136 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6PX
1st September 2017 | 3 min read
There’s been a bit of a buzz going around LABS and it’s all down to Symphony! This month, they succeeded in gaining a Series A funding round of £3.5 million, resulting the first LABS Success Story.
Symphony are leaders of the ‘Future of Work’ charge by digitally transforming some of the world’s biggest organizations. They offer consulting, implementation and management of the latest Robotic Process Automation, Cognitive, Artificial Intelligence, and innovative resourcing solutions.
We sat down with Symphony’s CEO, David Poole, to get his insights on growing a business and how he and the team achieved success.
Huge congrats on your success story! Let’s start with when Symphony was created and how you got to this point.
Four of us who had worked together previously all saw the same opportunity, and within a short time, Symphony was born in 2014. We were able to source a strong leadership team through our combined network and connections and since then have been steadily growing – what was 4 is now 140!
What challenges have you had to overcome along the road?
We did hit, what they call, ‘The Desert’ in the early stages. For those who don’t know, it’s when you’re worried about making payroll. This period can be long and gruelling, but managing our cash well was vital to how we got out. Founders often have to put money back into a company to help keep it afloat, and when you can afford to grow bigger, hiring the right people is essential.
You’ve got sites in London, Boston, Dallas, and Poland – how do you sustain sound communication and collaboration across the company?
Collaboration tools such as Yammer and Skype For Business aid us on a practical level. On a more personal level, our team are a sociable bunch, so they communicate with each other naturally. Physically all coming together as a team becomes harder with more locations, but we try to do it at least once a year. The team in London actually organise activities themselves which is funded by the company – they always work well and it’s a sign that they want to spend time together.
What impact does your workplace have on the company?
When looking at LABS, we wanted somewhere stylish, technology-driven (being a tech company ourselves), also somewhere with flexibility and a variety of spaces. I’ve found serviced offices are a bigger money saver rather than renting your own – coffee, printing, wi-fi etc all for no extra cost. Physical space drives the culture that you want in your business and it has a big impact on productivity. A change of scenery, breakout areas and stylish surroundings allow us to show clients around, making us look professional.
What advice would you give to founders starting their own business?
Cash is the most important thing you can manage, businesses fail not due to lack of profit, but lack of cash flow. Cash is King! Recruit the right people; at Symphony, most people are in their 20’s and some were brought in as fresh graduates. Obviously, we know they’re bright, but we also look for personality. We want honest, passionate, and sociable people who will fit right into the team. Lastly, networking and continuously increasing your connections will do nothing but benefit the growth of your business.
What’s next for Symphony?
We’re continuing to grow geographically, focus on acquisition-based activities and just digest the growth so far. We’ve also got a very exciting project called Symphony Labs (aptly named having just moved into LABS!) which showcases us as advisory AI experts to clients in a practical way.
From us at LABS, a huge congrats to David and the Symphony team for their successful Series A funding round – as the first LABS tenants – we couldn’t be more thrilled!
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