Everlution is an independent, London-based software development and web services company that designs and builds web applications. They are also good friends of Hubble! Everlution’s bright, natural meeting rooms and offices have become home to many of our entrepreneurs.
A man with a plan
We met Michael Doyle, co-founder of Everlution and the #1 man to talk to about business development and incubation services for tech startups. Michael has a combination of entrepreneurial and investment banking experience gained over 20 years advising on strategy, capital raising and M&A for a broad range of tech startups and established companies in technology and media. Ready? Let’s have a good look at how to generate creativity and build community within your company from an investors’ point of view!
Michael, we’ve got a serious question. Do you remember the TV series “The Office”?
It’s been 13 years, not exactly a lifetime, yet now we sit on beanbags and play ping pong. What do you think influenced the cultural change?
The internet has changed everything. It’s led to a massive power shift from big companies to startups, and from senior management to small teams. In the tech industry, it’s the smart creatives who have the biggest impact on success, so keeping them happy with beanbags, ping pong and good coffee is paramount.
The internet has changed everything in the office
Did management style change too? Overheads famously kill creativity.
Yes, management style has changed radically. Out went David Brent and in came “agile”. For us, this means teams are empowered to make decisions and interaction is valued. Everlution’s management puts emphasis on communication, not control.
Everlution seems to be a happy place to work. What was your strategy when creating a creative office space? What’s the office routine?
When setting up the office, we wanted it to be first and foremost a place where employees feel at home. If you’re spending long hours here, you need to be comfortable. So it’s function over design, and comfort over style. High ceilings, natural light, free organic fruit and high capacity bandwidth all contribute to a workspace that hopefully inspires.
Entrepreneurs never stop working. Nobody in a startup has a 9 to 5 job. Do you think having 24 hour open coworking spaces is a healthy idea? How do you keep life and work balanced and run a business at the same time?
Creativity isn’t a 9am – 5pm thing. When a eureka moment hits, you want access to your office regardless of the time. It may not be orthodox, but we need this flexibility. And no, it isn’t a balanced lifestyle but if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it’s highly satisfying.
We want everyone to feel at home
The first day at a new office or a coworking space is never easy. Can you share tips on how to leave a good first impression?
To be honest the best impressions have been made by those bearing gifts, usually in the form of cupcakes or cookies. Nothing feeds the soul like a homemade brownie. Second tip is to listen to the vibe of the office before charging in like a bull in a china shop. All offices are different, so it pays to watch, wait, and see what works.
Entrepreneurs are the most unpredictable, free thinking and inspirational people. Yet even when raising lots of investment money, many struggle to scale up their startups into larger businesses. What’s your advice?
Scaling and sustainability are difficult for everyone. And there isn’t much advice that applies across the board. From watching startups I guess I’d say don’t be shy about asking for help. No one thinks you have all the answers. Seek out a mentor, ask your peers, share problems with employees. It’s amazing the insight you get if you open up.
You have over 20 years of experience in investment banking. Having someone like you a few minutes away available every day to chat and ask questions is an invaluable desk space bonus. When you see startups raising investment, what are the first mistakes they make?
Foremost is not thinking big enough. A friend once told me “go big or go home”. OK, this was said in a pub, but the advice still holds. This is particularly true if you plan to raise money from venture capitalists. When talking about your startup’s ambitions, don’t limit yourself.
Thanks Michael! Don’t forget to listen to your friends (even if it’s in a pub over a pint) and dream big—we are here to help you with it!