Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18th July 1950), soon going to be 71, is an English business tycoon, investor, author and now a commercial astronaut. He founded the Virgin Group in the 1970s which today controls more than 400 companies in various fields. Branson desired to be an entrepreneur from a very young age. His first business venture, at the age of 16, was a magazine called Student. In 1970, he set up a mail-order record business. He opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records—later known as Virgin Megastores—in 1972. Virgin Group Ltd. is a British multinational venture capital conglomerate founded in February 1970. Branson’s Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he started Virgin Atlantic airline and expanded the Virgin Records music label. In 1997, Branson founded the Virgin Rail Group to bid for passenger rail franchises during the privatisation of British Rail. The Virgin trains brand operated the Inter City West Coast franchise from 1997 to 2019. In 2004, he founded spaceflight corporation Virgin Galactic, based in California, noted for the SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane designed for space tourism. In 2006, he founded Virgin Comics LLC, stating that Virgin Comics will give “a whole generation of young, creative thinkers a voice”. In 2014, Branson and Virgin StartUp launched the “Foodpreneur” food and drink focused start-up competition. Winners received mentorship from Branson, legal support, and brand counseling.
The name “Virgin” arose when Richard Branson and Nik Powell formed a record shop. It was suggested by one of the earliest employees as thy were all new to business. They considered themselves virgins in business. Virgin StartUp is the Virgin Group’s not-for-profit company, helping entrepreneurs across the UK to start, fund and scale their business.
World record attempts
1986: Fastest Ocean Crossing; he beat the record by two hours with sailing expert Daniel McCarthy.
1991 Branson crossed the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada, 6,700 miles, in a balloon of 2,600,000 cubic feet. This broke the record, with a speed of 145 miles per hour.
1998: made a record-breaking flight from Morocco to Hawaii but were unable to complete a global flight
2004, Branson set a record by travelling from Dover to Calais in a Gibbs Aquada in 1 hour, 40 minutes and 6 seconds, the fastest crossing of the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle.
His latest feat includes him becoming the first billionaire founder of a space company to travel to the edge of space. a flight. On July 11, 2021 Branson along with Beth Moses, Sirisha Bandla (the third Indian American woman to fly into space) and Colin Bennett and reached edge of space (86 kilometers or 53 miles) on a Virgin Galatic spacecraft called VSS Unity.