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LESSONS FROM A FOUNDER: Greg Law - Building a Successful Tech Business

last modified Oct 26, 2018 08:51 AM
Greg Law is the co-founder and CTO of Undo; a diagnostic software tool which helps companies respond quickly to software failures and improve software quality. From building the business on a part time basis from Greg's garden shed, to growing to a team of 40 and raising over $20M in investment, Undo have firmly established themselves on the tech industry map. We caught up with Greg to find out more about his experiences leading a successful business.

Undo has come a long way since its beginnings in 2012. Looking back, are there any key things you would have done differently if you knew then what you know now?

In hindsight, perhaps seeking out critique from potential investors earlier on could have helped steer the product in the right direction sooner. Undo was initially funded through some personal funds, and boosted with a couple of grants, including an Innovate UK grant. In the early days of Undo, I prioritised product development over seeking investment, which on reflection may not have been the best way to focus my initial time. As a result, the launch of the first product version was released prematurely and with limited functionality. In reality the product needed significant investment, and just working weekends and evenings wasn’t going to cut it - we needed to create a real company and do it properly, and that needed investment. 

 

Undo has now successfully raised over $20M, namely from Cambridge Innovation Capital, Cambridge Angels and Parkwalk Advisors. Can you share any insight into how you went about this? 

Personal networking and nurturing key relationships are key when it comes to attracting the right investors and board members that will add most value to your company. To illustrate this point I was initially introduced to some of our investors through a long-term professional relationship, and following on from that some of those investors then became board members; offering ongoing support to the company. In terms of getting the pitch right I sought out some valuable constructive criticism from an excellent VC and fundraising consultant Jonathan LeinmullerI continue to make time to network and support other individuals and their entities as you never know where it might lead you.

 

As your team grew, how did you manage the changes and keep everyone aligned towards the same goals?  

From experience, and from some advice given by the board members of Undo - it is essential to foster a strong company culture early, and above all trust your team. I must admit that at first I didn’t fully appreciate the relevance of that, however, the larger the team grew the more challenging it became to keep everyone tightly focused. As a founder, it can be very difficult to let go and trust the decision making and judgement of staff, particularly new staff. I attended business coaching workshops by Vistage which taught me that ‘business moves at the speed of trust’, an insight that comes from having an open mind and a willingness to accept change.

 

Do you have any other advice that might be specific to a technology start-up? 

Allgreat technology companies are technology led, however it is important to ensure that other business streams, particularly sales, are aligned. To ensure sales and product development are not separate entities, I encourage technical teams to be customer facing to an extent. All of our software engineers spend some time with clients, which has proven very valuable. That said, be flexible - there may be times when it makes sense for technology development to take a back seat to sales and revenue generation, and vice versa.

 

What’s next for Undo? 

We are delighted to have Barry Morris join as CEO, whose focus will be to strengthen our positioning in strategically important markets in the US and Europe. Barry’s 25 years experience of working in deep tech enterprise softwareand database systemswill take the company to new heights as we enter our high-growth phase.

 

Finally, here are Greg’s top recommended books for growing a business:

 

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