Birmingham Aston University – Successful Alumni who Founded Startups

If there is someone you would like to add to the list, please email us directly. Please see our shortlist below!



Ben Francis – Gymshark


ben francis


Gymshark was founded in June 2012 by Birmingham Aston graduate Ben Francis and his friend Lewis Morgan while they were still studying for their degrees. Whilst in the process of founding the business, Ben worked as a delivery driver for PizzaHut alongside his studies. Gymshark is a British fitness apparel and accessories brand which is currently based in Solihull, Birmingham.

Francis was originally manufacturing his garments in his parents garage with equipment he purchased with savings, before the company really gained some traction. In the beginning, the company was making £500 a day on a made-to-sell basis. The products were originally only designed for men, however they expanded into womenswear and now 2/3 of all sales are from the women’s department.

In 2020, the company was valued at over £1 billion just 8 years after it was originally created. Gymshark operates almost entirely online, with no physical stores at present, and has amassed millions of followers across social media channels.

Currently, Gymshark has sold products in over 130 countries with offices worldwide including in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and the United States, and made a profit of over £18.6 million in 2019 alone with over half of it’s sales being made in the United States.


Reena Salhan – Green Sisters


reena salhan


Reena Salhan is a graduate from Birmingham Aston University who founded her own company, Green Sisters, alongside her sister Geeta. As the siblings were growing up, they believed that cooking played an important role in their household, which became a difficulty when Geeta found out that she was coeliac. At this time, the sisters found a lack of availability of meals that they could all enjoy and as a result, they struggled to share family meals.

Reena graduated from Birmingham Aston University with a degree in business and decided to build her own company. Green Sisters is now a successful startup offering an award-winning range of authentic indian food. All products offered by the company are completely free from all 14 major allergens. In addition to this, the business incorporate ingredients which have true health credentials, including turmeric, cinnamon and various vegetables.

The sisters have made it their mission to ensure that Green Sisters offers delicious and healthier products which can be enjoyed by all of their customers, irrespective of their dietary requirements or choices. Whilst they started off selling their products at various food festivals and providing corporate catering, the pair now sell their creations from their own website and are also in talks with different stockists. They have also now secured their own kitchen, meaning that they were able to expand the range of products they had available.

The pair have also run a lucrative crowdfunding campaign with the aim of developing their venture, and were also finalists in the national Santander Entrepreneurship Awards in 2017. They have big plans for the business, but they do not plan to compromise on their values and want to continue offering excellent quality food.


Farak Ojikutu – Weld




Farak Ojikutu founded his own company, Weld, formerly known as Mechanlink with the aim of improving quality, convenience and trust in the automotive aftermarket. Weld essentially aims to make automative e-commerce easier for it’s customers.

Whilst he was a student at Birmingham Aston University, Faruk decided he wanted to build his own business after noticing a complete lack of transparency surrounding the price of mechanic services. He also found that there was a sense of distrust from customers surrounding the best price for mechanic services and also whether customers were receiving the services they needed. Faruk’s main goal through creating Weld was to provide customers with more power in an industry where they are not typically favoured.

The platform provided by Weld is free and provides customers with direct links to their local mechanics. Mechanics will then be able to provide customers with an accurate price for the work they need doing and customers will be linked to mechanics based on their individual availability. All profiles should also be verified and rated, meaning that users can trust the service they are receiving.

Since the creation of Weld, Faruk has used crowdfunded to generate capital for his company through the Aston Go platform, and has also completed more than 400 mechanic jobs. Weld’s platform is currently seeing over £100,000 in transaction value and operates in a variety of locations. These include London, Birmingham, Luton, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes and the company aims to start operating internationally.

Faruk wants Weld to become the main platform for all auto needs. He wants to provide confidence for all vehicle owners/operators or personnel in the auto industry. He wants to ensure that all products and services that customers may require can be located successfully through his platform, including parts, repairs, maintenance, and servicing.


Victoria Masso – Behaviour Hackers


victoria masso


Victoria Masso is an Engineer with a Masters in International Business and she is also the founder of Behaviour Hackers. Victoria graduated from Birmingham Aston in 2014 and has training in human behaviour and personality. In addition to this, she is trained on delivering the International Telecommunications Union’s tools for ICT centric ecosystem building.

Victoria created Behaviour Hackers in order to bridge the gap between the current global economy, technological advancement and adaptions in the behaviour of organisations. She wants to build bridges between technology and human interactions, ensuring that all resources are optimised in order to boost human talent. Victoria has a background in engineering , meaning that her approach to this task is entirely unique. She works all over the world to deliver corporate training to various organisations to help them create a larger impact whilst simultaneously using fewer resources.

Victoria believes that the digital sector should be accessible to all, so she participates in multiple initiatives. This includes being an ambassador for the organisation Women in Tech for Silicon canal, and also an active Member of TEDxAstonUniversity advisory board.


If there is someone you would like to add to the list, please email us directly.