Tech City: Meet the 25 year old petrolhead behind Car Throttle
PUBLISHED: 12:38 08 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:39 08 April 2016
Tech City is the third largest technology hub in the world, and it’s right on our doorstep. Each week, we bring you news from the thriving area around Old Street roundabout. This week Victoria Ibitoye chats to Adnan Ebrahim, the 25-year-old petrolhead who started Car Throttle
Many 21-year-olds fresh out of uni dream of securing grad jobs. Adnan Ebrahim had different plans.
Rather than pursue a conventional path and use his economics degree to net himself a cushy job in the city, he decided to bet his future on an idea he’d started in his university halls.
Fast forward four years and his tech company, Car Throttle – a social media site for car enthusiasts – now averages four million hits a month. His Android app has 250,000 registered “CTzens” – the name his loyal users selected for themselves – and the complementary YouTube channel just this month reached more than a million subscribers.
“Car Throttle started back in 2009 while I was studying economics at UCL,” Adnan, 25, told Tech City.
“I’d always been a petrolhead and was surrounded by cars but I never had a place online to discuss them. That’s why I started Car Throttle.
“I ran it part-time and it continued to grow – it would get tens of thousands of users each day – so I saw the opportunity to create something big and it’s now the largest car community in the world.”
There are 21 people on Adnan’s team and ages range from 19 to 33. However, when his company first launched, he was the youngest person who worked there.
“Having a young team is amazing,” he said, “and while it’s a lot of responsibility it’s great because there’s no stigma from previous places of work.”
Car Throttle has been described as “the BuzzFeed for cars”. Adnan reckons it’s the place to discover what’s going on in the car world.
“It lets people showcase what they love about cars and its use is pretty varied. People can search for feedback about their cars as well as receive feedback about cars.
“Our average users are 18 to 35 and while our audience is predominately male we have a growing female audience.
“Most of our users tend to be petrolheads which makes sense. Cars tend to be someone’s second most important expense and because of that people put a lot of time and effort to share and show off their cars. That’s where Car Throttle helps.”
According to Adnan, what makes Car Throttle different from other motor media like Top Gear is that it understands its users and caters to a niche millennial audience of growing car enthusiasts.
“Most millennials spend hours on their phone, so because there are more opportunities in mobile ideas so it makes more sense to focus there.
“With the old Top Gear a lot of people would look at it through rose-tinted glasses. It was getting stale and the last season wasn’t actually anything special.
“So in that sense the new Top Gear has the opportunity to improve.”
Because of his unique following and tongue-in-cheek way of reaching car enthusiasts Adnan began to receive cars to review in his final year of university. However, when they first started to roll up to outside his family home, his neighbour thought he was a drug dealer.
Adnan said: “A couple of weeks after they started delivering the cars my next door neighbour started to get curious.
“She kept seeing different cars parked outside and asked me what I did for a living.
“She was a bit concerned for her children and thought I was drug-dealing but I explained I was reviewing cars. We still laugh about it.”
In the future Adnan wants Car Throttle to be the biggest car brand in the world. “We’re currently on Android and web,” he said, “but we plan to introduce an iOS app soon and introduce real-time chatting.”