The ROK Entertainment website describes its chairman, Jonathan Kendrick, as a highly successful serial entrepreneur. Not a bad description for a man who has made a mobile phone entertainment business run from a modest office near Wolverhampton into a multi-million moneyspinner.
ROK Entertainment, based in Albrighton, has become one of the world’s leading companies in mobile telephone entertainment software, allowing its customers to watch TV programmes, films and music videos on their mobile phones.
Towards the end of 2007, ROK floated on the US stock market, capitalised at £719 million. Jonathan Kendrick, who is 51 and comes from Claverley, has a substantial share, as well as owning 40 per cent of ROK Mobile. ROK was founded by Kendrick – who is also chairman – and his American business partner John Paul Dejoria six years ago.
Now it has offices all around the world including nine in China – the world’s biggest single mobile phone market.
As well as its Albrighton headquarters, ROK has UK offices in Lancaster and Cardiff.
ROK is now busy sealing a string of deals with mobile phone manufacturers which will see the software bundled with new phones before they leave the factory.
The company is already active in India, Africa, Brazil, Thailand and Russia as well as China and Europe.
One of the company’s latest coups is the acquisition of Player One which has developed a series of mobile sports games including Freddie Flintoff’s Cricket 09.
Jonathan Kendrick began his career with Goodyear Racing before securing for himself the European rights of the then unknown Yokohama Tyres.
He marketed the brand shrewdly with sponsorship deals with Ayrton Senna and Eddie Jordan before selling the European operation back to its Japanese parent at a healthy profit.
He then ran Lighter Than Air, an innovative balloon advertising company, which merged into Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. At that time he recognised the untapped potential of mobile phone technology and in 2002 ROK was born. His nephew, James Kendrick is CEO of the company.