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Surprising Science

Ben Way: How an Entrepreneur Bounces Back

As one of the first dot com entrepreneurs, Ben Way had raised 33 million dollars by the time he was 17, then lost it all before he turned 20. Now he’s back with fresh ideas and millions of dollars. 

What’s the Latest Development?

When Ben Way lost the 33 million dollars he had secured as part of a dot com project, he also lost his house, his car and his girlfriend. But he has come through the experience to shine in the world of solar energy, proving himself a capable (and tested) entrepreneur. Today, his solar energy company, Freetricity, is one of the largest in Britain. Having operated for only two years, the enterprise turned over $20 million last month. The company is currently raising half a billion dollars to enter the American solar energy market. 

What’s the Big Idea?

One of Way’s longer term projects is something he calls Arc Island, a floating island the size of Manhattan where Way wants to create a new society “with no overarching authority or political rules.” By putting the idea on Kickstarter, an online platform for funding creative ideas, the project has already received $25,000 in investment. Way says his investors are currently divided between dreamers and doers, i.e. those who have the vision and those who have the technical and engineering know-how to build a gigantic floating island. 

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