March 19 by Eric Dreshfield

Whether you call it a conference, a symposium, or a professional development event, the common thread is why you attend. Many people I have met at business events tell me that they attend to gain knowledge, to be inspired & motivated, and to network with peers in their industry. Several people also tell me that sometimes they attend events simply because a certain person will be there speaking. I was that way in college. Once I discovered a professor I really enjoyed, I made it a point to take every single course that she was teaching.

I think this same feeling will hold true for many people with regards to the special guest speaker at Apttus Accelerate this year.

Sir Richard Branson to speak at Accelerate 2018

Apttus is thrilled to announce that Sir Richard Branson will be speaking at Apttus Accelerate 2018. Branson is an entrepreneur, an author, and an adventurer. He lives life on his terms and makes an impact on the lives of thousands every day. Growing up, his father worked as a barrister and his mother as a flight attendant. As a child, he had a hard time with educational institutions because he struggled with dyslexia. He nearly failed out of school at age 13 and was transferred to a boarding school. He continued to struggle and dropped out of school at age 16 to take his first step into entrepreneurship by launching a youth-culture magazine called Student.

At age 19, Branson was living in a London commune, completely surrounded by the British music scene. He was still working on his magazine, looking for new ways to help fund that effort. This led him to start a mail-order record company, Virgin. The company performed modestly, but it was well enough for Branson to expand his business and open a record shop in London. With the success of this store, he was able to build a recording studio just 3 years later, in 1972. The following year, the first artist on his label, Mike Oldfield, recorded his single “Tubular Bells”, which was an instant hit, staying on the UK charts for more than four and a half years! Since that time, Virgin Music has become one of the top six record companies in the world, with artists such as the Rolling Stones and Genesis signing on.


Branson continued to expand his entrepreneurial efforts, including starting Voyager Group, a travel company, in 1980, Virgin Atlantic, an airline in 1984, and a series of Virgin Megastores. Eventually, the Virgin Group of companies reached over 30 countries with nearly 70,000 employees worldwide. He wasn’t always successful, but he kept trying, kept innovating, in hopes of finding success in each of his businesses.


Branson wasn’t just known for his businesses. He became well-known for his sporting achievements, most notably, his record-breaking crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in Virgin Atlantic Challenger II, in 1986, as well as the first crossing by hot air balloon of the Atlantic in 1987 and the Pacific in 1991. It’s likely that his adventurous spirit helped drive two of his latest business ventures. Sir Richard has started Virgin Voyages, a cruise line, set to debut in 2020, and a space travel company that, even as far back as 2013, has had more than 500 people reserve tickets for a ride on a Virgin Galactic spaceship.

Over the years, Branson has written several books about business and entrepreneurship, including Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur and his autobiography: Finding My Virginity.

Branson’s story sounds a lot like the Apttus story – a scrappy startup, succeeding against all odds. Facing naysayers and simply pushing past them, Apttus is breaking new ground by gathering customers, partners, and employees at Apttus Accelerate to collectively lead the way to realizing the promise of the Middle Office Platform™. Just like Sir Richard, Apttus is living life on its own terms by creating a market, leading others to it, and encouraging them to embrace the same entrepreneurial spirit in their personal and business lives.


We can’t share what Sir Richard will be speaking about, but we can assure you, it will be motivating, thought-provoking and entertaining.

Join us at the Apttus Accelerate and Become a Middle Office Leader.

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