To follow on from our maiden Tech Invest event, we’ve profiled some of the most exciting technology companies in the UK.
GrowthBusiness has now produced a new 2014 version of Tech Innovators, where we have again profiled some of the best technology ventures in the UK through interviews with founding entrepreneurs.
Based in: Frensham, Surrey
Founded in: 2009
No. of employees: 11
Company founder: Julian Ranger
Julian Ranger, an engineer and serial entrepreneur, founded STASYS in 1986 and sold the company to Lockheed Martin in 2005 after building the business to £17 million annual turnover, with 230 staff and offices in the UK, Germany, Malaysia, Australia and the US. He has been a director and investor in various successful start-ups since 2007.
Background business profile:
People are putting more and more of their data online – it is fragmented, hard to reuse and subject to loss. The big question the business asks is: why shouldn’t you be the single biggest owner of your own data? SocialSafe claims to be your ‘library of you’.
Having already set up businesses in the defence communications sector, entrepreneur Julian Ranger has now turned to the online data and social media space for his latest venture.
His business, SocialSafe, is aimed at consumers who want to take control of their personal data which is held online – creating a ‘library of you’.
Despite first addressing it at the data held within social media accounts, Ranger believes that the company’s longer-term value will be found in building a library view of all cloud data including banking and utilities.
‘On the software side, we haven’t had to boil the ocean or break new ground which is novel,’ Ranger explains.
SocialSafe’s funding to date has come in the form of its founding team as well as from a crop of angels and a family fund.
Its efforts to secure further funding has been boosting by the confirmed involvement of Gordon Bell, a Microsoft researcher who has come on board as an adviser.
‘The main use for funding is to allow time. The way I think of it is a time round as it buys us 9-12 months,’ he says.
‘We don’t want to spend lots of money on marketing and PR in terms of buying advertising as it’s expensive and the return is not there while you’re building the base.’
Going forward, SocialSafe and Ranger are firmly focussed on user acquisition and engaging in B2B partnerships to build the business.
- Adding users at more than 1,000 per week
- Conversion funnel now 15 to 20 per cent download from website and more than 40 per cent to active user
- Partnerships sealed with CPP (100,000 licences guarantee in year), Nero (offer to double-digit million customer list)
- A confirmed investor for this round is Gordon Bell from Microsoft, who is probably the world’s best-known expert in the area of life & data and life logging. He will come on board as an advisor too
- 100,000 users by the end of 2013
- Two significant B2B partnerships by the end of 2013
- Device independence by September 2013
- The key to SocialSafe is private local storage, giving privacy and compliance with network terms of service and removing scalability issues
- This also allows the wider vision of reuse and permissioned access to data
- Greater depth, number of networks and accuracy
- Aggregation and insights capability
- A variety of small and medium partners (e.g. Derby FC, PowerTraveller, SavePhoto, including distribution at Tesco and Boots), with major partners just being signed (CPP, Nero, FNAC)
- Founding team – £350,000
- External investors (ten angels and one family fund) – £385,000