East London-based creative technology startup Adaptive Lab is looking to expand into the US as its annual UK-based revenue is set to hit £1.5m.
Founded in 2009, Adaptive Lab works with firms ranging from two-man startups to international financial firms employing over 100,000 people. The firm's founder and managing director James Haycock told V3 that his firm looks to treat every project it receives as a new startup project, with project prototypes sometimes appearing within two days of a commission.
Haycock, 29, has experience working in technical roles at smaller media firms but founded Adaptive Lab when he saw a gap in the market.
He explained that bigger businesses, while boasting enormous resources for research and development projects, sometimes fall into the trap of spending months on a project that ultimately fails, instead of taking small steps to an overall goal.
"Speed to market is absolutely critical," he said. "We can do a session in the time it takes to get four people into the same room for a meeting. Our outlook on agile working is to make a small thing that can be used and then built upon. So we take two days to help people to build investment cases on projects."
"It's like a true startup for hire, and we're the product team for the client and it's very collaborative," he continued. "We release code daily, we do sales and marketing workshops, we go to sales meetings to get feedback."
Adaptive Lab has worked with firms including online clothing retailer Asos, research firm YouGov, ITV and The Huffington Post on projects ranging from data analytics to front-end, user-facing products.
It works with clients on projects over a matter of days, weeks or months depending on demand, but rapid development is at the heart of the firm's ambitions.
Haycock maintained that Adaptive Lab does not look to corner any industry or area of expertise in particular, and instead promotes its agile way of working as its unique selling point.
"We don't specialise in a particular channel, we specialise in creative problem solving, prototyping and building scalable products," he said. "We don't want to be aligned to a particular sector. We're designing and have designed a method of working which we think can work in any kind of industry."
With 14 full-time staff and a roster of temp and freelance workers on its books, Adaptive Lab is now looking to set up shop in the US, where Haycock believes the firm will be unique.
"We could fit 30 or 40 people in [the London office]. And then we'll go to America," he said. "Probably the West Coast. The individuals [in the US] who want to work like startups work at startups, but we offer startup thinking as a service."
Haycock admits that in the UK, his firm is forced to be in a constant state of recruitment because of the number of job openings far outnumbers the number of suitable candidates. "It's competitive," he said. "100 yards down the road you've got banks, which are paying 50 percent more, and there's actually not that many people who are great.
"There are smart people who have come out of university but they haven't got commercial experience, and there are people who are good but haven't been using best practices."
In addition to an international expansion, Adaptive Lab wants to work beyond the media industries it has been currently serving, looking to expand into the healthcare, telecommunications retail and finance industries, all of which are being dramatically altered by rapid developments in technology.
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