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Famed NZ Entrepreneur Found Dead in Kenya

Circumstances behind his death remain unclear

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Jack Millar, the 26 year-old tech entrepreneur from New Zealand has been found dead in Kenya. Millar was the brains behind startups Oompher and Unfiltered.

Circumstances behind his death remained unclear by the time of going to press. He had moved to Kenya earlier this year amid a fall-out with investors over his handling of Unfiltered – a motivational content startup once valued at $12 Million dollars which he sold in 2021 for an undisclosed fee believed to be around $100,000.

Millar’s death was confirmed by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in a brief statement on November 28. “The ministry is aware of the tragic death of Jake Millar and is providing consular assistance to his family,” a spokeswoman told the press.

Millar shot to prominence as a 15-year old model student in New Zealand after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake when he sought out local captains of industry to have them give inspirational talks to students at Christchurch Boys high school.

He parlayed this into Oompher – a video platform which featured conversations with successful New Zealand entrepreneurs and other high-profile individuals after turning down a university scholarship. He eventually sold the company to the country’s Ministry of Education.

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In 2015, Millar then launched Unfiltered – a platform similar to Oompher but with an international focus that was also keen on live events and other experiences. With Unfiltered, he secured some big-name interviews with the likes of billionaire mogul Richard Branson and former NZ Prime Minister Sir John Key.

The platform attracted media attention, hype and investors driving its valuation up to $12 million at its peak.

In early 2021, however, Millar’s reputation started taking a hit after news broke that Unfiltered had been sold to university admissions consultancy Crimson Education for an undisclosed sum believed to be around $100,000. A section of investors turned on Millar accusing him of using  “divide and conquer” tactics to get the sale approved. He was also accused of poor management and lack of transparency.

Millar also began receiving criticism for his jet-setting lifestyle and penchant for the nice things in life, such as Gucci loafers. Some deep-pocketed investors felt betrayed stating that they had trusted Millar and believed in his vision.

Millar had notably discussed his mental health among other topics in email correspondence with Spinoff in the aftermath of the backlash.

“As a young entrepreneur, some people would probably accuse me of having quite strong defence mechanisms… I have always stood up for what I have believed in and also against people I have felt wronged by, often even if they have been much wiser and more successful than me. When I reflect over my journey, I think this is one of the reasons I became, inadvertently, more controversial than I ever set out to be,” he wrote.

Around the same time, it emerged that Millar had chosen to move to Africa, Kenya to be specific. He told reporters that he was moving “to pursue opportunities in the developing economy.”

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MARTIN SIELEhttps://loud.co.ke/
Martin K.N Siele is the Content Lead at Business Today. He is also a Quartz contributor and a 2021 Baraza Media Lab-Fringe Graph Data Storytelling Fellow. Passionate about digital media, sports and entertainment, Siele also founded Loud.co.ke
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