Interviews

Gambling paid off for owner of Mayfair-based startup Starr Luxury Cars

13 min read

14 December 2017

Deputy editor

Ike Ordor may have slept in a golden crib as an infant, but had a culture shock as a teenager when he was uprooted from Nigeria to London – something that’s led him into the luxury services sector.

Ordor’s current business focus is on Starr Luxury Cars, a private hire service launched in 2016. Owing to the nature of the business though, his self-described “disruptive startup” isn’t found in any Shoreditch co-working space, but high-end Mayfair.

He has ambitions of dominating the luxury car hire marketplace globally, not just in the UK, and has plenty of experience to help him along the journey.

The son of a politician, Nigeria-born Ordor’s early years gave him a very comfortable beginning, but he was relocated to London at the age of 14, which prompted him to adjust. Seemingly, adjusting is something he has done with ease, as he opens up on his lifestyle and the road to Starr Luxury Cars as part of Business Class.

(1) Were you born into wealth or has your success been self-made?

As a politician’s son, my early years as a toddler sleeping in a golden crib, I was certainly born into some type of foundation, but that did not last long. Moving to London at the age of 14 to live with my mother taught me the importance of hard work, which soon gave me my entrepreneurial spirit.

Having a network of friends that attended private schools further encouraged me and exposed me to the finer things life can offer.

I still don’t claim the self-made title, I give thanks to all my previous employers, from Ladbrokes betting shop to some of the most prestigious A-list venues in Mayfair that facilitated me to host parties for the likes of Rihanna, Drake, Trey Songz, Alicia Keys and Swiss Beatz during my tenure as a club promoter.

I do believe I am self-made in the sense that I have never been handed down inheritance or funding for any of my projects or business endeavours, even down to when I owned a nightlife company. From £5,000 startup capital, the company managed to generate over half a million pounds of revenue in its first year.

(2) How much did your first job pay?

I think it paid about £5.83 per hour, in a betting shop, where I developed a level of responsibility and again hard work, this is where I really learnt my financial acumen and learn how to work effectively under pressure. I sometimes daydreamed I was on a trading floor with all these traders rushing to hand in their trades as we all see in the movies. I did not last long in this job.

During university, I had launched an entertainment company with a few friends generating over £10,000 profit at our first event. My share of this was more than four months’ wages I was being paid from Ladbrokes, I believe in maximising my potential and in cash cows, so I threw my efforts and spare time into understanding entertainment and hospitality.

Starr Luxury Cars

“Our profit margins at Starr Luxury Cars vary from 25 per cent to 150 per cent on some of our services”

(3) You have achieved success in the luxury cars sector. How lucrative has the space been for you?

I would not say I have achieved my desired level of success yet, but we are in a very good position. Starr Luxury Cars have emulated the model of the leading companies in the world, Alibaba, Amazon, Facebook, Uber and Jet-smarter, (arguably the number one private aviation company) and are aiming to be the leading company for all private luxury transport globally in under five years.

Our profit margins at Starr Luxury Cars vary from 25 per cent to 150 per cent on some of our services, anyone that has great business acumen will tell you that this is a fantastic position and very lucrative for a startup company.

I am also immensely proud of the clients that put their trust in us, from the likes of high profile CEOs, Saudi Royals and Nike who have recently used us for their heritage Air Force 1 trainer shoot, in which Starr Luxury Cars provided a custom-made James Bond Spectre-style Land Rover Defender within a very short time frame of the request.

(4) What has business ownership taught you about money management?

Owning a business is one of life’s most demanding responsibilities, and managing finances is a lesson often learned with experience. A lot of businesses have busy and quiet yearly life cycles, and I have learned to save.

Always save for the rainy day, save enough to cover the costs of a rainy day or any surprises life has to throw at you, but also make your money work for you; I think it’s useless to have so much money sitting in the bank if it’s not working for you.

In summary, manage your money well enough to cover for a rainy day, and to also have your money work for you while you sleep.

