DRAGONS' Den star Steven Bartlett may be living the life of luxury with exotic holidays and a huge mansion – but that wasn't always the case.
The entrepreneur – who became the BBC One show's youngest Dragon at the age 28 – revealed there was a time that he was so skint he'd search for spare change behind seats at takeaway shops.
Steven, 30, said his life now is worlds away from his childhood in Manchester.
The Diary of a CEO podcaster told The Daily Telegraph that he was so "cash-strapped" that he he used to "rummage behind the seats in takeaway shops looking for loose change".
Steven admitted that he was “tremendously insecure because he was the only black kid in a school of 1,500 pupils and so poor that there [were] no Christmas or birthday
He explained that money was tight and “parental failures” were abundant.
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In a bid to change his life he enrolled on a marketing course at Manchester Metropolitan but dropped out after just one lecture.
He then picked up a few marketing gigs before co-founding
Social Chain, a social media agency, by the time it went
public two years ago, the company was valued at £200 million.
The Mancunian now runs several companies and has also published a book – Happy Sexy Millionaire: Unexpected Truths about Fulfilment, Love and Success.
Steven dropped out of university to run companies The Social Chain and Media Chain, which he founded at age 22.
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Five years later he took the firm public, and in 2021 he announced two new companies, Thirdweb and Flight Story.
His book made the Sunday Times best-seller list, while his podcast, The Diary of a CEO, regularly tops listener number charts.
According to Forbes magazine, the entrepreneur was valued at £71million when he was just 26 years old.
Steven keeps his private life relatively out of the spotlight but recently opened up about how he got his ex back after splitting with her in 2017.
The buisnessman and French influencer Melanie Vaz Lopes fell in love for the second time in February 2022 after breaking up.
Speaking to podcaster and writer Tolly T for an episode of the My Love is… podcast, Steven said: “She flew to the other side of the world and lived in Bali for a year.
“I think as time went on, I reflected on that, I learnt more about things and life, and sex and relationships, and because she was such a special person, I realised that she was the one.
“So, I flew to Bali, and I went and said sorry to her.”
Steven says Melanie accepted his apology – and they "stayed friends and met every other day" during his trip.
Steven said he did not understand when Melanie told him she did not like having sex several months into their first relationship.
He said: "She turned round to me and said: 'I don't like having sex.'
"As a man, sometimes, that sentence can feel quite perplexing, it can feel emasculating. You think: 'Is it me, and that I'm hitting it wrong or whatever.
"I was immature, and I didn't really understand what that meant.
"I remember trying to ask her: 'What do you mean?' And she said: 'I’m not comfortable talking about this with you.'
"And in my head, I go: 'Well, if we can’t talk about it, we can’t solve it. So, this relationship is done.'"
However, Steven mentioned it turned out it was not that she did not like having sex, it is that sex is a language.
Steven said: “Ah, OK. You just have a different language. So let me learn your language, and then we can communicate.”
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The pair rekindled their relationship at the end of his trip to Bali and they have together ever since.
When asked about marriage, Steven said: “I’m not bothered about marriage. If she wants to do it, fine. But for me, it doesn’t matter.”
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