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Our amazing entrepreneurs

Our amazing entrepreneurs

They studied at Newcastle University, now these founders are sharing their exciting business ideas around the world.

Timothy Warrillow, Fever-Tree

Fever-Tree’s rise to stardom has seen them taking over fridges in bars and pubs across the UK in the past few years. The company specialises in high-quality mixers such as tonic water and was valued at more than £154m when it was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2014.

Tim Warrillow, one of the two founders, graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in agri-business management in 1997 and joined forces with Charles Rolls to launch Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water in 2005. The pair found that the majority of tonics were preserved with sodium benzoate and featured cheap ingredients such as artificial sweeteners. They spent months finding the purest forms of the key ingredient, quinine, and developing a new recipe, which proved a hit with spirit drinkers.

Photo of Charles Rolls (left) and Tim Warrillow (right) with a variety of their drinks.

Anna Jones, AllBright

The first women-only private members’ club opened in London in 2018. The woman responsible is Newcastle University graduate and former Hearst Magazines CEO Anna Jones.

The AllBright club in Rathbone Place is the latest addition to the portfolio of offerings from AllBright, a company that supports female business founders and professionals. Anna started the company with Debbie Wosskow OBE in 2016, nearly 20 years after graduating from Newcastle in international business management.

In addition to the new club, the AllBright Academy helps female founders launch and grow their businesses, while the AllBright Fund connects promising and innovative female entrepreneurs with investors.

Head and shoulder photo of Anna Jones

Ben Reeves, Blockchain

Ben Reeves graduated with a Master's in computer science in 2009 and soon after co-founded Bitcoin wallet Blockchain to help people store and use the cryptocurrency. Since then, its mobile and desktop apps have been downloaded more than 26 million times and it now has offices in San Francisco, New York and London. Blockchain is the fastest-growing crypto company – it has so far enabled more than $200bn in digital transactions. The company has raised around $70m from investors in Silicon Valley and London eager to get involved in its leading technology.

A digital image of the Bitcoin logo

Dr Rashida Karmali, Tactical Therapeutics

Orphan indication glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive forms of brain tumour and only 8.7% of sufferers survive more than two years. Dr Karmali, who received her PhD in biochemistry from Newcastle University in 1976, is the founder of clinical stage biotech company Tactical Therapeutics, which is developing new treatments for the illness.

After her PhD, Dr Karmali had post-doctoral training at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and worked at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. She then turned to law and became an expert in patent infringement litigation for pharmaceutical companies. Here, she came into contact with promising treatments, which led her to develop a new compound that could help brain cancer sufferers.

Image of Dr Rashida Karmali

Ant and Ed Haynes, Coastal Fitness

After graduating from Newcastle University, Ant and Ed Haynes played rugby for Hong Kong’s national side before setting up the Coastal Fitness gym in Hong Kong. The brothers grew up in Hong Kong but picked north-east England for their degrees, where Ant studied marketing and Ed marketing and management. They graduated in 2009 and 2010 respectively. The rugby pros founded Coastal Fitness after seeing how strength and conditioning helped players recover from injury.

Coastal Fitness studio