of dollars in investments from high-profile businesspeople. It was estimated to be worth $360 million in 2019.
But it was announced this year that he had sold the business to Crimson Education for $120,000 in cash and shares in a deal that is understood to have upset investors.
Former National Party leader Don Brash was interviewed by Millar as part of the Unfiltered project and has been in regular contact with Millar over the years. He said he was shocked at the news of his death.
“He had visited New Zealand early this year and I’d seen him several times then .,. but clearly things went wrong.”
This is very sad. Jake has immense potential, and has died so very young.
Like many entrepreneurs he had experienced great success and failure. There are few entrepreneurs who do not fail at some stage. Risk is always tied to reward.
Crimson Education chief executive and co-founder Jamie Beaton said he still remembered his first meeting with Millar, a virtual one via Skype in 2013.
“His searing ambitions – to be prime minister, to build transformative companies, to explore life to its fullest – radiated.
“I remember leaving the call feeling totally wowed. New Zealand too often suffocates ambition in its young people, but Jake burned bright. I had never met anyone in New Zealand like Jake Millar.”
Beaton praised Millar’s ability to knock on the doors of some of the most successful people on the planet, such as Virgin founder and billionaire, Richard Branson.
“I bet on Jake and I would keep betting on Jake because with Jake the question is never ‘if’ but ‘when’.”
My condolences to Jake’s family and friends.