Steve is a serial entrepreneur and has successfully built & exited several technology businesses, including a FTSE 250 company from a startup that reached a market value of £1bn at its peak.
In general, Steve loves the energy of taking something from nothing and breathing life into it and seeing a business find its feet and grow from startup to upstart to maturity, increasing value along the way and building high quality teams who care.
IoD Cheshire Director of Year, IoD North West Director of Year, Technology CEO of the Year, Technology Entrepreneur of the Year, Honorary Doctorate for Business Administration from Teesside University.
- SurfControl plc. — startup to profitable business with revenue > $130m, over 800 people, offices in 14 countries in particular 50%+ of revenues from the USA, R&D in several countries and acquiring and integrating at least 7 other technology businesses during its growth. SurfControl plc. was eventually sold 2007 for in excess of $400m.
- Indentum — university spin out for email encryption that Steve was asked to go into rescue but despite no revenues or future was sold to Trend Micro Inc for an undisclosed amount.
- WE7 — founder investor & CEO, built a significant B2C Internet music service alongside Gareth Reakes; other notable founder investors: Peter Gabriel. WE7 reached 3m monthly listeners in the UK and was sold in 2012 to Tesco for £10.8m to become Blinkbox Music.
Gareth has created several technology companies. These include DecisionSoft, Embrace Mobile & Parthenon Computing. He has extensive experience recruiting & managing teams. Using a blend of agile methodologies has completed many major projects on time & budget.
He is a Member of Apache (highest honor provided), the global open source foundation. At Apache he has been a committer, a member of various committees (XML, Xerces, Xalan) & PMC Chair for Xerces. He speaks & presents technical papers at global conferences including the IDE Alliance XML Conferences & has been a technical reviewer for Wrox Press.
Gareth has a first class honours degree in Computation from Oxford Brookes University. He is involved with both Oxford Brooks University, where he gives talks on entrepreneurship & careers, & Oxford University, as a member of the Industry panel for Software Engineering.
As Founder & CTO of the UK Internet music service WE7 acquired by Tesco, he built a high calibre, 40 person, R&D team. The team delivered a scalable & robust technology platform storing 15m songs with more than 1bn stream data records & served 3m monthly users. The platform won the BT "Best Digital Music Service" & had '5 star' apps in Android & iOS app stores.
At Tesco, he has evangelized modern development methodologies to the most senior levels and achieved sign off for a new ~£15 million a year budget for ~150 people unit.
He has hired global talent, creating a centre of excellence for product management.
At a product level he has managed an organization of ~200 product professionals to deliver high priority digital offerings for some of Tesco most important business areas and has instigated significant internal and cultural change for areas such as:
- Clubcard — the biggest loyalty scheme in the UK with a higher penetration than Facebook
- Hudl — the second highest selling tablet in the UK
- International Grocery Home Shopping — grocery website released in 8 territories globally
Now, reporting to the CTO of Tesco, he is responsible for driving change to modern ways of technical development, as well as owning substantial parts of the new emerging front end user experience.
Julie is a Management Accountant, originating from Deepcar, Sheffield.
Julie has always been the voice of reason and strength behind Steve in all his ventures and took active operational roles in the formative years in each business.
In SurfControl plc, 1997 to 2007, Julie helped manage the early global operational requirements from the UK before focusing upon one of the acquired subsidiaries, CyberPatrol, a child Internet safety business. Her role at CyberPatrol was to manage the transition and development of all operational accounting systems, administration, and the Customer Service function following acquisition.
In 2000, Julie was the instigator within SurfControl of the pro-bono creation of a unique service called Chat Monitor on behalf of Manchester Police to detect and identify potential paedophiles on the Internet. This led to two high profile National Police campaigns 'Project Magenta' and 'Project Appall' which led to a significant number of alleged paedophiles being arrested and charged in coordinated dawn raids, for which SurfControl received a Police commendation.
Again in WE7, Julie helped develop and manage the essential business processes of Administration, Forecasting, and Budgetary control, as the company went through its hyper growth phase.
Prior to working directly with Steve, Julie worked for The CWS (Co-operative Wholesale Society) — Manchester for 20 years, working initially in Ambient Food Distribution, with accounting and administration responsibility for a distribution centre with a throughput of £150m and a team of 20.
Then, in Temperate Controlled Food Distribution, Julie was responsible for rationalizing and re-developing the National Distribution network of the CWS specifying and introducing a bespoke supply chain management and accounting system, managing the administration of 5 third-party distributor agreements across 20 distribution centres, with combined throughputs of +£250m and a team of +50.
Julie & Steve have been married 33 years and are, both, NSPCC Patrons and Council members. They were NW board members of the NSPCC Full Stop Campaign. Following its conclusion, Julie has continued working with the NSPCC and is the cornerstone of the annual Manchester Childline Ball that has raised over £900,000 in the last 8 years.