John McGlynn

Founder of Scottish Capital, Storage Investments, Storage Vault
BA Accounts, 1996

alumni-spotlight-johnmcglynn

From starting up a company during his time at university, John McGlynn set up other successful companies to establish himself as a successful Scottish tycoon. Read on to find out more.

What inspired you to turn entrepreneurial and did you consider owning your own company when you were studying at GCU? 

I always planned to be an entrepreneur. A good foundation of accounts and law is imperative for any kind of business/entrepreneurial life.

How have your qualifications aided you in how your career progressed since graduation?

Accounting is the core of any business and my degree has proved essential throughout my career.  I believe in continual learning – after GCU, I went on to complete a degree in law from Strathclyde and achieved my diploma in legal practice and in 2010 I attended Harvard Business School. 

I am delighted that what is now Scottish Capital is one of the larger private investors in Scotland and we have the opportunity to back great businesses of scale like Storage Vault and CoVault.

What are your memories of university?

Great fun, great coursemates, great campus.  

What is your greatest professional achievement and how does it make you feel?

Starting something from nothing as a 21-year old student with £10,000 – I was told I was mad and that I would fail more than once - and being able to commit £100m to a new venture that you utterly believe in 25 years on.

What moment(s) in your career shaped you as a businessman and could you tell me more about them?

It has been an exciting, roller coaster 25 years and I have learned many lessons along the way.

To build a business of scale you need to have great people with you on that journey.  You need to pick people smarter than you in every discipline, and you must empower them to play their part.

The most difficult thing for an entrepreneur is to stay out of the way and accept that everyone is actually better at things than you are! 

You need to remember your word is your bond and reputation is everything in business.

What are you currently working on and what impact will/does it have?

Our biggest investment remains in self-storage company Storage Vault and CoVault. CoVault is a game changing portfolio of ultra flexible workspace - incorporating storage, studios, office and light industrial workspace, CoVault helps small and medium businesses expand and grow with premises designed to fit their needs perfectly.  One year ago we had three sites open - we now have 15 and should hit the 20’s by the end of the year.

We are also investing in lithium mining in the US as well as biotech and longevity companies.

What are your hopes?

I don’t really do hopes.  I make plans at blue sky level, then analyse and break them down into small bite-size chunks - then make detailed, point by point plans to make them happen.

What advice would you give to current students and new graduates?

Entrepreneurial life isn’t for everyone so don’t get carried away with dot com start ups. Think carefully what you really feel your vocation in life is and make a plan to do it to perfection and be the best you can be.

Taking this approach means it's much more likely you will enjoy the financial rewards of your hard work.

Your integrity and reputation are cards you only get to play once, so guard them fiercely.

 

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