Warren Jacobs, the founder of Manchester’s newest digital agency, ActiveWin, is offering clients a no-lose business model. Elliot Landy meets the entrepreneur and finds out about his journey from Glasgow, via Israel to the heart of Manchester’s business world.
Warren Jacobs is no ordinary businessman. He grew up in Glasgow before moving to join the Israeli army’s special forces, where he spent three years, but his desire was for business, and once out the army he knocked on doors before getting a job in car sales for General Motors’ Israeli arm.
From there he worked his way to deputy brand manager for the company and then marketing manager for The Nation Traffic. With an eye for online and digital, he moved to the Israeli computer game firm’s affiliate marketing arm Europartners in its formative years, which was subsequently bought by UK gaming software firm Playtech in a deal worth up to £240 million in 2011.
The time was right for Warren to go it alone, and a meeting with Fred Done convinced him Manchester was the right place to go for his new start business.
“I chose Manchester as the base for the new business as it is an exciting and vibrant city that has a focus on technology and commerce. As the birthplace of the computer and home to the largest student population in Europe, we have access to a fantastic workforce to build the business.
“Active Win provides online and mobile services for Betfred.com and other gaming companies such as Dutch giant Mobibet, Totepool and is also developing in other sectors such as e-commerce, travel, finance and distance shopping which will benefit from these services as well.”
The firm already has over 40 staff from the local area and is in the black after just 11 months of operation. “The key to online success and rapid growth for any online business is to drive new traffic and customers to your business at as low a cost as possible and to use a blend of specialist techniques backed up by minute-to-minute evaluation and assessment of results.
“The gaming industry thrives on this science and numbers-based approach and at Active Win Media we already have the tools, the databases, the traffic, and the people to replicate this model,” Warren added.
Warren grew up in the heart of Glasgow’s traditional Jewish community and enjoyed active involvement with Scouts and Glasgow Maccabi FC, going on to represent Maccabi GB U17 in the Maccabiah games. Sport plays a big part in the family, Warren’s cousin is former European champion boxer Gary ‘the Kid’Jacobs.
After a self-confessed “modest schooling” Warren managed to talk his way into university but was soon leaving his marketing and psychology degree course for the draws of Israel.
“At the time studying wasn’t for me – I love Israel and from an early age wanted to be in the army and fight for the cause, I just wanted to be active. A few years later though I was ready for a career in business, and while working in vehicle sales, I gained a 2:1 business degree night school in Tel Aviv.”
Warren then stayed in Israel for nine years developing his industry reputation, but following the business sale he made the move from Israel to South Manchester with his wife Chen and children Lyr (eight) and Tav (four) who attend North Cheshire Jewish Primary School.
He has not looked back since. “My family are very settled and really love it here, apart from the weather of course!” he quips.
While the business model sounds risky, his company is being paid by results. Such is the confidence Warren has in his team’s ability to build online traffic and sales for clients, he is already in big demand and able to choose his client base carefully.
“We only want to work with clients where there is quick growth potential, we have proved we can really add value and earn our corn, and Active Win really is going places. We are investing now in building the team and welcome any young talent from the community to approach us.”