Fire stops (game)play entrepreneur

...escapes, but then gets trapped in lift

An entrepreneur who yesterday netted an extra £1.5 million in his company's stock market debut, was stopped from hearing the news due to a fire at his stockbrokers. Dylan Wilk, 25-year-old excecutive director at gameplay.com, turned up to the offices of Peele Hunt in Threadneedle Street, London, to watch the morning's trading. Instead, he found the building burning down, and was forced to spend the first hour's trading standing on the pavement outside. After the blaze was extinguished, he entered the building, only to be trapped in the lift. He heard the later that morning that shares in the business he part owned had almost doubled. Wilk set up Interactive Commercial Enterprises (ICE) in Leeds five years ago with £2000 from the Prince's Youth Business Trust. The Bradford lad sold the business, which sold computer games by mail order, telephone and fax, for £5.1 million last month to gameplay.com. He was promised 1.8 million shares in gameplay.com when it floated as half of the payment. Yesterday, gameplay.com's shares rose from 135 pence to 221 pence on AIM, boosting his stake from £2.5 million to almost £4 million. Wilk, who was raised by his single-parent mum, is also to become an executive director of the company, on a salary of £76,000. Wilk described yesterday's trading as "absolutely brilliant". "But this is where the hard work starts," he told The Register. "I've been paid in advance for the work I'm going to have to do." Wilk said his long-term goal in starting ICE had always been to "make a lot of money". But he has kept his Yorkshire roots: "Money doesn't buy happiness, but it buys freedom. "And with freedom comes happiness," he said. Gameplay.com was worth about £88 million at yesterday's close of trading. It is understood the flotation was eight times oversubscribed. Wilk said the company planned to launch its own TV channel and expand into Europe. He also said he was going to lavish some presents on his mum. ®

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