Darren Jobling - Co-Founder, ZeroLight
Darren Jobling is a videogame entrepreneur turned automotive disruptor and was a Top 50 One to Watch in 2018. His company, Zerolight, creates virtual reality cars for the likes of Audi and Lamborghini, helping them sell more features to customers. It is now the world leader, growing at 50pc a year. “The automotive industry was crying out for change,” explains Darren. “We can now do what we do at scale.” The Newcastle-based company generates 100pc of its revenues from outside the UK. “I come from a family of engineers so I want to prove we’re still world leaders in engineering, albeit software engineering.”
How important is ambition to the UK economy?
Brexit has made things a bit harder for us, as we deal with a lot of European car companies. But we’re fighters here in the UK. Ambition and go-getting drives this country. We’re going to go out there and do it and we’re not afraid. With us Brits, a good scrap brings out the best in us.
What has been your biggest mistake to date? What did you learn from it?
Sometimes, you get presented with opportunities and it might be a stretch but if you don’t someone else will. In the early days, we were offered more work than we could do and we should have stretched and accelerated at a faster rate to accommodate it. We tended to be naturally conservative in the past but now we’re more ambitious and pushing harder.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right. There are lots of setbacks when building a business, and if you don’t believe in yourself, no one will. There are lots of reasons a company in the North East of England can’t provide a world-beating automotive solution but if you believe you can do it, you can persuade others and, lo and behold, you’re doing it!
“I’m passionately from the North East and we prove that you can be a world leader in the digital economy, no matter where you are in the world.”
Darren Jobling, Co-Founder, Zerolight