Launched last September, 4EV has already sold hundreds of cables to customers across the UK and Europe, with plans in place to set up sites in Holland, India, China and the USA.The business came about after founder and electric car owner Darren Pegram discovered there were very few places he could buy additional cables to charge his BMW i3 at a competitive price, so decided to begin importing cables himself and selling them online.
Using technology to take advantage of emerging markets is nothing new for 36-year-old Darren – since setting up his first business while still at university.
His love of all things digital began at the age of seven when his grandfather bought him a Commodore 16, and by the time he began studying for his A levels Darren was hooked, travelling to Darlington College from his home in Bedale every day to study Computing before being offered a place on the Business IT degree course at Manchester Metropolitan University.
It was here, in 1999, that he set up his first venture, an online ink cartridge business, at a time when e-commerce was still a relatively new concept.
Darren said: “I had always planned on leaving university and finding a good graduate job with a national company, but I found I enjoyed running my own business and by the time I finished studying it had reached a size where I could earn more from that than working for someone else.”
Since then Darren was always looking for new ways to utilise his technology and business skills and with the growth in electric vehicle ownership and investment in the sector, especially in the North East.
Serial entrepreneur Darren believes his site www.4ev.co.uk has the potential to be his most successful start-up yet.
“My background isn’t in electric vehicles but in some ways I think that is an advantage – I’m just an ordinary person who saw a gap in the market and a chance to use my skills to plug that gap. My customers are just like me – electric vehicle owners looking for a high quality product but without paying over the odds.
“The beauty of e-commerce is you’re not tied down by geography – I can reach customers all over the world and eventually, that is my aim.”
It really is a family affair for Darren – his parents helped him get his first business up and running by posting out orders from their home in North Yorkshire, while Darren´s wife Nichola now provides HR support for his businesses and his sister works in the customer services and warehouse management side.
And it seems he may have passed his entrepreneurial spirit onto his eldest daughter Mia. “She has recently started selling old toys on eBay so I think she´s going to be a chip off the old block,” said Darren.
To see their extensive range of cables, with free delivery and returns – visit www.4ev.co.uk