Combined heads for business and technology, and a talent for making the most of being in the right place at the right time have served founding brothers, Sean and Martin Taylor, well. From launching a start-up hardware and software company in 1993, with seed money of just £20,000, Redwood Technologies Group has grown into a £25 million-turnover (in 2017, and growing fast) international star in the world of cloud communication technologies.
Second generation pioneers
Founding their business in the Thames Valley was no accident. The brothers’ father, himself a technologist, had moved the family down to Bracknell from Scotland in the 1970s, having recognised the potential in Berkshire’s newly-emerging ‘Tech Valley’.
Fast forward twenty years and his sons would become the next generation of technology pioneers in an area that’s become internationally renowned for its native technology expertise. In 2005, Redwood was one of the first to market with cloud contact centre solutions, via its new Content Guru subsidiary, taking British technology that had been continually refined for more than a decade into exciting new markets.
Location, Location, Location
Proximity to one of the world’s biggest international airports, Heathrow, has long been a huge asset to Thames Valley Berkshire. From the beginning, the brothers leveraged the Heathrow advantage to operate globally, and their company now has offices and technology platforms in Europe, the United States and Japan.
As a start-up, being in Berkshire was a massive benefit to the company. Not only is London just up the road—many of the company’s major clients have offices or headquarters on their doorstep.
Berkshire also gives them easy access to top-quality legal and financial advice locally.
Setting up in the established technological ecosystem of the Thames Valley was pivotal in the development of the fledgeling company, providing direct access to a network of technology and components suppliers, to assist Redwood Technologies’ R&D department.
Until January 2018, when it received its first external investment from Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), Redwood Technologies Group had been completely self-funded and organically grown, making healthy profits every year since inception.
“Networking has been easy too, and with a wealth of compatible businesses in the area, there’s a natural community here, making collaboration and communications so much easier. This is important for a start-up, a scale-up and even a large company to succeed”, Martin points out.
Finding great talent has become ever easier. While Redwood Technologies Group casts its nets far and wide, coming to work in one of the UK’s leading technological heartlands, with its proliferation of career opportunities, is proving appealing for graduates and recruits.
Starting in a 600 sq ft. office, Redwood Technologies Group is now in its fourth headquarters in Bracknell, a 36,000 sq ft. ultra-modern office and showcase space.
How long they’ll stay in this office is the question. With year-on-year profitable growth of over 30%, this scale-up has big plans and looks set to exceed them.
Martin would recommend any business to follow their lead, “Berkshire is the place to scale-up—many of today’s best start-ups are already here.”
“Most of our new graduates set up home in Reading. It’s just over ten miles away from the Company, and as England’s largest town, with its own globally-competitive university, it has plenty to offer. It’s also quick and easy to nip in and out of London, making it a great lifestyle choice too.”
“The surrounding areas are great for families, being much more affordable than London and replete with excellent schools. Berkshire can offer both a rural lifestyle and an urban experience, making it similar to California’s Silicon Valley in more ways than one.”
Finding good accommodation has been easy
Finding a location for a start-up is easy, especially a tech start-up with minimal need for space. But looking to the future, a company needs space to grow.
Martin said, “Berkshire gives scope to scale-up that’s hard to find in the Capital.”