12+ start-ups, from public companies with 100s of people and millions in sales to family owned micro-businesses
I’ve been a founder of many ventures, working on my own and with other passionate people. This has given me many opportunities to learn about start-ups, business, people and leadership as well as furthering my understanding of new technologies.
Founder and CEO. Founded in 2004, Alertacall specialises in the development of technology and services to improve daily contact. Alertacall pioneers the principle that by increasing contact with people in a structured way that gives them control, you can better understand their changing needs, make better decisions and improve their lives. The company has won awards and improves the lives of tens of thousands of people working with organisations in housing, health and social care as well as many private customers. The venture was inspired by the needs of own grandmother and in the first few years I made approx 60,000 phone calls to older people and visited around 1,000 in their own homes to understand exactly what they needed from our services.
Founder and CEO. A new project being developed right now, Finding Founders is a social enterprise which identifies people, through compelling public talks and events, who have the essential characteristics to start their own venture. It offers support and mentoring to founders, particularly those who have originated from backgrounds with limited social or financial privilege.
Co-founder of the market leading medical recruitment development company which was one of the first to properly leverage the Internet to communicate with clients and the only ever to offer free shares in the company to those who registered and accepted work. The company acquired a family owned locum agency which had been trading for 20 years with a turnover of £1m and sold it just two years later with a turnover of £12m. At that time the company had grown to become one of the most successful “locum agencies” within the United Kingdom.
Co-founder and director of Tspeak, a telephony, web hosting, email and domain name sales company which went on to develop an online payment system similar to the popular PayPal service and then rebranded as CredECard with the launch of a debit card and online account. This company was subsequently bought by a larger company servicing the payment card sector.
Co-founder and director of award-winning Internet Service Provider and AIM listed business incubator which at peak had around 250,000 customers and operated several subsidiaries. The group eventually went in to restructuring, however several of the subsidiaries continued to trade as wholly independent entities, some of which included:
- Totalise ISP – A dial-up Internet Service Provider with approximately 175,000 users for connectivity, email and personal “home page” hosting – growing at its peak at over 1,000 customers a day. The ISP won Best Consumer Internet Service Provider in 2000 at and the Internet access subsidiary and related dial-up revenue were sold for several million in 2001.
- Eurekar – the UK’s largest vehicle import company of that period, selling 7,000+ vehicles with sales of £85m+. Winner of consumer awards and also became supplier of imported cars to JamJar.com. Sold to its full-time management team.
- Flowers2Send – Sunday Times “Online Florist Of the Year” and one of the first successful online florists in the UK, routinely selling tens of thousands of bunches of flowers a year which were prepared in and directly shipped from Holland. Sold to private buyer and re-branded as 0800flowers.com
- Totalise Telecom – Least cost telephone routing and discount telephony company with tens of thousands of customers who used our service to save money on telephone calls. Company re-branded and billing platform eventually developed to form part of CredECard at a later date.
- DomainNameSales – Domain name registration and web-hosting company, which itself acquired the substantial domain registration and hosting business Another.com. This company was sold to another much larger web hosting business.
“Daelnet” / QDK Partnership
In 1994/1995 I was the co-founder of a Yorkshire Dales based Internet Service Provider, community website and web development company. This was one of the first “Internet” companies in the UK and creators of the “first community website in a day”; a project for the town of Trimdon which featured on national BBC News and for which the team were thanked in person by Tony Blair the Prime Minister.
Other smaller projects
- AFFSchool – Provider of courses to enable people to learn to skydive using the popular Accelerated Freefall (AFF) model, at locations in the UK, Florida and Spain. Remaining online presence now, generating leads for third parties.
- Skyventure UK – Founding shareholder and supporter of Skyventure UK, now IFly, the most successful indoor skydiving simulator and “vertical wind tunnel” company in the UK with multiple locations. Shareholding sold.
- Whitefuse – Various services offered on a consultancy basis as an experienced technologist, particularly supporting organisations and individuals with problematic infrastructure and information technology, or helping organisations plan and design new technology projects. Company no longer required and domains/names transferred to a social venture.
- CastleDouglas.Net– A community website for an area of Scotland. Helped turn this into a successful small business, enrolling approx 200 subscriptions from businesses and leveraging those relationships in to other revenue streams. Sold and remained active for 10+ years and eventually closed down.
- N-ARY – Shareholder and “first non-founder director” of one of the first companies in the UK to specialise in Java development with customers including the United Nations, Shell and Nortel. As a consequence of my involvement the company expanded its TagServlet software which evolved in-to the BlueDragon Application Server which powers web-based applications world-wide. Company eventually closed.