Richard Harpin

Richard Harpin

Founder and Chairman of HomeServe

Richard is the founder and Chairman of HomeServe, a global consumer services company, which achieved FTSE 100 status before being sold in a take private deal to the Canadian investment firm Brookfield Asset Management for £4.1 billion. A true entrepreneur,Richard’s energy for business and creating opportunity is limitless. 

Born in Huddersfield and raised in Northumberland, Richard is a northerner to the core. After attending the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle, he studied economics at York Universitybefore spending four years in Brand Management at Procter and Gamble, followed by a year in Management Consultancy with Deloitte. Even in his youth, Richard showcased his entrepreneurial spirit by establishing various small enterprises, including the high fashion earring brand “Hookers”, which used fishing flies and were sold in hair salons across the country. 

While at Procter and Gamble, Richard, alongside colleague Jeremy Middleton, ventured into property letting in Newcastle. However, running the property letting business highlighted the difficulties in finding good tradesmen when tenants experienced an emergency. As a result,Richard and Jeremy took the idea of an emergency plumbing and heating business to all the UK water companies, looking for investment. Every company declined, except one – South Staffordshire Water. This led to a joint venture to set up HomeServe in Walsall in April 1993,with Richard as CEO.

Today, HomeServe is one of Britain’s best success stories, going from losing £500,00 in its first year and near closure to an international business operating in 10 countries with 9,000 employees worldwide. 

In 2015, Richard established Growth Partner to back ambitious entrepreneurs and their businesses. He invests his own money into fast growth consumer challenger brands, sharing his business learnings and supporting the founders on a step-change growth journey. He aims to inspire them to think bigger and help them to exceed their own expectations. He believes there is huge potential to scale-up the British economy by accelerating the growth of medium sized businesses.  He uses his own business learnings – 8 Secrets to building a £billion business – to support founders and entrepreneurs to grow their companies successfully.  So far, the fund has backed 11 partners including Passenger Clothing and Stubble & Co.

In 2023 Richard Harpin became the Sunday Times Business columnist. He also acquired Business Leader magazine, including the Business Leader Awards, Scale-Up UK Summit, and Scale-Up awards. In 2024 he will launch a new peer-to-peer community for founders, entrepreneurs, and CEOs to support growth in the UK’s medium sized businesses, helping them to become highly productive large companies.