Simon Woodroffe OBE – Founder,Yo! Company

simon-yoSimon is the creator of YO! Sushi and he was an original Dragon in the premiere series of BBC’s Dragons’ Den.  His early career was spent on the road with the likes of Rod Stewart and The Moody Blues before becoming a stage designer.  After a spell in television, he conceived and launched YO! Sushi in 1997, a conveyor belt sushi bar featuring call buttons, robot drinks trolleys, Japanese TV, self-heating plates and other such novelties.  In 2003, Simon sold his controlling interest in YO! Sushi in a £10m deal, backed by private equity firm Primary Capital, but initially kept a 22% stake.

Simon received an OBE in 2006 and along with Gerard Greene went on to create YOTEL, the world's most radical hotel.  A 669 room YOTEL opened in central New York in Summer 2011 and a 600 room YOTEL opens in Singapore in 2018 with plans in progress for Paris, Miami, San Francisco and a second property in New York City.

YO! Home, Simon’s re-invention of the city apartment launched at 100% Design in September 2012 and the first development looks set to launch in Manchester.  And what about the original, YO! Sushi? It has opened 100 restaurants serving 6 million customers per year. That’s a LOT of sushi!  

SIMON WOODROFFE