Tom's Acorn Years
Tom started his journey in 1996, aged 22. At 23, endorsed
by Michael Palin, he became the
UK's youngest non-fiction
author, publishing backpacker guide "Before You Go".
IT Guru Peter Pedrick and in 1998 they launched the website,
thegapyear.co.uk, on one of the
first social network platforms
on the web - two years before Google, six years before
Tom and Peter grafted hard to get the business off
the ground - sleeping on the office floor,
living off Pot Noodle,
usually working past midnight, often seven days a week. They
published 'Gap Year'
Magazine, Tom's second book, "The
Virgin Travellers' Handbook" and Tom soon assumed the
industry and media
mantle as the 'Gap Year Guru.'
In 1999 a business plan was created to turn a UK travel idea for 18-year-olds between school and university into a global gap year 'experiential travel' idea for 16 to 75 year olds, with new site gapyear.com as the dominant global brand. In 2000, when Tom was 26, £1.65m venture capital funding came from Henry Kravis of KKR and the rest is history. In 2010 Tom and Peter sold the business to Flight Centre Pty, a $10bn global travel agent. Gapyear.com is still the leading brand in a global Gap Year industry, a market valued around £5bn. Tom's work now continues with Acorn Incubator, helping entrepreneurs with a passion to find their path and begin their own journey.