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Focus on a Founder with Scott White - Celebrating 10 Years of Community

last modified Jun 24, 2020 11:27 AM
This month we are celebrating our 10th birthday! 10 years ago this month ideaSpace welcomed its first member. The first of its kind in Cambridge, ideaSpace became a hub for high impact founders  – many of whom have gone onto great startup success. ideaSpace grew too – opening a second office in the city centre in 2013 and ideaSpace South three years later, on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.  To celebrate we wanted to feature some founders who chose to make ideaSpace home, from those who joined at the very beginning to those who have recently become members. We have been privileged to be part of their story – they are, after all, what makes the ideaSpace community so special.   We are beginning the series with Scott White of PragmatIC, who was a member of ideaSpace from the very start.

Scott White Focus on a Founder

Tell us a bit about yourself
My background is originally technical - a degree in mathematics and computer science, with a thesis focused on machine learning before it became fashionable! I’ve never worked as an engineer, but rather focused most of my career on taking interesting technologies and connecting them with real-world applications. I spent several years management consulting, which was great experience in general business management and strategic problem solving, before joining a telecoms research centre where I spun out my first tech venture in 1997. Since then I’ve built and sold 5 companies - 3 as an executive and 2 as a non-exec board director.

At PragmatIC, originally we had intended a licensing business. However, as we developed our technology platform and customer pipeline, it became clear that the opportunity was much bigger to take it to manufacturing ourselves. We have since focused on building a world-leading company, with key decisions such as investor selection, team recruitment, business model focus and strategic partner development driven by this objective.


How is your venture doing?
PragmatIC is at a very exciting time in its growth. Having spent many years developing a fundamentally new semiconductor manufacturing platform, last year we launched our first RFID (radio frequency identification) products and secured sales of over 20 million units in the first 2 months. Our current focus is on ramping volume from our first FlexLogIC “fab in a box” production line, while simultaneously planning ahead for our next generation FlexLogIC system. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious target to have our technology in a trillion smart objects within the next decade.


What advice do you have for other founders?
Have a very clear view on what is unique and valuable about your technology, and everything that is required in the ecosystem around it for the core technology to be successful. Be creative about how you build that ecosystem – often this will depend on finding the right partners, but sometimes it will require stepping up to do it yourself, at least to get things started. In the context of that ecosystem, ensure you can clearly communicate your business model (or range of business model options) both internally and to your partners and investors. And finally, be flexible – almost all of this will probably change as the company develops!


How has being part of the ideaSpace community been helpful to you?
When PragmatIC first started, to develop our technology we made an arrangement with the Engineering department of Cambridge University to embed our R&D team in their labs. That meant it was an ideal solution for me to be based at ideaSpace West, just around the corner and with all the office facilities I needed to build the commercial and administration side of the business. In addition, the “community” benefit of interacting daily with like-minded folks building their own technology businesses was always beneficial – comparing notes about how to address certain common challenges, as well as sometimes just sharing the joy and pain of daily triumphs and setbacks.

Even now, having left ideaSpace more than 7 years ago, I still occasionally reach out to Stew in order to connect into the ideaSpace network for help. And in return, I enjoy participating in the ideaSpace E3 sessions to share some of my own experience and learnings with those at the start of their journeys.

To find out more about PragmatIC visit their website here.

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