JUST THE TICKET Millionaire, 26, who grew up on council estate now runs ticket company worth £22million

As Luke Massie was growing up on a council estate in Lancashire with an alcoholic and depressed mum, forcing him to look after his four siblings, nobody anticipated what a success he would become

04 February 2019 - 10:04

LUKE Massie grew up on a council estate in Lancashire - but now the entrepreneur, 26, runs a ticket company worth £22million.

Vibe Tickets aims to bring an end to ticket fraud by allowing fans to connect directly and exchange tickets for face value.

But it was growing up in a deprived area, while looking out for his four siblings as his mum battled alcoholism, depression and anxiety, that Luke learned the value of hard work.

"Growing up on a council estate has taught me to look out for my neighbours and peers. And that if I want anything I have to work hard," he told

"It's helped me understand people’s positions, their limitations, priorities and realities. It has also kept me with a close group of friends."

From an early age, and due to a distant dad, he had to take on the responsibility of his four siblings as there was "no-one to pass that concern to," he told.

 The business aims to bring an end to ticket fraud by allowing fans to connect directly and exchange tickets for face value, or for free.
Twitter
The business aims to bring an end to ticket fraud by allowing fans to connect directly and exchange tickets for face value, or for free.

So as a 13-year-old Luke took on five paper rounds from local newsagents. He quickly gave the wok to other kids on the council estate, taking a £3 profit from each of them.

At school, he'd buy and sell sweets to make money and while in college, Luke set up his first business, a Personal Protection Insurance company called Mortgage Claims Direct, in his spare time.

At the age of 17 he sold the business that then had 12 staff members for £94,000.

"It was pretty weird when I sold the business. I was going back to the council estate, having just cashed a cheque for £94,000."

To celebrate he bought a brand new Audi as soon as he turned 18, and he says it was the "worst thing" he could've done.

"My mum was suffering, she was on £68-a-week on benefits and I went and bought a new car. There were some harsh lessons to learn."

 Luke says his mum is his number one priority to look after
Twitter
Luke says his mum is his number one priority to look after

After investing in a few companies, he kept £50,00 for future plans and that money became the start-up fund for Vibe Tickets.

The business was born after Luke tried to sell four Ed Sheeran tickets for a concert in Manchester that he and his friends could no longer make.

Feeling ripped off by the thought of paying a "middle-man" £100 to sell on the tickets, Luke sold them on Twitter to a fan instead... and Vibe Tickets was born.

But the business' journey has, Luke admits, been a bit of a rollercoaster.

Despite the company being in a strong position, it failed early when relations soured between Luke and his main investor.

Months later, after being asked to take part in a competition by Virgin to find new start-ups, Luke, then 21, pitched to Richard Branson and impressed him so much, Vibe Tickets made the finals.

At a meeting at Branson's house the following day, the entrepreneur told him: "You're in the business of connecting people, you just happen to be selling tickets."

Using the positive promotion the competition gave him, Luke crowdfunded £617,00 in 48 hours.

Yet in the spring of 2018, Vibe Tickets went into administration after Luke was "backed into a corner" by shareholders, he told Business Cloud.

But he quickly bought it back himself, with full control, saving the original staff's jobs. And the business is now booming again.

In the past four years, Vibe Tickets has raised £600,000 in crowdfunding, had over 33,000 app downloads, and boasts a community of more than 200,000 fans across social media, according to Startups.co.uk.

 Luke Massie has met billionaire entreprenur Richard Branson on a number of occasions
 
Luke Massie has met billionaire entreprenur Richard Branson on a number of occasions

He's also just hired his 44th staff member. But it hasn't come without sacrifices.

"The worst thing about running your own business is knowing that you have everyone's lives in your hands," he told.

"People have children, mortgages and commitments. We’re in this together.

"We celebrate together - but if we don’t succeed, we also fail together."

His newest venture is Vibe Pay, a payments business that re-thinks marketplaces, in the way that Vibe Tickets did with re-sales.

Until the law changed last year, Vibe Pay wasn't possible but then "open banking" came in, which means the banks were forced to allow third parties to process payments on behalf of consumers, with permission.

Now he's ready to take on PayPal.

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