Meet the London tech firm that grew by 300% last year

Launching, growing fast and taking on the multinationals – London Loves Business meets Rebel Minds founder and CEO Jonathan Fren

Jonathan Fren

Jonathan Fren, founder and CEO, Rebel Minds

Software start-up Rebel Minds was founded in 2012 and has already recorded rapid growth alongside an impressive track record winning contracts against major competitors including IBM and Deloitte.

London Loves Business spoke to founder and CEO Jonathan Fren to find out how the company has attracted and retained top talent in the competitive tech sector, what early mistakes the team had to learn from, and why fostering a culture of communication has been the key to success.

Company: Rebel Minds

What it does, in a sentence: Rebel Minds is a high-end digital product company that helps innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups and Fortune 500 companies build awesome apps, products and services. 

Turnover:  £780k

Growth: Around 230% from 2013 to 2014, and 300% last year (by revenue)

Founded: London, 2012

Size of team: 14 in London

 

How quickly has your business grown?

Revenue-wise, we grew around 230% from 2013 to 2014, and 300% last year.

What’s been key to that?

Hiring a brilliant team, making great things, and hustling. We’re in a very contact-driven industry, surrounded by lots of big, and lots of incumbent, players. We win projects against companies like IBM, Deloitte, WPP, SAS, etc. and although we’re a start-up, we are geared towards the more high-end end of the market. 

What metrics do you look at every day?

We don’t really have metrics that are changing daily. The things I’m constantly looking at though are my email, our sales pipeline and our hiring platform.

What do you consider your greatest success in business?

Starting.

And your biggest mistake?

Wow. Loads. Probably taking too long to launch something. I think it’s important to launch things quickly and iteratively and not spend a year building something with a big bang release.

What’s the most important management lesson you’ve learnt?

Let people know where they stand, whether that’s the team, clients, suppliers or partners. I used to delay bad news or sweeten it because I thought it was the nice thing to do. But it’s never the right thing to do. Oh and communication. Communicate communicate communicate. And re-communicate. 

How quickly has your team grown, and how have you attracted great talent?

We’ve grown from 4 last Jan to 16 now. We stay attractive by curating the projects we take on (we reject lots of work) as well as our team (we only hire amazing people), and by providing a flexible raw creative environment; no office hours, unlimited vacations, etc.

What’s the most valuable insight you’ve gained into your market or industry?

There are loads of companies making really cool digital products for other companies, with truly great design and engineering; but it’s a minority. There a lot of companies with fancy design but almost no engineering, or vice-versa. But the ability to put together a full, sexy, powerful digital product is in the minority of digital product companies. 

What do you think are the most significant developments or changes on the horizon for your industry?

I think enterprises are finally becoming more comfortable with, and seeing the benefits of, working with smaller technology and creative companies to innovate away from their stale legacy systems. The state of software in enterprise is getting much better, but it’s still shocking what we see. Enterprise technology will become much more componentized, open and portable. It’s a bring-your-own-device do-it-yourself mobile generation.

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