Award-winning Joe Averill has launched his own consultancy, Vault 23, to help businesses grow. 

The 29-year-old, who won a string of awards during his three-and-a-half years at Manchester-based property company OBI, is focusing on businesses in the finance, tech and property sectors. 

He’s already helped one client Recoup Capital treble its recurring revenue growth in less than four months and has ambitious growth plans of his own for Vault 23. 

Averill, who is also working with the technology platform Gigable, admitted launching his business during the COVID-19 pandemic was a gamble but he had no regrets. 

“Leaving OBI was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in my career so far,” he said. “Will Lewis gave me a big opportunity when I had no real estate experience and, along with Andrew Cowell, was instrumental in my career progression and helping me win a number of awards. 

“However working with entrepreneurs makes you entrepreneurial yourself. My primary role at OBI was to support fast-growth occupiers to deliver their real estate strategy and I identified an opportunity to work with clients and founders to deliver both their route to market and revenue growth strategy. 

“By sitting inside the business I am responsible for both creating the growth strategy and executing it. For example Recoup Capital appointed me as their interim chief revenue officer and have already had a ROI in excess of 900 per cent.” 

Averill said launching his business during the pandemic had presented both challenges and opportunities. 

“I was apprehensive at the beginning,” he admitted. “But I took my proposition to a number of business owners and it’s getting good traction in the marketplace. 

“Because of the rules on social distancing, COVID-19 has meant you’ve just had to network differently and make greater use of virtual meeting platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. 

“If I’m being honest, I’ve quite enjoyed the rest but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t fully recharged now and ready to go again when everything reopens.” 

Averill previously worked for Manchester tech firm AppLearn, before joining OBI in 2016 and being appointed managing director of Studio OBI in 2019, where he won both the MYTA Young Property Professional of the Year and MIMA Business Development Professional of the Year awards. 

Despite COVID-19, Averill said he had seen some optimistic signs of recovery. 

“In the last two weeks I have seen a significant rise in businesses that are looking at Manchester as a city to expand into,” he said. “There are no immediate movements but there are some firms which are beginning to do their due diligence. 

“I think the tech sector is very resilient. I’m working with a tech client called Gigable that connects businesses and freelancers for short-term work through their technology platform.

“It’s particularly focused on Manchester’s quick service restaurant industry as they support firms to simply transition to food delivery at a crucial time and that’s getting a lot of interest.”