Starr Luxury Cars

“I am originally from Nigeria and land is one of the best investments you can make”

(5) Tell us about your smartest investments

My smartest investment is Starr Luxury Cars. I have spent a lot of money and hard work on research to establish strong relationships with our suppliers, branding and my core digital team to really strengthen the Starr Luxury Cars brand. I believe this has been truly money well spent.

The traffic coming to our website and enquiries are somewhat unbelievable. I believe in delayed gratification, so we are quite secretive about our operations but will soon share all that we are working on with the world.

My other smart investment is land. I am originally from Nigeria and land is one of the best investments you can make. From real estate to agriculture, the possibilities are endless in future Africa. When I am done making a success of Starr Luxury Cars, I hope to try my hand at luxury homes. Nigeria is a good space for it.

(6) Do you get more satisfaction from spending or saving your money?

Spending, spoils of hard work, when people ask me, what it takes to gain success? I always say, “whatever it takes, and when you do get that success enjoy it, because you have worked hard for it, whether it be 4am wake-ups every morning or cross Atlantic flights with jet lags leaving you walking into business meetings like a zombie.”

If you enjoy saving too much, you might just be tightfisted and I don’t like tightfisted people. It’s good to spend money, if not on yourself, spend money on others – it can turn a frown into a smile, especially for charitable causes.

From time to time, I like to support charities at their events, this really gives me profound sense of joy. Recently I supported the International Day of the Girl Gala Awards hosted by Idris Elba in aid of the Prince’s Trust Foundation.

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(7) What’s the most exciting element of running your business?

Every new month, we don’t know if we are going to make bank – nothing is guaranteed, so we must work had to keep our existing clients and to gain new ones. If you ever take your clients for granted, that’s when you realise how hungry your competition is.

It also really excites me when we have a complicated request. It challenges the team and gives me a chance to see how resourceful they are.

My son brings me the most excitement. When he was as young as five and I took him on a drive, he became infatuated with Lamborghinis and is thinking of having one as his first car. I encourage him by letting him come with me to drop off vehicles to some of our long-standing clients.

(8) What are your most expensive hobbies?

I have some artwork but I don’t buy frequent enough to consider a hobby. My personal mantra is health is wealth, so having a personal trainer and my spa treats are how I like to indulge myself. I find that I can rack up the bills, but it’s very good to take care of one-self.

Contradictory to this, I enjoy indulging on good food and great wine. There probably isn’t an exquisite London food haunt that I have not dined in. Black Cod is a guilty pleasure and Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque Rose champagne is a definite weakness of mine; the beauty of the bottle is as stunning as the delightful notes of the grapes to the palate.

Lastly but not least, I enjoy supercars, I hire anything new I can get my hands on – there is a thrill that comes from driving a convertible with the engine roaring just behind you.

(9) Most prized possession?

My BlackBerry – it keeps me connected. I don’t have any of my social media accounts linked on it, no Facebook, no Instagram, so 90 per cent of the time I am on it, you know it’s a serious conversation.

Starr Luxury Cars

“I surprised my fiancée with a trip to Dubai, flying out on the same day I proposed”

(10) Do you have a favourite luxury brand?

Rolex, they are timeless – the right model appreciates, so one could also consider this an investment, going to back to let your money work for you.

(11) Where has your most luxurious holiday taken you?

Dubai, the number one destination for luxury. I surprised my fiancée with a trip to Dubai, flying out on the same day I proposed.

We stayed at the Anantara Hotel with a Villa suite and indulged every night with a chauffeur, a chef and a personal shopper on standby. It was one hell of an experience. We finished our last night with dinner on a private beach and singer with a guitar serenading us as we dined on our ten-course meal.

(12) Excluding property, what has been your most expensive purchase?

Two Rolls Royce phantoms. I don’t own these personally, but I have invested in them for Starr Luxury Cars with some of my partners and we use them to entertain our VIP clients.