7 fascinating facts you might not know about the flamboyant Richard Branson | Photo credit: Twitter
- Branson believes in universal basic income as a measure to fight inequality
- In March 2000, the then 49-year-old Virgin mogul was knighted at Buckingham Palace for “services to entrepreneurship”
- As a dropout, Branson couldn’t afford to live in a house. However, he did manage to buy a barge for just Â£ 2,000
New Delhi: Flaming business mogul Richard Branson is ready to go on his first space flight. Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic Holding Inc, is preparing to send its passenger rocket – the VSS Unity – on its first crewed test flight to the edge of space.
Branson, 70, of British descent, became the first billionaire to fly into space, beating compatriot Jeff Bezos by nine days. Bezos and his brother Mark are all set to perform the first crewed space flight of his rocket company Blue Origin on July 20.
Richard Branson is the sole owner of the Virgin Group made up of many brands and companies. He was active in business before 1970 and is considered one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the business world.
Before his first space flight, here are some fascinating facts about Richard Branson:
1. Owns a submarine: Most billionaires and private jets or Yachts. Well, billionaire Branson has also found a way to travel under the ocean. Designed and built for Richard Branson by renowned engineer Graham Hawkes, the Necker Nymph is a winged open-cockpit submarine, allowing its passengers to enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of the depths.
The unique underwater craft uses downward âliftâ on its wings to dive and can stay down for up to two hours. Unfortunately, it is only available when chartering the luxury 105ft Necker Belle catamaran or while staying on the private Necker Island in Branson. Branson can take an underwater ride that transports high profile visitors to Necker Island.
2. Has an entire island: Branson is so rich that he owns an entire island called Necker Island; literally. Necker Island in the Caribbean is part of the British Virgin Islands and is owned by Branson. âNecker Island is my favorite home and hideaway. I invite you to explore this idyllic island paradise on your own and be inspired by its beauty, âsaid Branson.
The billionaire rents his house to celebrities and stays there occasionally while on vacation. This island is the favorite haunt of many celebrities including Oprah, Kate Winslet, David Beckham, Jimmy Fallon, Mariah Carey and many others. According to reports, Branson charges $ 42,000 for one night on the entire island and $ 27,000 for one night to reserve a single villa.
3. World records: Richard Branson is a big fan of trying to break world records. In fact, he has held several records in the sport. In 1986, Branson set a record for a motorboat crossing the Atlantic Ocean. In 1987, he was part of the first team to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a hot air balloon. The team would become the first to cross the Pacific Ocean in 1991. It also attempted to travel around the world in a hot air balloon in several unsuccessful attempts.
Not many people may know that Branson’s first attempt at the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean did not go so well. His boat, the Virgin Atlantic Challenger, capsized and had to be rescued by the Royal Air Force. Embarrassingly, he was still in British waters at the time, which means he didn’t get very far. In 1987, Branson broke the world record by being the first and only person to cross the Atlantic in the world’s largest hot air balloon. Following this, he broke his own record again in 1991 crossing 6,700 miles of the Pacific in a Virgin hot air balloon.
4. Branson only paid $ 180,000 for his island which is now worth over $ 200,000,000: According to reports, the CEO of Virgin first visited Necker Island in the 1970s when he was considering it for his blank record signatures. Branson had offered the then owner a very small sum compared to the asking price of $ 6 million. He was reportedly escorted off the island for his cheek. However, to Branson’s delight, the owner ran into trouble later that year and accepted Branson’s low offer. The island is now worth around two hundred million dollars.
5. Branson’s Virgin Empire: The Virgin Group is more than just an airline. It includes more than 400 companies active in various fields such as music, entertainment, clothing, cosmetics, financial services, nightclubs, rail services, tours, health clubs, publishing, the film industry, mobile phone services and even condoms. Richard Branson is the sole owner of the Virgin Group.
6. Order for tax fraud: The 1971 UK Postal Strike prompted Branson to imagine and seize the opportunity to open a record store with headphones, music players and water cushions to entice young people to come and experience the music and buy it. Thus, Virgin Records was born. Five months later, Richard was reportedly arrested for tax evasion as he partially discounted his cases and found a way to escape the record 33% tax.
His parents had to bail him out by pledging their house for the same. He wanted to save so much money to pay off the debts. However, he understood that his mistake was almost a criminal offense and took the blame and corrected himself soon after. In order to pay a fine of $ 150,000 and avoid going to court and possibly jail, Branson started a record studio and record company under the name Virgin Records, which he started with his cousin Simon Draper.
7. Deceived death: The billionaire with a net worth of $ 7.74 billion claims to have cheated death 75 times. Branson narrowly avoided being killed on several occasions during his nearly 71 years. Some of the near-death experiences were the result of bad luck, such as a crushed toe in 1980 that nearly sent him down a deep gorge to the jagged rocks below his private island.
Some of these near-death experiences were the result of publicity-seeking promotions, such as bungy jumping Victoria Falls on a TV show, or jumping to the side of a Las Vegas casino for promote flights to the city through one of its airlines. , which both left him bloodied and injured elsewhere. While others were simply due to his sense of adventure, such as numerous balloon accidents as he attempted, and sometimes succeeded, to set records for long-distance balloon flights.
His second autobiography, âFinding My Virginity,â includes an appendix titled â75 Close Shaves,â in which the billionaire details some of the cases where his life has been in danger. Of his near-death experiences, Branson said, âI can’t say noâ¦ I just like challenges, so if someone says let’s see if we can go around the world in a hot air balloon, I say, ‘ I Â»I am for that !. “