Brothers Jay and Vimal Pau were at sixth-form college when they launched a business that today turns over pounds 15 million a year and serves Vodafone, WH Smith and Shell UK. They started selling mobile phones from a table at the back of their father's wine shop, but soon took over the entire store and by 1994 had moved into B2B wholesaling, selling mobile phone accessories.
The business was named Fone Range in 1995 and soon the brothers had bought a mobile phone accessory company in Germany and set up joint ventures in Spain, Ireland and India. Their international outlook stood the pair in good stead when they competed for the licence for Warner Brothers consumer products. 'The mobile phone market is increasingly youth-orientated,' says Jay, 'and that licence meant we could reproduce popular characters such as Scooby Doo and Tweety Pie on mobile phone fascias.'
As well as Fone Range UK, the Paus also run Nexxus Tech, a company that puts patterns onto phone fascias, and Fone Range Partnerships, specialising in licence acquisition and new-product development. From a firm that started with just two helpers, Jay and Vimal now run a 250-staff operation and plan further expansion. The priority now is to increase market penetration and raise global brand awareness, says Jay. He and Vimal are just 25 and 27 and look certain to achieve their goal before either hits 30.