Digital Hunters Podcast

May 14

David Cobb, Sponsoring Partner for the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50

In the final episode of the first Digital Hunters Podcast series, David shares the vision that created this highly prized award and how it has evolved. We discuss how it has provided windows onto the technology revolutions of the last 20 years and raised the profile of the innovative businesses that have driven these. We explore the different business models and wide range of approaches from the founders. With the continued rapid evolution of technology and a UK talent shortage, the need is clear for the education system to cultivate a culture of continuous learning.

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May 08

Joel Davis, Founder and CEO, Mighty Social

As a marketing director, Joel was one of the first to recognise the potential impact of social media on digital advertising. He founded and bootstrapped Agency:2 with Sharon Baker in 2007, winning a contract for the London Olympics. Riding the new wave of social media advertising with Facebook’s powerful algorithms and massive reach, they provided a scalable solution for big brands. Growth accelerated after developing their own unique AI driven Ad Tech Platform as Mighty Social. Joel takes great pride in the team they have built “We still believe that if we’re not agile and entrepreneurial enough, we won’t survive. We have to continually push, always push. Take the risk, but do things like we were when we were only four or six people. The same energy.”

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Apr 30

Hiroki Takeuchi, Founder and CEO, GoCardless

Hiroki describes the journey of discovery that led him to the huge growth and sustained success of GoCardless. Inspired by the Oxford University Entrepreneurs’ Society and the likes of Mark Zuckerberg at Y Combinator, he and his fellow founders built a group payments solution on top of PayPal, developing a deep understanding of banking solutions and in particular direct debit. The rigors of Y Combinator’s Demo Day and early integration with KashFlow changed their direction and launched them on a path of rapid growth. Hiroki encapsulates his story “I have a very strong belief that even the best-laid plans never end up working out the way that you imagine. It’s not like there’s a straight line between start and success. It’s much more of a zig-zag.”

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Apr 23

Stephen Upstone, CEO and Founder, LoopMe

Stephen shares how his industry experience led him to build a leading edge AI based business focused on Mobile Video Advertising. Founded in his garden shed in 2012, LoopMe set its sights on the extremely demanding challenge of brand marketing. Stephen describes how previous lessons learnt about selling to the US have accelerated business growth. His story of how he and his fellow founder built a team with UK AI expertise and the children of rocket scientists in the Ukraine is captivating. Stephen’s advice to aspiring founders? “I don’t think there’s a better career path or job or something that would be more exciting than starting a business and growing a business and I think that doing that from the United Kingdom today is a very interesting prospect.”

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Apr 16

Colin McLellan, CFO Skyscanner

Colin describes the evolution of a market leading global travel service from a tool built for the founders’ own use. With a clear ‘North Star’ to put the traveller first, Skyscanner developed its own ground-breaking solutions, progressively extending this with a series of successful acquisitions. All this was achieved whilst simplifying the customer experience. We discuss the massive opportunities for tech start-ups in China, the ongoing struggle to find sufficient talent to sustain growth and the importance of anticipating customer needs. Colin advises aspiring founders to test their products quickly and to focus on customer retention.

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Apr 09

Jon Slinn, Founding CEO, Rockshore

Jon was at the heart of the rapid evolution of mobile networks and their early interactive technologies. Frustrated by the lack of real-time information on bus services, he saw the opportunity to address this but when confronted with long lead times, pivoted to the faster moving airline industry with easyJet. With expertise in pulling data from aging back end systems, he built a real-time web front end on the NATS system. Jon takes us through the rollercoaster ride of building a second parallel business, relocating his entire development team due to talent bottlenecks, dealing with 80% team churn and establishing the right technical leadership. Through all these massive challenges, Jon achieved his childhood dream to build a successful business from scratch.

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Apr 02

Oyvind Henriksen, Founder and CEO, Poq

From day one, Oyvind and his fellow founders had both a crystal clear vision and business plan of the app commerce opportunity. Having established themselves with a number of smaller customers they stopped all work for six months to focus on their first enterprise client, House of Fraser, leading to a step change in the business. They subsequently managed the scaling challenges of delivering to multiple large customers whilst progressively growing a talented team based on a deep understanding of their culture.

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Mar 26

James Caddy, Founding CEO, Orbis Technology

Sharing memories of a special company that created a new online industry, James reminds us of the primitive state of the web in the late 90’s and how the use of dynamic sports data led to one of the first significant web e-commerce applications. OpenBet met the demand of the online gold rush of sports betting bookmakers, enabling the creation of SkyBet and spawning another highly successful start-up in Geneity. James makes clear the key foundations required to successfully bootstrap a business – IPR, Cash and Team.

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Mar 19

Elnar Hajiyev, CTO and Founder, Realeyes

Realeyes provides publishers and creatives with objective real-time measurement of audience engagement with their video content.  Elnar takes us through the Realeyes journey with a series of key pivots.  The fundamental observation was the shift in video consumption from traditional TV to Digital, in particular on smart phones. He describes how the initial prototypes were developed by outsourced teams and then re-engineered in-house.  The future potential for emotional tracking at scale is truly awe inspiring. 

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Mar 05

Alexis Prenn, CEO and Founder, Receipt Bank

Alexis takes us through the Receipt Bank story from an initial vision of business expense management, creating and dominating the domain of Bookkeeping Productivity to now providing real-time data with AI solutions, which answer the key financial questions important to drive 100,000s of businesses. He describes his founder’s obsession with saving customers time, driving innovation in a continuous stream of improvements and building international teams where personal responsibility is paramount. His advice to aspiring founders? “Say No regularly.”

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Mar 05

Paul Volkaerts, CEO and Founder, Nervecentre Software

Paul doesn’t see himself as a ‘classic’ entrepreneur. He describes how his experience selling collaboration technologies to the NHS as part of a multinational tech business, led him to bootstrap his own business with only £5,000. He personally developed initial solutions and made his first sale only a few weeks before funds ran out. The success of Nervecentre comes from Paul’s ability to see and realise the potential of the latest mobile technology to revolutionise hospital care in the UK, always putting the customer first ahead of profit. He has built a strong distributed team with a high trust culture: “I find that culture is either reinforced or broken by every decision

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Mar 05

Andy Savage, CTO, Paddle

Andy recalls how in the early days, his company shared office space, solutions and investors with Paddle before they merged and he became CTO. Both companies worked together to find the sweet spot for their customers and moved away from the original vision of a marketplace. Andy describes the ‘scrappy’ initial stage when solutions were built quickly to prove value and the re-engineering on AWS that led to the resilient, scalable solution that exists today. His advice is not to underestimate the level of personal commitment for success, get the team right, move quickly and focus on products, not money.

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