Unfiltered founder dies in Kenya: “I had never met someone like Jake Millar”
Jake Millar, founder of Unfiltered and Oopher startups, has died in Kenya at the age of 26.
Both companies were formed when Millar was still a teenager.
Oopher was an online showcase of motivational videos featuring advice from prominent New Zealanders.
Millar’s most publicized company, Unfiltered, followed the same principle, but extended it to live events and ultimately to an international market. He turned down a full $ 40,000 scholarship to the university so he could continue.
Unfiltered has received investment and support from prominent businessmen and other community leaders and, at one point, was reportedly valued at $ 12 million.
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But Millar sold Unfiltered to Crimson Education earlier this year for $ 120,000 in cash and stock, in a deal that reportedly rocked investors.
Crimson Education chief executive and co-founder Jamie Beaton said he still remembers his first meeting with Millar, virtual via Skype, in 2013.
“His meteoric ambitions – to be Prime Minister, to create transformative businesses, to explore life to the fullest – shone.
“I remember leaving the call feeling totally impressed. New Zealand too often stifles ambition among its young people, but Jake was on fire. I had never met someone in New Zealand like Jake Millar.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a brief statement on Millar’s death on Monday morning.
“The ministry is aware of the tragic death of Jake Millar and is providing consular assistance to his family.”
Meet the young man who sold his business to the government as a teenager
Beaton praised Millar’s ability to knock on the doors of some of the most successful people on the planet, including Virgin founder and billionaire Richard Branson.
“I bet on Jake and I would continue to bet on Jake because with Jake the question is never ‘if’ but ‘when’.”
Former National Party Leader Don Brash was interviewed by Millar as part of Project Unfiltered and has been in regular contact with Millar over the years. He said he was shocked by the news of his death.
“He had visited New Zealand earlier this year and I had seen him several times then … but things clearly turned out badly.”
Brash spoke to Millar via Zoom when the entrepreneur was in Cape Town last month.
“He was obviously someone who had a lot of initiative, a lot of courage and a start.”
Millar first met Brash as a 12th grade student, shortly after the Christchurch earthquakes, when he began approaching leaders in their industries to speak to students at Christchurch Boys’ High School.
“It struck me as quite remarkable for a guy who would probably be 15 or 16 at the time to approach a number of fairly high-profile citizens and, unsurprisingly, next year he became Chief Prefect. . “
Newshub Journalist Mitch McCann was a friend of Millar’s and met him when he returned to New Zealand in July.
They went to high school together and were in the same boarding house. McCann accompanied him to help Oompher after Millar threw him.
He said Millar’s defining characteristic was his tenacity, which was fully visible when they showed up to former All Black coach Steve Hansen for an interview.
“We went to Steve’s and I didn’t realize Steve actually told Jake he couldn’t do it that day … Jake either ignored the email or didn’t. hadn’t seen, and we just got to the front door and got the interview anyway.
Tributes poured in on Monday, including from Michelle Dickinson, who said she hoped her death made people think about the pressure on young entrepreneurs and the support needed.
Whether it’s poppy syndrome or just an increase in ‘opinions’ on social media from people who have never even met Jake, the way we talk about people on our platforms social is important. Let’s not forget to be nice. “
In 2018, Millar was named one of Forbes the magazine’s 30-under-30s in North America to watch in education. He has served on global advisory boards and has also served as a BMW brand ambassador.
Millar also experienced tragedy in his personal life early on when his father died in a parachute plane crash over Fox Glacier.
Millar, 15, wrote to John Key asking for advice on his personal life after his father’s death.
Later, Millar also strongly criticized the Transportation Accident Inquiry Commission’s investigation into the incident.
McCann said Millar maintains a close circle of close friends.
The main thing he remembers is how much Millar cared about what was going on in the lives of others, even though those lives were very far removed from his own.
“When I spoke to him, I had a genuine feeling that he cared,” McCann said.
“If I had talked about anything in my personal life that was a lot less exciting than going around the world or doing what he was doing, he really cared.”
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