At just 14 years old, Jenk Oz hasn’t even started his GCSEs yet.
But as CEO of his own company, he’s definitely ahead of the curve.
The teenager from London is regularly spotted mingling with A-listers, from James Corden to Idris Elba to Adele, and it’s all because of an idea he came up with the idea at just eight years old.
iCoolKid – a website for teens and tweens who want to know the best TV, music, and things to do at the weekend – started after Jenk presented the idea to his class during show and tell.
Now Jenk, who was born in the UK to a Canadian mother and Turkish father, has six paid employees for his Gen Z lifestyle websites – and juggles running the business with keeping up his schoolwork. He even sends emails during lunch breaks.
iCoolKid started after Jenk Oz presented the idea to his class during show and tell. He’s now Britain’s youngest CEO at just 14. His success has lead to him being able to meet a bevvy of stars, including Nicole Scherzinger (left) and Hailey Bieber (right)
Jenk’s website now has seen visitors from more than 190 different countries from Burma to Namibia to Fiji, and he hopes to keep the business growing as Gen Z grows up. Pictured: Jenk speaking in Dubai, at the SME Beyond Borders discussing what the future has in store
Speaking to Femail, Jenk explained: ‘iCoolKid Ltd comprises a website – iCoolKid.com – a comprehensive collection of social media platforms; a YouTube Channel housing original productions; weekly curated music playlists on Spotify; professionally mixed hour-long music playlists housed on Soundcloud; and a production facility referred to as “The Garage”.’
‘Revenues are derived from website ads, YouTube ads, affiliate programs, consulting fees, public speaking and hosting fees, influencer marketing and professional work- commercials and print campaigns.’
Discussing how he balances running a major business and school work, he told Femail: ‘I’m only in the classroom only six and half months a year.
‘Therefore plenty of time off to concentrate on the business and take courses to become a more well-rounded business person.
‘I still have so much to learn from people who know so much more than I do and to experience it first-hand at my age makes me feel very fortunate.
‘While in school, I speak to the team daily and send in ideas for articles throughout the day based on conversations with classmates and what I see trending on social and the internet.’
Jenk’s mother, who worked for Goldman Sachs for 23 years helps out as an unpaid CFO, deals with all the contracts, accounting and overall company strategy as well as helping with public speaking.
The rest of his employees, an Editor-in-Chief, three writers, a graphic designer and a social media strategist, are paid.
Now Jenk, who was born in the UK to a Canadian mother and Turkish father, has six paid employees for his Gen Z lifestyle websites, a cool Bible for teens and tweens hoping to know the best TV, music, and things to do at the weekend
‘When I was growing up, my parents used to take me to loads of extra-curricular activities after school and weekends,’ Jenk said.
‘On Monday mornings when the teacher would ask what did everyone do over the weekend, most of my friends would talk about more traditional sports activities.
‘I would answer taking a DJ lesson, watching a Hip Hop competition, seeing a musical, taking a graffiti painting class or spending my day in acting and dancing lessons. I stuck out for all the wrong reasons at first.
‘Some of the other kids started asking if they could come along to some of the activities. Soon my mum started writing an email to update parents in my class of the off the beaten path things to do for the coming month.
‘The email was later shared with other parents, and eventually to parents outside the school.
The teenager from London is regularly spotted mingling with celebs, including Love Island stars Megan Barton-Hanson (left) and Montana Brown (right)
Jenk’s job has taken him to the red carpet where he’s met his idols, including James Corden
‘A few months later when I was eight, I presented the idea of iCoolKid at a school assembly “Show and Tell”.
‘The kids thought it was a fun idea but we needed to think about it a lot more, do some research, find someone to build the website etc… after three years of stopping and starting and three website companies later, we decided to try and launched formally May 2017.
Jenk’s initial investment money came from his parents, but he’s looking for seed funding as he sets up a new business.
The site has now had visitors from more than 190 different countries from Burma to Namibia to Fiji, and he hopes to keep the business growing as Gen Z grows up.
Despite success at such a young age, Jenk said he is ‘very lucky’ to have ‘many amazing mentors’
Jenk, who’s also an actor, has worked alongside Idris Elba – and interviewed him (pictured)
Since launching the website two years ago, Jenk has given a TEDxTalk and interviewed a lot of his idols
‘My favourite interview was Dr Werner Vogels, the CTO of Amazon. Crazy moments for sure,’ he said.
His parents, both with business backgrounds, are an inspiration to the teenager too.
