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Alex Chesterman

‘If you think like a consumer, and if you think that there’s a way to improve that market, then it’s likely that most consumers feel the same way’

Not many entrepreneurs would cheerfully describe themselves as a copycat but Alex Chesterman, the man behind online second-hand car site Cazoo and, before that, DVD rental service LoveFilm does.

Not that he steals other people’s ideas but he’s good at spotting business models in America that would do well over here.

Cazoo, which has just announced half-year results of revenue up 521 per cent to £248m, is based on Carvana, a $46bn American internet car retailer. And LoveFilm (formerly called ScreenSelect) was based on the US DVD rental service Netflix.

With online estate agency Zoopla, it was another US company Zillow.

Cazoo is set to list on the US stock market with a $7bn (£5bn) valuation, despite only launching in December 2019.

Even before that, Alex Chesterman is worth £705m, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Chesterman said: “In the case of LoveFilm, Zoopla and Cazoo it was seeing a model in the US that was really solving a problem and improving a market… and then bringing that to the UK.”

Alex Chesterman is also one of the UK’s most active tech angel investors and mentors, having backed start-ups including Graze, Secret Escapes, CarWow and was awarded an OBE for services to digital entrepreneurship in 2016.

“If I had a skillset, it’s being able to start with a blank sheet of paper and figuring out how I want to solve a problem, whether it’s through transparency, convenience or efficiency,” he told the Financial Mail On Sunday.

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Tim Adler

Tim Adler is group editor of Small Business, Growth Business and Information Age. He is a former commissioning editor at the Daily Telegraph, who has written for the Financial Times, The Times and the...

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