The Virgin brand was born in 1970 when Richard Branson and his friend Nik Powell launched a mail order record business and chose the name Virgin, because they were entirely new to business.
Equipped with a lot of courage, audacity and youthful self-belief, the mail order business evolved into Virgin Records with a record shop on Oxford Street in London. The evolution continued when Richard and the team saw an opportunity to create a different recording experience for musical artists. They acquired a large, rundown manor house in Oxford and converted it into a recording studio which they called The Manor. They signed Mike Oldfield as their first artist and produced the number one selling album, Tubular Bells. Virgin Records went on to sign household names from The Sex Pistols to The Rolling Stones and became the biggest independent label in the world.
After expanding across the music and media scene, Virgin made a big leap into aviation – convinced we could provide people with a better flying experience. Virgin Atlantic launched in 1984 and Virgin went on to expand into sectors including travel and leisure; telecommunications and media; music and entertainment; financial services and health and wellness. There are now more than 40 Virgin companies operating in 35 countries and employing over 60,000 people.
In 2004, we founded the non-profit foundation, Virgin Unite, to unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world. In 2013 we founded Virgin StartUp, a not-for-profit that provides business advice, access to funding, mentoring and a growing community, helping thousands of founders to change business for good. In 2015 we launched Virgin Red, an app that rewards users for living a life more Virgin through access to exclusive offers and opportunities from Virgin and friends.