In his early 20s, Jonathan Kendrick began his career as a serial entrepreneur. He has developed various brands and entities, including a streaming service, a record label, a comic book business, a natural spring water company, and multiple investments in game companies, cryptocurrency, and emerging technology. Today we welcome him as part of the TechAcute Profiles.
TechAcute Profile: Jonathan Kendrick
I am the Co-founder and Chairman of the ROKiT Group of Companies. As a serial entrepreneur, I began my business career by securing the European rights to the then-unknown Yokohama tires brand (which, having successfully brought to market, I sold back to Yokohama). During the mid 90’s I continued to work in the tire business and brought the unknown, Indonesian tire brand, Gajah Tunggal to the UK, turning it into one of the leading retailers. Later that decade, I started to work in the telecoms business, developing an innovative system for British Telecom to sell pre-paid vouchers electronically, and eventually sold the company in 1998.
During this time, I continued to support my passion for football by running a football financing company and supporting a selection of League One football teams. Recognizing, early on, the enormous potential of the mobile industry, I founded ROK to create the technology to simplify the process of pre-paid vouchers for mobile phones. I sold ROK’s electronic voucher technology to a leading mobile industry player in 2002, while still retaining the ROK brand – which I re-launched with co-founder, fellow entrepreneur, John Paul DeJoria, founder of Paul Mitchell line of hair products and Patron Tequila.
Over the next decade, I began to focus on the telecommunications world by providing mobile television to network providers around the world. In 2007 I streamed the world’s first live music concert over mass-market 2.5G via GPRS to mobile and was streamed across a 4-hour period, live and exclusive, to mobile operator AIS’s ROK TV service. Following the success in Thailand, it led to the formation of ROK TV. ROK TV was deployed in over 50 countries by 2013. Partners included China Mobile, AIS Thailand, Telenor in Pakistan, American Movil in Latin America, Celcom in Malaysia, and the world’s first free tv mobile service offered globally called Freebe TV.
In 2018, John-Paul and I created ROKiT, a people-first telecoms company selling a selection of value-driven mobile handsets, paired with vital-life services such as telemedicine and roadside assistance as well as smartphones featuring glasses-free 3D screens. In the Fall of 2018, came the introduction of ROKiT Cities, a wide area mesh networking WiFi XL service to help connect some of the poorest communities around the world, starting with 27 of the largest cities in India. I have a portfolio of drink brands within the ROKiT Group. These include ABK Beer brewed in the 700-year-old Bavarian brewery and a small-batch, hand-crafted artisan spirits brand called Bogart’s Spirits created in partnership with the Humphrey Bogart estate, and Bandero a premium 100% blue agave tequila.
In addition to my extensive success as an entrepreneur, I am an accomplished film producer. Most recently as the Executive Producer for “Wonders of the Sea” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2019, I won my first Gold and Silver Telly Awards. I also have a record label, a comic book business, a natural spring water company, and multiple investments in games companies, cryptocurrency, and emerging technology. In May 2023, the ROKiT Group launched ROKiT Flix, the world’s first free, family-friendly streaming service without advertisements.
About your company
Launched in May 2023, ROKiT Flix is the world’s first no-cost family-friendly global streaming service free from advertisements. The new media streaming platform is paving the way for consumers, parents, and children to experience entertainment across various verticals such as 3D animation, classic cartoons, animated shorts, and public domain motion comics powered by ROKiT Motionise. ROKiT Flix is part of the ROKiT Group of companies, founded by myself and John Paul DeJoria, a next-generation conglomerate with interests in mobile phones, drinks, eBikes, apparel, content creation and distribution, technologies, consumer electronics, and services among more.
What problem in the world are you trying to solve?
We are trying to solve two things at ROKiT Flix, one is our aim to provide a secure environment for family-oriented content that can educate and benefit families and communities, not only in the United States but also around the world. The second thing we are trying to solve is our app is completely free, and we seek to address the issue of rising network costs that make it unaffordable for some households to access, ensuring that everyone can benefit from our services.
How does technology support you to achieve this goal?
One way we are leveraging technology to support our platform is that with the help of AI, it can reduce the cost of producing some of our content.
How does the technology work?
For instance, we have a team of over 200 people in India who create our own content and utilize a novel approach called Motionise, which involves incorporating public domain material along with our original content. With the use of AI, we are now able to expedite our production process significantly. However, it is important to note that we present our AI-generated content with professional voiceovers rather than simply relying on stock music and animations.
What are the milestones in your journey so far?
The biggest milestone for our platform is launching it, which occurred earlier this month on May 1st.
How do you plan to grow and scale in the next 5 years?
Our goal is to establish a platform where families can feel secure accessing our content, and where registration requires more than just a phone number. We aspire to become a trusted space where families know they can safely watch our content. Moreover, we are implementing a chit-chat service to minimize the risks associated with other popular apps, where users can easily interact with anonymous individuals. Our aim is to create a safer environment for all users.
How do you think will your market develop in the near and far future?
I think our market will dramatically develop in the near and far future as AI will completely change everything.
What challenges do you think might need to be addressed in your company very soon?
Keeping new content fresh and entertaining.
How do you plan to overcome these challenges?
By leveraging the capabilities of AI technology and collaborating with our content team in India, we have successfully produced the entire Bible in a digital format. Moving forward, we have plans to develop Shakespeare for kids, explore Greek mythology, dive into the world of Sherlock Holmes, and delve into the history of the English language. All of these will be condensed into brief, 5-minute episodes for easy viewing.
How does your business model work like?
We offer our services completely free of charge, with the aspiration that when young people encounter a ROKIT product in other contexts, they will be prompted to make a purchase based on positive brand associations.
ROKIT is fully funded. Our business model has allowed us to reach more people than ever before, and we plan on leveraging this momentum in order to continue creating content and experiences that inspire people around the world.
If you could give your younger self a word of advice, what would you recommend to yourself?
To not be afraid of making mistakes, mistakes are not bad things, they are life-learning necessities.
What would you suggest to someone who is yet to start their career in your industry?
We invest in ROKiT Animation All Stars for that purpose, a free platform for anyone to get into the animation business.
Thank you, Jonathan, for your contribution to TechAcute Profiles. We appreciate your unique insights and thoughtful approach. We eagerly await your future contributions.
Photo credit: The photo in the feature image has been provided by Jonathan Kendrick with permission to be used by TechAcute.
Editorial notice: The contents from the submitter for the TechAcute profile were minimally edited for style and for grammar.