|Date of Birth||09/11/60|
|Number of Investments Made||7|
Richard Farleigh (born November 9, 1960) is an Australian private investor. He is currently a member of the Business Review Weekly Rich 200 list, a list of the 200 wealthiest Australian individuals.
Born under the name "Richard Smith" (after his father, despite his being the second born son) in Kyabram, Victoria, Farleigh was one of eleven siblings. His father, a labourer and sheep shearer who moved around Australia with his wife and children, was tritely reported to be a violent alcoholic, although this hardly reflects the complex living situation of the young Smith children. When Farleigh was aged two, he and his siblings were taken into care and sent to foster homes. By the age of five, he was considered "backward" but despite this went on to excel later in life at mathematics and chess, winning a scholarship to read economics at the University of New South Wales.
After graduating with honours, he joined Bankers Trust Australia in Sydney when 23 as a trader and stayed there for ten years. He was hired to run a hedge fund in the tax haven of Bermuda and moved there with his first wife and baby son. There, he became friends with David Norwood, a chess grand master, and three years later, he had earned enough to retire, aged 34, and moved to Monte Carlo. It was at this point that he spent much time with Norwood investigating research from Oxford University in the UK that had potential commercial applications. IndexIT was the company formed to fund some of these ventures; it was later sold to Beeson Gregory for £20m. He made millions of dollars after investing his own capital in British technology companies. The Rich 200 list estimated his personal wealth at around AU$160,000,000. He is ranked as the 876th on the Sunday Times Rich List 2006 with an estimated net worth of £66million.
1999 saw Farleigh invest £2m in the renovation of the old French Embassy mansion in London’s Portman Square, turning it into the private members club Home House. The business was a success and was sold for a decent profit.
In 2005, he published a guide to personal investing entitled Taming the Lion: 100 Secret Strategies for Investing. Farleigh plays chess as a hobby, and is an internationally-ranked player who has represented Bermuda and Monaco at the Chess Olympics.
On Friday 5th September, the High Court of London ruled that Richard Farleigh's company that he chairs and owns 20% of - Oxonica - was in breach of its licence with Neuftec and they had to pay royalties and costs estimated to be nearly 3 million pounds sterling by The Oxford Mail. The Financial Times carried a story entitled Dragons’ Den chief feels heat in court.
Farleigh became a 'dragon' on Dragons' Den for series 3 and 4. Farleigh said he would be seeking further investments through the show, saying he was looking to "hopefully uncover the next big thing". His appearances on the show echo those of former dragon Doug Richard in standing out by always trying to offer constructive advice to contestants, even when not interested in investing, as opposed to negative comments often offered by some of his fellow dragons. He gradually became a popular dragon on the show, mainly due to the fact he was arguably the one dragon who made the most offers compared with the other dragons throughout his time on the show.
It was announced on 21 May 2007, that Richard Farleigh had been dropped from the series. The Daily Mail suggested he may have been dropped in order to have a new dragon from an ethnic minority. Farleigh said, "It would be disappointing if that was the reason - rather than anything fundamental - if it was because I was the wrong colour. I don't know why this has happened and I am very disappointed and bemused - I wasn't expecting it because all the feedback I got was very positive. I had even moved back to the UK to focus on commitments for the show. I am gutted that I have not been invited back."
Other commentators on the web had other reasons for Richard's departure from Dragons' Den. TVThrong carried comments that he was dropped because of the legal dispute his company, that he is chairman and largest shareholder of, was embroiled in with a small R&D company. Bad publicity was evident as newspapers linked Richard to the dispute with headlines appearing in papers such as The Telegraph.
During his two series' on the show, companies he has invested in include: