Founded by Harry Metcalfe in 2008, DXW specialises in researching, setting up and maintaining websites and digital services for the public sector.
DXW handles everything from WordPress development to website hosting for its clients, which include central government departments and the Thames Valley Housing Association.
DXW now has 17 members of staff and is situated near Old Street and Tech City in London's East End.
V3 put Metcalfe under the Startup Spotlight to find out more about DXW and why he founded the company.
Why did you choose to set up DXW?
I worked as a contractor for a short time in the Cabinet Office, working on websites and open data projects.
It became clear very quickly that the government had almost no internal experts on the subject and had an incumbent pool of suppliers that were happily selling overpriced, poor quality solutions to an uninformed client.
I wanted to build a specialist supplier for public sector clients that broke this model to offer a better option than existing suppliers, with an active focus on helping clients upskill.
Tell us how you got your business off the ground?
Mostly by word of mouth and recommendations. We came along at the right time with the right message.
The market was itching for a new approach which delivered results faster at lower cost, which we were able to do relatively easily because incumbent suppliers were so slow and expensive.
Word spread and it grew from there. All our growth has been completely organic on the strength of our reputation, with no investment.
What technology do you use?
Amazon Web Services, WordPress, Ruby on Rails, Google Analytics, and lots of cloud services like Twilio, Mailchimp, Polldaddy and Ramp.
What level of funding have you received?
None, we're bootstrapped. Our growth has been completely organic.
What challenges have you encountered?
Major challenges include talent and recruitment, and navigating the government's pretty arcane procurement rules.
Besides that, we've had much the same pains as any other business, I suspect - managing cash flow, growing a small team into a bigger one, embedding culture along the way, figuring out new processes and trying to align that with the way our clients want to work without losing our focus on delivering exemplary projects.
What's been the biggest highlight of your business?
Probably the launch of Thames Valley Housing Association's online customer services, MyTVH, which is our largest project to date and our first opportunity to deliver transactional services.
It's much better than any equivalent offering in the sector and we're pretty proud of it!
What does your company do to relax or have fun after a busy day?
We've been known to head to the pub on occasion. We also celebrate birthdays, new joiners and so on by having good lunches together, and we have the occasional outing.
What did you do before you founded DXW?
I was a PhD student at the University of Sussex. I did not finish.
What are your favourite and worst things about running your own startup?
I love the freedom to pursue the outcomes that I think are right, and more recently the opportunity to decide with a group of smart people what the right outcome is.
I feel like we're making a difference and that is very rewarding. Worst things? Well, I'm not sure really. I don't think there's anything I'd rather be doing!
If you could emulate the success of another startup, which would it be?
In agency land, I'm not sure. In product land, I find Zendesk and Xero pretty inspiring, for similar reasons. They both found a common problem, solved it compellingly, and took over the world.
Tony Stark. Or perhaps Grace Hopper, if you wanted a serious answer!
Coffee shop of choice?
Beverage of choice?
My living room, with friends and a nice scotch.
Right now, probably Buffer. It's making my life easier.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
Not really, no. I always intended to throw myself into that sort of thing, but never managed to get to it.
Could the government and technology industry do more to support UK startups?
The government could do lots, especially with tax reforms. I don't mind paying our fair share but Employer's National Insurance is a travesty of a tax.
If the UK government wants growth in employment, they could do worse than remove the current tax of 13.8 percent on jobs.
Easier access to finance would be good too. Current startup funding is very biased towards hockey-stick style growth where one or two investment wins can cover the cost of numerous failures, which is understandable, but DXW will never grow like Slack, so it's not relevant for us at all.
And other sources of funding tend to be very limited unless you give a personal guarantee or have security, neither of which is very appealing.
If you want to take part in the V3 Startup Spotlight contact Roland Moore-Colyer.
Previous startups under the spotlight have included smartphone maker Kazam, cloud collaboration company Huddle, smart cities analytics company Future Decisions, cloud computing services firm Fedr8, and memory health app maker Memrica.
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