Ambrose Cooke is an outstanding alumnus of the Powerlist Foundation and Deloitte Leadership Programme (PFDLP) having jumped into the rarified world of corporate superstardom even before he finishes his studies. It is all down to attending the PFDLP in 2013 where he met his business partner Timothy Armoo.
Ambrose was unsure about his post-graduate future before he attended the PFDLP but it didn’t take long after that to find his direction. The 21-year-old mechanical engineering student heeded Ken Olisa, OBE, Chair of the Powerlist Foundation, when he urged the attendees to “look to your left, the person beside you may be your future business partner”.
Ambrose spotted Tim, jokes that he had no intention to talk to him from first impressions, but nevertheless introduced himself. They immediately clicked and it led to Ambrose joining Tim as his business partner in an embryonic online marketing business.
Established in January 2015, Fanbytes connects brands such as Nickelodeon, New Look, GoPro, Adidas and Disney with target audiences – particularly millennials – through social media outlets such as YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. The great Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho – a former World Footballer of the Year – is also a client. There are smaller app companies that use the Fanbytes service too.
The use of social video is its unique selling point. It also has a comprehensive algorithm which helps track how well a campaign is received.
Ambrose first heard of the PFDLP through the Vanguard Connect website, which promotes networking in the African-Caribbean community. Although relatively new, the PFDLP’s reputation was already resonating among black undergraduates and Ambrose decided to get involved as a result. Claud Williams, who had already attended a PFDLP and is now the Chief Ambassador of the Powerlist Foundation, was one particular influence on Ambrose’s decision to attend the three-and-a-half day course.
Apart from meeting his future business partner, Ambrose was inspired to “go and chase my dreams”. Before then he only had a notion to pursue an entrepreneurial career but attending the programme solidified his goals.
“It really gave me the inspiration to actually change my thinking, knowing that I’m capable of taking the steps to start my own successful business.”
He was able to network with like-minded students and get invaluable advice from mentors such as Peter Adefioye, a 2013 PFDLP delegate who founded the group Vanguard Connect, Piers Linney, the Dragon’s Den investor and Trustee of the Powerlist Foundation, investment banker Dennis Owusu-Sem who is founder of Success Talks and a long term supporter of the Powerlist Foundation and Edwin Broni-Mensah, who was a speaker at the inaugural PFDLP in 2011 and whose company Give Me Tap funds water pumps to Africa.
The south Londoner is completing his master’s this summer at Imperial College in London’s Earl’s Court. After that he will focus full-time on Fanbytes.
When Ambrose first began studying at Imperial, he intended to use his degree in the conventional manner and applied for apprenticeships in banking, engineering and photography. He turned down a Rolls Royce apprenticeship and even an opportunity with Goldman Sachs because he wanted to have “some autonomy” and didn’t want to be just “a small part” of such huge companies. The intention was to “directly impact” any company he joined.
He has been invited back to talk at Powerlist Foundation seminars to inspire others. His advice to students considering attending the PFDLP is “to definitely make the time to attend”. He adds, “It’s only three or four days and it will be worth every day. You just never know who you’re going to meet there and either way you’re going to get that kick to do more with your life eventually.”
Fanbytes may be in its infancy but it is has been remarkably successful so far leading to recent features in the Daily Mail, Forbes magazine and The Sun as well as many other media outlets. Tim and Ambrose handle most of the business side and Mitchell Fasanya is their Chief Technical Officer.
At present Tim, also 21, flits between London and Warwick University where he is finishing his degree and Mitchell is based at Nottingham University studying for a computer science degree. By the summer Fanbytes hope to open an office in London and start taking on staff when it raises more funds to expand.
Ambrose says that the publicity “has been great for getting clients”. He is proud that a marketing magazine named them “as the guys that control social media”. The fact that Forbes stated that they were “the men that are helping define how brands are sold to other millennials” is immensely helpful, confirming that they are leaders in influencing marketing.
Veronica Martin, the Powerlist Foundation CEO, says: “The Powerlist Foundation’s motto, ‘Sharing Success with Tomorrow’s Leaders’ epitomises our commitment to accelerating the attainment of young people like Tim and Ambrose, who are clearly marked out for future greatness. To see the willingness and potential that exists within these individuals constantly reminds me that there is a solid foundation that will always be there with people who have a passion to succeed.”
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