Derby businessman overcomes adversity as new networking website hits landmark milestone

A Derby-based businessman who overcame adversity to establish a new online business is celebrating after his new networking website hit a landmark milestone after reaching 5,000 users in just two months.

Chris Goodwin launched SchoolMates, a networking site that brings together over 32,000 schools, colleges, academies and universities across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, earlier this year and has already achieved success despite the site being in its infancy.

The website can be used by anyone who attended school or college in the last 100 years and is planning to become ‘the place’ for friends old and new to keep in touch. Whether they have already left education and are looking to re-connect with former school friends, or indeed are current students, looking for a new way to connect with friends.

Chris always had an ambition to conquer the world of the internet and have his own successful online business, ever since completing his studies in computer science at college aged 18.

But when the unthinkable happened and he was diagnosed with a tumour that had grown the length of his spine – leading to major surgery that left Chris’ legs paralysed, and the Derby-man being wheelchair bound – he knew he had a major challenge to contend with to achieve his dreams.

His disability, however, has never been an excuse to give up on his dreams and he has gone on to run several successful businesses, including his latest prosperous venture SchoolMates.

Now, some 28 years on since his life-changing diagnosis, SchoolMates is thriving and in the latest move to develop the platform’s growing appeal, SchoolMates has appointed experienced executives Alf Lombardi and Ian West, who both have over 30 years’ experience bringing new technologies and innovative solutions to market.

Commenting on the milestone, Derby-born Chris Goodwin, founder of SchoolMates, said: “I never wanted my disability to be an excuse for giving up on my dreams. In fact, if anything, it has motivated me even more and driven me to achieve my goal of launching SchoolMates.

“We’re delighted to have reached 5,000 subscribers in such a short time, and look forward to continuing to connect friends old and new across the UK. It is testament to the growing demand for new ways for people to connect online. We have set ourselves an ambitious, yet realistic, target of 100,000 users in our first 12 months.“We believe we have created a truly exciting and simple way for people to communicate with each other that appeals to all generations. Whether you are a Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook user, or not on social media at all, you can still be part of the SchoolMates community by connecting with friends.

“Alf and Ian join SchoolMates at a very exciting time. The online networking arena has grown exponentially and there is great appetite for communication of all kinds, which is why we believe SchoolMates will be a great success. The appointments will be instrumental in the further growth of the business.”

SchoolMates is free to join and requires very little information from users.

To register visit

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