A British tech entrepreneur has revealed how he "stole" more than £30,000 ($56,291) from his mum for a gamble that ultimately put him on the path to become a millionaire.

Bark.com founder Andrew Michael was just 17 in 1997 when he and a school friend started his first company, a web hosting service called Fasthosts.

Speaking to the BBC this week, Michael said they saw a gap in the market for web-hosting aimed at smaller businesses or members of the public.

"We had the computers we needed in my bedroom at mum's house, and we had created the software ourselves," the now 39-year-old said. "But what we really needed was a high-speed internet connection, which in those days involved digging up the road. It cost about 30 grand, but we had no money."


Michael said he used his mum's credit card to order the £30,000 internet upgrade to their home in Cheltenham, in the west of England. "We kind of blagged it over the phone," he told the BBC.

They also booked magazine adverts, hoping that the business would earn enough in its first month to pay off the credit card bill when it arrived.

"By the end of the month we had enough clients and money to pay for the internet line and the advertising," he said, adding that his mum forgave him.

In 2006, Michael sold Fasthosts to German internet company United Internet for £61 million, with his 75 per cent stake in the company netting him about NZD$86m.

In 2008 he founded his second company, cloud storage firm Livedrive, which in 2014 he sold to California-based tech firm J2 Global. The terms of the deal were not disclosed but it was believed to be in the tens of millions of pounds.

The same year he founded Bark.com, an online marketplace where consumers can connect with various professionals such as plumbers, dog groomers or caterers. As of 2015 the site had a reported 20 million users.

After the sale of his first business, Michael "got bored and probably drank and ate too much".

"I remember being in the office when the money came into my bank account, and I thought it would make me really happy," he told the BBC.


"But I actually had a sinking feeling, as I walked through the office and realised I'd sold it all, that it all came down to a number on a spreadsheet."

Michael was also known for throwing lavish parties, and once paid for R&B singer Usher to perform at a girlfriend's birthday.

"I love a party, I love entertaining people," he said. "And I don't do things by halves."