His father, an NHS orthopaedic surgeon and mother, a former banker have started businesses together including a biotech company that develops drugs for the treatment of osteoporosis, a medical device company and the new company Thred Media – which will takeover from iCoolKid.
Growing up, Jenk would spend his weekends at ‘DJ lessons, watching a Hip Hop competition, seeing a musical, taking a graffiti painting class or in acting and dance class’
Outside of work, he loves ‘speaking to young people and working closely with education and youth empowerment based charities like Founders4 Schools and Big Youth Group’.
‘Unearthing a young entrepreneurs and innovator and inspiring them to speak up, develop their idea and really go for it is an amazing thing to witness in person,’ he said.
‘I taught loads of “Ideas Ink Workshops” based off my TEDx Talk to kids as young as eight and they had such great ideas, their imaginations are unbridled and they say what they are thinking when they are that young.
‘Schools know how to identify academics, athletes, musicians and actors but schools do not have the training to identify entrepreneurs and innovators whose ideas could revolutionise the world.
‘That needs to change as soon as possible because the future of their employability depends on it.
‘Gen Z has an enormous amount to offer because of the unique characteristics brought about because of two major catalysts: the economic crisis in 2007 and the smart phone. The future is clearly in the palm of our hands’.
Outside of work, Jenk loves ‘speaking to young people and working closely with education and youth empowerment based charities like Founders4 Schools and Big Youth Group’. He’s spent a lot of time on red carpets interviewing stars including Tom Hiddleston (pictured)
As well as movie stars and models, Jenk’s also met politicians including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and former Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne
While Jenk said he’s trying his best at school, he says it’s far too early to make decisions about University.
‘For now, I will continue to divide my time between business, public speaking, music and acting. That keeps me very busy already, need to keep time for gaming and sleep’. I attend school full time.
‘When out of school, weekends and holidays, I spends my time on four things for the brand: sitting in the office with my team and running through new ideas for content and new website design etc… going “Live” on Instagram and filming social media stories to promote website articles, 10 per week, speaking at conferences and schools, and filming longer form YouTube videos.
‘In my free time I stay in my pyjamas and binge Netflix series one after another, hang out with friends in the park and spends quite a bit of time on my music either DJing or playing instruments.’
Work wise, however, he says the future holds some ‘big changes’.
While Jenk admits he’s trying his best at school, he says it’s far too early to make decisions about University. ‘For now, I will continue to divide my time between business, public speaking, music and acting. That keeps me very busy already, need to keep time for gaming and sleep’. Pictured with Marvin and Rochelle Humes
‘We are in the middle of an external repositioning, moving focus audience from 8-13 years old to 13-18 years old for native English speakers and 13 to 25+ for people where English is their second language.
‘This involves a name change as well as changing the content to reflect a more mature and socially responsible audience base.
‘The social media channels have already migrated over to the new name ‘thred’ and a whole new website will roll out end of summer.
‘The parent company is now called Thred Media and the company will focus on Publishing (thred mag), Consulting and Production (thred media).
As well as becoming a teenager since he started the company aged 12, Jenk also hopes the website will reflect the social consciousness of his generation.
‘The reason for the change is that once I became a teen, I wanted to be able to speak out about more mature topics that matter to me and the rest of Gen Z and I needed a platform, that would allow me to continue to evolve and have a real voice and a sense of community.
‘There are so many topics that need attention and support like mental health, teen LBGT community, teen suicide, teen employment, environment, and social change.
Jenk (pictured with John McEnroe at Wimbledon) says going forward he hopes to make the website more socially conscious
‘Instagram images is just not enough to be effective and drive real change. The name iCoolKid was never going to allow me to do that so that’s why we changed the name.
‘I really want to create a digital space dedicated to young people that is shaped by youth culture and influenced by social change.
‘A place where young people can share the latest trending topics while engaging in dialogue about the issues that are relevant and important to their generation.
His new venture, Thred, will focus ‘more than 50 per cent’ of its articles on social change.
‘Gen Z movement is moving toward empowerment, unification, equality, gender inclusive, activism and social change oriented, inspirational, fact based content, pragmatic realists, self-aware, intelligent, value added, voice, civil discourse’ Jenk added.
While he hopes to make the website more ‘woke’, business is always at the back of his mind.
‘Globally Gen Z will make up 27 per cent of the global population by 2020, that’s 2.2 billion people. We represent over $5 trillion in spending.’