Resources Guides 08.12.16

Technology start up help – case study

Coalition has been the kind of start-up most entrepreneurs only dream of.

The founder, Trevor Foster-Black started with a brilliant idea and, within 11 years, had created a global analytics and business intelligence provider to the financial sector.  He employs over 120 people worldwide and last year successfully sold the business to the world’s market leader in credit ratings

The business was based on using technology in a ground breaking way to turn unstructured data into valuable intelligence for investment banks and other financial institutions on a very large scale.

Tom Hoppe is the COO and CFO at Coalition. Tom offers some technology start up help

Although it’s very unusual, early backing was provided by an investment bank (JP Morgan) because it saw value both as a purchaser of the services and as an investor. The bank had confidence in the project because it:

  • Had a clarity of purpose
  • Was innovative and provided a solution to a significant challenge faced by many in the banking industry
  • Was scalable
  • Had a well-respected team leader

Like many start-ups, one of our first challenges was to deliver the product with limited resources.

We achieved this by tightly managing cash and all costs, by attracting talented people using share options rather than big salaries, and by having a financial cushion – which did see us through the downturn of 2008.

What we learnt from our experiences:

Success in technology start-ups requires a great idea, strong leadership, gritty determination, and highly skilled people from the start. Included in this is the need to continually evaluate the management team against the requirements of the next phase.

If you want to grow at speed, it’s also critical to stay on top of your financial management – and this is where you need to work closely with good accountants (in our case CBW, who have been with Coalition throughout).