Steamhaus was founded by IT entrepreneur Daniel Keighron-Foster in October 2015 and offers a combination of its own cloud platform, managed services for servers and operating systems, and consultancy on cloud services and products.
The company is based in Manchester's trendy Northern Quarter, and consists of seven people and office dog Poppy. Manchester is one of the main cities that make up the Northern Powerhouse of businesses and startups.
We fired our startup spotlight questions at Keighron-Foster to hear more about his fledgling company.
Tell us more about Steamhaus.
We're a brand new cloud consultancy. We work with digital and creative agencies, online retailers, app developers and high traffic websites to source, design, build, maintain and manage their cloud set-up, helping brands and agencies better understand their applications and code.
Why did you develop the company?
I founded Melbourne Server Hosting in 2000 when I was at university, growing it from a startup to a multimillion pound company before selling in 2012. I decided to take a break for a few years but was keen to return to the industry in some form or another earlier this year.
I really wanted to move away from managing data centres and saw a gap for a company that would remove the hassle for brands and agencies, working closely to steer them in the right direction and find the right solution for their website or app. And so Steamhaus was born.
Tell us how you got your business off the ground.
Still working on it! I've assembled a fantastic team across technical, commercial and finance to ensure that as we grow we've got the right people in place.
We've been working behind the scenes to get our systems and processes in place for the last few months and now we're ready for action. We've already got some customers signed up; in fact a lot earlier than we'd planned, which is a great vote of confidence for our business model and reputation in the industry.
What technology do you use?
We're all about the cloud. Whether it's on a public cloud platform, or hosted on our own SteamCloud platform, we build and develop the right solution.
Are you based in an incubator or startup centre?
Neither. We've just moved in to the fifth floor of a converted factory in Manchester's Northern Quarter. There are maybe 20 other businesses in the building from youth leadership development charity UpRising to a casting agency.
It's a great space with a real sense of entrepreneurship and a warm welcome for startups and more established firms.
What level of funding have you received so far?
We're quite lucky for a startup in that we're not reliant on any external or bank funding and I'm fortunate to have been able to personally invest £500,000 into Steamhaus. Added to this, all of our staff have a significant equity in the company, meaning they've got a vested interest in seeing the company thrive.
What challenges have you encountered?
Returning to the industry after a three-year break has been quite intense. I'd forgotten how much detail there is in everything, especially when you want to do things properly.
What's been the biggest highlight of your business?
Our launch party last month was a great ‘we've done it!' moment that brought together the team, our friends and family, and everyone that's helped us to get to this point.
What does your company do to relax or have fun after a busy day?
We're a young excitable bunch so working in Manchester's Northern Quarter means there's plenty of distractions right on our doorstep.
None of us has worked in town for a few years (some never) so the novelty of having loads of bars and restaurants on our doorstep hasn't worn off yet.
What did you do before starting up?
After selling Melbourne in 2012, I took a few years out to start a family, renovate a Victorian house, and do some travelling. After three years off I was definitely ready to get back into it.
What are your favourite and worst things about running your own startup?
It's a double-edged sword; the pressure and chaos is fun and engaging, but can also be quite stressful!
If you could emulate the success of another startup, which would it be?
I really admire Valve Software as they have a very strong focus on creating a fantastic work environment and making great products. To me, that's a model that's worth looking very closely at.
Do you work remotely, in a shared environment or have your own office space?
Day-to-day we're based in our office but we're very flexible about working hours and a lot of us will work from home at some point in a given week.
Alan Turing. He was a long time hero of mine long before all the stuff that's happened about him recently.
It's been amazing to see how awareness has built in the last few years following what would've been his 100th birthday and then the posthumous pardon he was granted in 2013.
Coffee shop of choice?
Ezra & Gil just over the road from our office. Really friendly, good coffee and, most importantly, they let me bring Poppy in with me.
Beverage of choice?
Gin and tonic every time.
My current preference is Kosmonaut just over the road from our office. There's an equally nice vibe whether you're visiting during the day or on a Friday night.
Slack. It's a fantastic collaboration and messaging tool that's pretty ubiquitous in startup environments now and deservedly so.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
Manchester has a fantastic and vibrant startup community. It's really exciting to be part of it. In fact, there's so much happening that it's hard to keep track of it all.
There's a big push to make Manchester one of Europe's top five startup destinations. Most importantly the people here are all look out for each other and there's a thriving social scene around the industry.
Could the government and technology industry do more to support UK startups?
I have to say, I think there's quite a lot of support available if you live in one of the Northern Powerhouse cities. My concern would be around ensuring that smaller towns are given some similar share of the resources and community feel that we have in Manchester.
If you want to take part in the V3 Startup Spotlight contact Roland Moore-Colyer.
Previous startups under the spotlight have ranged from IoT wireless network firm Nwave Technologies and e-commerce and augmented reality firm GoInStore, to social listening app Twizoo and website and app monitoring firm RapidSpike.
Users are told that their non-existent 'iPhoneID' is expiring soon
Expansion of SDK intended to expand Amazon Alexa ecosystem
Locky returns from a prolonged rest with two new variants
AMD lambasted over Radeon RX Vega pricing that will add an extra £100 to RX Vega 56 and 64 graphics cards
Company accused of failing to tell anyone that the launch prices were only introductory offers