Cloudfind was founded in 2011 and offers a service that can manage and organise a host of cloud storage and software services from the likes of Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and Salesforce.
Automated file tagging allows files in large enterprises to be searched for and organised by topic, making life easier for people dealing with multiple cloud storage platforms.
The company comprises seven developers and four sales and marketing people, and is based in Bath, a long way from the hustle and bustle of East London's Tech City.
V3 put chief executive and founder Sebastian Toke-Nichols under the spotlight to hear more about the startup.
Why did you develop Cloudfind?
We'd experienced first hand the difficulties, complexity and frustrations of trying to work with files in a large business.
As cloud computing came along, it became clear that these issues were only going to get worse, as it became easy to upload more and more information. We saw the high cost and complexity of the systems being deployed to manage information, and thought: there's got to be a better way.
Tell us how you got Cloudfind off the ground.
We have resourced the business using angel funding [investment from an individual or group in exchange for equity in the company]. Latterly this has been from the Thorium Technology Investor group who have supported us in the last two rounds.
What technology do you use?
We use Python and Django for software development, and a host of other web dev tools. As an all-cloud application, we also try to use as many other cloud-based tools as we can.
Are you based in an incubator or startup centre?
We began life in the Innovation Centre in Bath, which is run by Bath University.
What level of funding have you received so far?
To date, around £1m of angel funding.
What challenges have you encountered?
Finding the right people for the team is a huge challenge for a startup. There's a particular mix of attitude, entrepreneurial spirit and technical depth that startups need, and you don't have the advantage of already being a well-known name.
As the business grows, there's also a huge amount of admin to take care of. Getting the balance of time right between driving the business and managing it is a challenge, but also fantastic fun.
We set out to play on a global stage from day one. That's the nature of the software-as-a-service market. That means we've had to be ready to work with customers across different time zones and in quite different markets, and often at short notice.
The variety is extremely enjoyable, but as a startup you need to be prepared for constant change and evolution.
What's been the biggest highlight of your business?
The great thing about being a startup is that every month you can have a 'first': first customer, first customer in the US, first customer in Europe, first launch, first inbound sales lead, first 100 users, first 1,000 users, first win against a competitor.
But the biggest highlight is always getting feedback from customers that they love your product, and they love working with you. We've had some really great comments already, and that's definitely a buzz.
What does your company do to relax or have fun after a busy day?
We try to have as much fun as possible. Our work can be intense and challenging, but we do try to talk as a team on a weekly basis, and once in a while shut the office up a little early and head for a beer and some social time.
What did you do before starting Cloudfind?
I did 10 years in telecoms software companies, and prior to that a career in the Royal Navy as a navigator and watch keeper on nuclear submarines.
What are your favourite and worst things about running your own startup?
Favourite: knowing that your job is to create great experiences for customers, and value for shareholders, every day. Worst: admin and accounts!
If you could emulate the success of another startup, which would it be?
Lots of great startups come to mind, but Dropbox, Box and Slack stand out.
Do you work remotely, in a shared environment or have your own office space?
Own office space in the Tramshed, Walcot Street, Bath.
Drew Houston of Dropbox.
Smart or casual?
Coffee shop of choice?
Picnics in Bath deserves a mention as our unofficial staff room.
Beverage of choice?
A properly prepared coffee usually does the trick.
The Tramshed in Bath.
Currently Slack, but this is a fast-moving business.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
Yes, particularly in our earlier days. Bath and Bristol is a thriving tech hub, and there are numerous meetups and networking events. Our angel consortium backers also provide access to networking events with other entrepreneurs and innovators.
Could the government and technology industry do more to support UK startups?
There's always more that can be done, but there are some good initiatives like research and development funding, and grants for digital innovation.
Encouraging the right skills, both personal and technical, throughout the education system is important.
Startups need to be able to tap a pool of willing and energetic people to get beyond the startup phase, and an environment that encourages creativity and innovation is incredibly important.
If you want to take part in the V3 Startup Spotlight contact Roland Moore-Colyer.
Previous startups under the spotlight have ranged from cloud computing services firm Fedr8, to public sector website developer DXW, software sequencing specialist Sparkl, and online car repair marketplace ClickMechanic.
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