The UK is a thriving haven of tech entrepreneurship, with tomorrow’s global leaders being forged today in the crucible of the digital revolution.
However, unlike the tech rockstars the other side of the Atlantic, Britain doesn’t spend much time celebrating the people most likely to become the next Dorsey, Page or Zuckerberg.
At E&I we can’t let that slide, and in this occasional series we’ll be meeting the UK’s most notable and innovative tech talent, and discovering what you need to know about shaping your own digital future.
Name & company: James Tucker, CEO, Twenty7Tec.
Location: Bournemouth, Dorset.
What is Twenty7Tec?
We’re a market leading provider of cloud based systems to the mortgage market – our tech is used by over 10,000 mortgage brokers and over 100 lenders.
How did Twenty7Tec come to be?
We set the business up in 2014 with backing from a local venture capital firm after identifying that the mortgage market in the UK was way behind the curve in its adoption of new technology. We saw an opportunity to build a business that leveraged modern, cloud based systems to drive efficiencies in process for brokers and lenders, and we’ve done just that.
Why did you base your tech company in Bournemouth?
There is obviously a perception that financial services is very London-centric, but some of the South Coast’s biggest employers are businesses like JP Morgan, Nationwide, Vitality and Barclays – and that means there is a huge amount of exceptionally knowledgeable people here. When you couple this with a local university, that produces some great tech talent, and makes the South Coast an excellent place to have our base.
Many other tech companies are also on the South Coast of England. What makes this such a great location for tech?
In addition to the sheer quantity and quality of talent in the area, it’s all about the quality of life we can offer. I love the buzz of London, and spend plenty of time there, but you can’t beat finishing work after a hard day and heading down to Bournemouth beach for some fresh air.
What other tech entrepreneurs do you admire, and why?
I think James Benamor, founder of Amigo Loans (which is also based in Bournemouth), leads the way down here. Despite the fall in their share price this year, he’s built a phenomenally successful business after identifying an underserved niche in the personal loans market.
Do you find being based in Bournemouth a difficulty for any reasons?
The only challenge is the 2 hour train ride into London, and the totally inconsistent and unreliable train network!
Is it a challenge to get the best tech talent to further their career outside of London?
Absolutely not. A lot of our team have worked in London, but have chosen to settle and raise a family here as the quality of life is so much better – so we get exceptionally talented people who are happy both in their job and in their personal lives.
What’s your morning routine?
I would love to say I’m up early and down the gym, but in reality I’m often trying to drink as much coffee as possible in between doing the school run and answering the emails that came in overnight from our team in Canada.
What do you do for down time?
Golf, just not very successfully.
How do you manage work/life balance?
I try to be super organised and make sure that I dedicate time every week for my children, my friends, and to relax. When I’m at work I’m going 100mph, but when I’m at home I do my best to put work to one side.
What’s the one bit of tech you can’t live without?
My coffee machine. I’m not much of a morning person, and without that I’d be thoroughly unpleasant to work with.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
If you tell a customer you are going to do something, do it. No excuses, always deliver on your promises.
If you were to start a new tech business today, which area would you be looking at?
The continued complete lack of education in our schools on management of personal finances is shocking – I’d love to find a way to assist in how we can help new generations learn about mortgages, pensions, savings and even what bills need paying and why!
If you were to give one piece of advice on how grow a tech company, what would it be?
Have a really clear model for how you make your tech platform/business generate revenue – user numbers do not always equal profit, and they certainly don’t always equal cash.
What’s next for Twenty7Tec?
We’re doing a huge amount of work at the moment on how we can simplify the mortgage application process, which remains hugely – and needlessly – complex. We are very close to delivering some game changing solutions in that space.
Discover more at twenty7tec.com.