In this series
, we’ll meet the winners of Northern Stars 2017
. What makes 10 of the best startups from across the North of England tick? Let’s find out…
This time, we meet Mike Rohan, CEO of Technically Compatible.
What’s your company’s elevator pitch?
We help recruiters make better hires and we help their organisations build better teams.
How did the company get started?
It’s a classic example of a company being founded to solve a problem that the team was experiencing!
Our founders were hiring at scale in their previous tech company. They were wasting time interviewing candidates who lacked the skills they were after and so created a platform to enable them to configure tests for candidates that would give them confidence in their ability to do the job.
Technically Compatible has come a long way since then, but our key mission is still the same – to help employers make better hires.
What are you looking to get out of Northern Stars?
We’re really proud of everything we’ve achieved over the past three years or so, from our base in Sunderland we’ve grown to be the largest UK-based provider of IT skills tests – which is amazing.
I hope that Northern Stars will give us a platform to enable that message to be heard far and wide so that we can continue to scale internationally and grow the business.
In the week since the final we’ve had around 10 enquiries from tech companies who were in the audience, or who read about us in the press – so far so good!
What’s your biggest business challenge?
Like many startups, we’re in a cycle of innovation, execution and growth which is linked to the availability of investment. The process of raising funds is time-consuming and crucially takes up the time of the people at the top of an organisation – who, in a startup, are the ones developing the product and delivering new customers.
One day someone will invent an app for that…
What was it like to pitch in the Grand Final?
I was pitching 16th out of 20 on the night so I had quite a lot of time for contemplation and must have walked 10,000 steps back and forth. Trying to stay focussed when you’re rattling around backstage as the other contestants disappear one by one to do their pitch was pretty challenging. Then, before you know it, you’re side of stage, you hear the applause which means you’re up – the stage door opens and whoosh, you’re on – lights, camera, action.
The pitch was a bit of a blur and I haven’t had chance to watch it back yet, which is probably a good thing.
More than anything it was a great relief to come off the stage knowing I’d given it my all, and hoping I’d done the team justice.
Where do you see your company in two years’ time?
We are aiming for a seed round of investment in March 2018, which we’re going to use to scale our sales and marketing operations.
We’ll double in size this financial year, and again the year after. By November 2019, we’ll have around 50 staff worldwide and should have just closed out our Series A – all being well.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to identify Northern Stars as the key trigger that took us to new markets, and delivered some key customers that enabled us to transition from startup to scale-up.
Meet more Northern Stars.