Jake Millar, Co-Founder & CEO of Unfiltered, in Unfiltered’s Private Filming Studio, “Unfiltered Spaces,” Auckland, New Zealand
Jake and his Mum, Robyn, displaying their artwork before entering into Art In The Park, Greymouth. “Jake-O-Magnets” pictured on the left.
Jake Millar is a 21-year-old New Zealand-born new-media and education entrepreneur currently expanding his second venture into the United States. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Unfiltered, his second startup in the past two years.
A born entrepreneur, Jake was selling magnets outside the Supermarket in Greymouth from the tender age of seven under the brand of his first business, “Jake-O-Magnets.” Fiercely independent, Robyn (Jake’s Mum), used to drop him off at the supermarket and come back 5 hours later. Generally he had made about $45.00… a killing!
On September, 04 2010, when Jake was 15-years-old, his life changed forever. His father died in a skydiving plane crash in Fox Glacier when the family’s FU24 aircraft smashed into the ground shortly after takeoff, killing all nine people on board, including four of Jake’s close friends.
Jake wrote to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, thanking him for visiting the crash site to pay his respects, and was shocked to receive a letter back from the Prime Minister saying that he wanted to have lunch.
Prime Minister John Key’s card to Jake Millar following the Fox Glacier plane crash, 2010.
Jake Millar and Prime Minister John Key having lunch in Greymouth, New Zealand, at Jake’s family home, 2011.
Jake says it was the Prime Minister’s influence that truly changed his life.
“I was inspired by John Key’s start in life. His Dad died when he was 7-years-old, and he went on to achieve his dream. If he could, why couldn’t I?”
It was at this moment that realised the importance of having role models and mentors in your life, something he says he is “incredibly excited about seeing Unfiltered provide other aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders.”
After serving two terms on the Christchurch Boys’ High School (CBHS) Board of Trustees in 2011 and 2012, Jake worked tirelessly towards his goal of becoming Head Boy of CBHS and Head Boy of Adams House, the School’s Boarding House, becoming the first student in 11 years to hold both roles.
Jake Millar with Flight of the Conchords actor, Rhys Darby, interviewing for national television show, Campbell Live, at Christchurch Boys’ High School, 2012.
At the end of 2013, after becoming inspired by Sir Richard Branson’s autobiography “Losing My Virginity,” Jake said “Screw It, Let’s Do It,” turning down a $40,000 Law scholarship offered by the Dean of Law at the University of Otago, sold his car, and founded OOMPHER, his first startup.
OOMPHER is a media company with a vision that “fewer people die wondering what they could have achieved.” Jake identified that hundreds of thousands of students all over the country were racing to University, simply because it “seemed like the right thing to do.” OOMPHER therefore set out to “inspire people to achieve extraordinary things through Wise Words from leaders in their fields” through video interview.
Jake interviewed 135 of New Zealand’s most successful people within one year, finding out how they did it. OOMPHER covered sections such as Arts, Business, Cuisine, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Law, Politics, Media, Sports and Technology, and Jake interviewed people such as Kiwi comedy legend, Rhys Darby; Air New Zealand CEO, Christopher Luxon; property mogul, Mike Pero; fashion superstar, Dame Trelise Cooper; One News Anchor, Simon Dallow, and Titanic Actress and wife of James Cameron, Suzy-Amis Cameron.
OOMPHER launched on Monday, 14 July 2014 with an impressive array of commercial partners including BNZ, Canon, Deloitte and Toyota, and quickly grabbed headlines, with the New Zealand Herald, Campbell Live, Kia Ora Magazine, TV3, Stuff.co.nz, The Press, The Dominion Post, That’s Life, Latitude Magazine, Kiwiblog, Newstalk ZB and Radio Live all doing stories.
The company raised over $300,000 in revenue in the year immediately following “launch,” and attracted website traffic from 10% of the total market.
Within two months of launching, Jake was already negotiating the sale of OOMPHER to the New Zealand Government, and signed on the dotted line in May 2015, with Crown Entity Careers NZ acquiring the company.
The sale of OOMPHER to Careers New Zealand when Jake was 19-years-old. From left: Tim Alpe (Co-Founder & CEO, JUCY); Briar Douglas (BNZ), Keith Marshall (CEO, Careers NZ); Jake Millar (Founder, OOMPHER); Jane Ratcliffe (Careers NZ); Mai Chen (Founder, Chen Palmer), 2015.
Determined to get out there and give it another go, Jake negotiated himself a 3-month handover period, which ended in September 2015, and quickly co-founded Unfiltered.
Unfiltered (founded in November 2015) is New Zealand’s fastest growing media startup. It is a paid subscription platform designed to help business leaders achieve true success. Since launch, Unfiltered has attracted clients including PwC, McKinsey & Company, Beca, BNZ, Coca-Cola Amatil, Ray White, SEEK, Spark and Fonterra, and filmed business education interviews with over 120 global business leaders, including Virgin Group Founder, Sir Richard Branson; Y Combinator President, Sam Altman; former CFO of Microsoft and General Motors, Chris Liddell; Rendeavour and Renaissance Capital Founder, Stephen Jennings; former Gatorade and EQUINOX President, Sarah Robb O’Hagan and global fashion designer, Karen Walker.
Jake Millar and Karen Walker (Founder, Karen Walker), Unfiltered interview, Auckland, New Zealand, 2016
Jake reached his dream only 18 months after leaving school, receiving an email from his hero, Sir Richard Branson himself, who agreed to do an interview with him.
Jake Millar interviewing his hero, Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, in a 40-minute exclusive sit-down for Unfiltered in San Francisco, United States, 2016
Whether it’s the 150 skydives he’s done, or the 15 bungy jumps, or his intense love for New York City, Jake is someone who loves the present, but craves the future.
“I have a passion for telling stories that haven’t been told before. This is what Unfiltered is about.”
When Jake’s not working, you’ll find him eating, reading, thinking, traveling, playing golf or probably… working, because he’s always “on…” This is something, he says, he admires the most in the greatest entrepreneurs he’s interviewed.
“Guys such as Sir Geroge Fistonich and Eric Watson are always on. I’ve been woken up by 3:00 AM conference calls with Eric Watson before – and that was totally expected of me in terms of the deal we were looking at, and so it should have been. You’ve got to be fully committed. You can’t get lazy. It’s 24/7. Business is the ultimate sport. It’s always on. As soon as you get lazy you’re screwed.”