SyncNorwich: The Brandbank Story
I often find myself describing the structure of tech companies in Norfolk to people. In terms of size we have Aviva at the top, a lower layer of large SMEs such as Validus, Proxama, Virgin Wines and EPoS Now in the middle and then countless micro businesses and smaller SMEs at the bottom. I’ve been aware of Brandbank for a while, but they’ve always been a bit of an enigma to me. It turns out it’s not just me and this is something they’re keen to do something about. It also turns out that with a two hundred strong workforce in Norwich alone, they deserve to be mentioned in the middle layer.
To help raise their profile locally, Brandbank are engaging in a number of local activities with the tech and business communities in Norwich. Their CIO Jeremy Glenn has spoken at the Norfolk Network, the company is a partner sponsor of NorDevCon and on Thursday Jeremy spoke about Brandbank to SyncNorwich at Whitespace. Why do Brandbank want to raise their profile locally? They need more software developers. They need quite a few of them and they need them quickly to help sustain the company’s growth.
The core business of Brandbank is to help retailers get their products online. They’re one of only a few companies who do this and they do it for a lot of large supermarkets as well as thousands of other clients. Following their inception in the late 90s, Brandbank have seen incredible growth in revenue, with very modest profits and only broke even in 2007. Since then they have seen steady growth in profits. In late 2014 they were bought by Nielsen.
Jeremy told us all about his background, how he came to join Brandbank and then how he became a director. He described many of the different things Brandbank has tried over the years, what had worked and what hadn’t and what they learned from it. Jeremy also described the horrific process of preparing to be acquired, the false starts and intensive due diligence.
Although clearly a shrewd businessman, Jeremy clearly doesn’t take himself too seriously. It was interesting to finally find out what Brandbank do and the delivery was entertaining. It will be equally interesting to see how Norwich’s previously best kept secret grows over the coming years.