Meet the men looking to corner the World market

JOE Murray and Richard Tucker can sell anything. Cots, birdcages, log splitters, mattresses – you name it – these guys will have a dedicated website for it and they will be selling them by the shed load (speaking of which, they also sell sheds). With 79 of these websites and 350,000 items sold in just seven years, they have got a bit of a reputation for being fast movers. The company WorldStores was ranked as the 44th fastest-growing business in the UK this year, expanding in excess of 65 per cent per annum and raking in a turnover of £40m this year.

FIRST VENTURE
This wasn’t their first venture though. The pair bear battle wounds from the last dot-com era, having founded an internet marketing technology business that hit the rocks when the dot-com crash dried up companies’ e-commerce budgets. “It was a relative success,” Murray insists, “we sold the company and everyone who worked there kept their jobs. That’s a lot more than can be said for many of the other businesses at the time.”

Murray didn’t last long in the business once it was acquired. Tucker stuck it out for just over a year. “Having set up a business before, we were destined to start something else up,” Tucker explains. “Destined?” Murray laughs. “Yep, destiny,” Tucker laughs back.

DIFFERENT CHARACTERS
Murray and Tucker are very different characters. Murray left Bristol University with a degree in biology before diving headlong into a banking job in the City. Tucker set his heart on direct marketing, studying it at Central Lancashire University and moving on into a career in it before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship.

Unlike their first venture, the pair fell on the idea for WorldStores by accident. “We set up this site as an example microsite for the clients we were hoping to attract, but were really surprised that we enjoyed selling stuff. It grew from there,” Murray explains. They don’t just like selling anything though. They choose their products by studying what people are searching for on Google. “We source the suppliers after we’ve chosen what to sell,” Tucker says.

In anticipation, the pair now own the domain names for literally thousands of potential “worlds.com”. “What can I say,” smiles Murray, “we’re cornering the World market.”

CV | WORLDSTORES
Turnover: £40m

No. of staff: 120

Awards: Winner ECMOD Best Online Business and Best New Launch 2011, Finalist GP Bullhound Media Momentum 2011, Finalist Telegraph Tech Start Up 100

Co-founder: Richard Tucker

Age: 39

Born: Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Studied: Marketing, University of Central Lancashire

Lives: Winchester, Hampshire

Born: Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Co-founder: Joe Murray

Age: 39

Born: Marnham, Nottinghamshire

Studied: Biology, Bristol University

Lives: Richmond, London