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Twin Black Brits are Silicon Valley's Latest Unicorns

The Kent-Braham brothers are redefining what it means to be a "Tech bro" in 2021.

By Adebayo AdeniranPublished about a year ago 3 min read
Image via Wikimedia commons

The definition of a Unicorn for the uninitiated is as follows:

In business, a unicorn is a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion [2] The term was first popularized in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee, choosing the mythical animal to represent the statistical rarity of such successful ventures.

Over the past few years, we have come to associate the likes of Stripe, Byte Dance, SpaceX, Klarna, Reddit, Telegram as well as the likes of Uber and Air b'n'b with the term Unicorn, even though the latter two have since gone public and the word isn't strictly applicable to them anymore.

We have also come to associate these organizations, rather implicitly and sometimes explicitly with a certain demographic, gender and nationality: white males and mostly Americans.

Here in the United Kingdom, according to national statistics, the chances of being an identical twin is three in 1,000 and the chances of starting a business being worth a billion dollars is one in 2,500.

And yet, given these somewhat insurmountable odds, identical twin brothers, Alexander and Oliver Kent-Braham have built an organization valued at over 1 billion dollars.

What is the name of their organization and what is it that they do and how did they get to this point?

Marshmallow is a car insurance firm which was founded in 2017, which deploys the latest software to get the very best deals for groups of people, who have had to pay exceedingly high premiums in times past, such as young inexperienced drivers, expats and recent immigrants to the Great Britain.

The intrinsic value of Marshmallow is simply down to the technology it uses which has helped it gain the competitive advantage over household names which have been selling insurance in the UK for several decades, such as Admiral and Direct Line.

Their disruption of the highly lucrative business of insurance has seen them grow in the last year alone from 13,000 to 50,000 subscribers. This is such a phenomenal achievement given the stranglehold of the big boys and the near saturation of the market.

Along with Zepz (valued at 5 billion dollars)which is owned by a British Somali gentleman called Ismail Ahmed,which specializes in remitting funds from the west to Africa, Asia and Latin America. Britain now has two firms owned by Black Brits, which are part of the exclusive club known globally as Unicorns.

Why does this really matter at this juncture in our existence?

For players such as the Kent-Braham brothers and Ismail Ahmed, their route to Unicorn success has been quite unconventional to say the least.

Venture capitalists are always on the look out for the next best business idea to invest in from which vast amounts in profits can be extracted when the company goes public or in silicon valley language: when an initial public offering is raised.

But the biggest problem for any driven black entrepreneur in the UK is that it is almost impossible for poor people to attract the sort of investments that will see their business propelled to global relevance.

These plutocrats almost disproportionately throw their support to players drawn from Britain's most prominent universities: Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics, Imperial and University College London, which are to all intents and purposes, near white spaces.

This is why the successes of the Kent-Braham twins and Ismail Ahmed matters. This will undoubtedly push VCs in the direction of players with original ideas, whose backgrounds may be somewhat unconventional and impedimental to attracting the sort of funding that could catapult them into the silicon valley stratosphere.


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About the Creator

Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on a number of subjects

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