UK’s youngest self-made billionaire explains how he did it from girlfriend’s bed

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    One of the UK's richest men and the country's youngest self-made billionaire has opened up about how the company he started from his girlfriend's bed made him a billionaire.

    Australian-born businessman Johnny Boufarhat, 29, started online events platform Hopin aged 26 and the business quickly grew to be worth more than £1.7billion.

    But unlike many of those on the UK's rich lists, Johnny came from humble beginnings having been born in Australia after his parents moved from Lebanon to flee the Civil War.

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    He was born to a Lebanese father who was a mechanical engineer and a Syrian-born Armenian mother who was an accountant. As a teenager he moved to the UK to study mechanical engineering at Manchester University..

    In his early 20s Johnny created the Hopin app after food poisoning confined him to his girlfriend's flat in King's Cross, London

    The businessman told The Sunday Times that he became so sick he was unable to leave the bed – and felt lonely and isolated.

    His video-conferencing app, which he first started dabbling with in 2018, took him from the bed to the boardroom in a matter of years.

    The Sunday Times reports that Boufarhat has made about £162.5million from selling shares in Hopin and still owns about 42% of the business.

    In a 2021 interview with the paper he admitted he never liked the idea of working for someone else, saying: “Then I got so sick I was unable to leave my bed. I was starting to get weird reactions, like rashes from the sun.

    "My brain fog was so severe I couldn’t remember things. I felt like I had some sort of dementia. And I had lost trust with doctors.”

    He snapped up six further tech businesses that same year, saying: “I would love to IPO (when a private company first sells shares of stock to the public) in the UK but, at the same time, there’s a strong negativity around it. I feel that a lot of them flop because investors are much more conservative.”

    Boufarhat is worth £1.714bn and ranks 102nd on The Sunday Times Rich List 2023.

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