Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

How toymaker Zuru made a family of billionaires

Zuru specialises in making cheap toys, which sell in 120 countries

Published: Aug 28, 2019 10:11:00 AM IST

How toymaker Zuru made a family of billionairesImage: Getty Images

Nick Mowbray is working from home, a 12-bedroom mansion in Coatesville, New Zealand. The sun is shining brilliantly on his 2,000-bottle-a-year vineyard as the 34-year-old explains what affords him this lifestyle: A rapidly growing toy company called Zuru that he runs with his siblings Mat, 38, and Anna, 36. “My philosophy is always work with scale,” he says.

Zuru, which the Mowbrays founded in 2003, specialises in making cheap toys, like Bunch O Balloons, a gadget that lets users fill 100 water balloons in 60 seconds. The company is based in Hong Kong, where Mat and Anna live—and which provides Zuru access to low tax rates. They have invested heavily in automation to further save on costs.

Today Zuru sells its playthings in 120 countries and generates more than $300 million in annual sales. The company has no debt, and it has never taken outside funding, save for an initial $20,000 loan from the siblings’ parents, an engineer and a teacher. The trio owns the entire business, and
it’s worth more than $1 billion. “Being Kiwis, we’re quite humble. But it’s definitely been an amazing journey,” says Anna, who serves as COO. Nick and Mat are co-CEOs.

(This story appears in the 13 September, 2019 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)