Our special series about tech businesses founded in 2020 highlights tales of resilience, remote relationships and pivoting. No.7: Tickd
Richard Price has never met three of his five-strong team in person, having recruited for business energy start-up Tickd via video call.
“It’s a strange situation when the whole recruitment process has been done by Microsoft Teams because it’s a big decision offering somebody a job and then there have been all the things humans miss about building a bond with their colleagues,” he says.
“You’re buying into a face on a monitor and having to build trust and get them to understand your mission, which is a unique situation.”
What it has done is opened opportunities by employing from a wider pool of talent geographically. Nottingham-based Tickd aims to help small businesses get a better deal on their energy bills and came from an idea formed in December 2019 by Price, a former utilities sales director, his co-founder.
They believed small businesses were underserved in the energy market, not spending enough to warrant time from an energy broker to get them a better deal.
In February they spoke to focus groups and by April, the business was taking shape and had raised investment.
“It was an interesting time when COVID hit and I was concerned about whether our investors would get nervous, but thankfully they didn’t and it was a case of ‘we’re tech-based so let’s crack on’,” says Price, managing director.
The business launched in September 2020, which was always the plan, but the team had to remain ‘reactive’, Price says, to help them deal with the challenges of the situation.
As well as in recruitment, there has also been challenges in cultivating relationships with suppliers when you are unable to build the same rapport as you would in person.
Where the business would have been promoted at exhibitions, Price says affiliate marketing opportunities – teaming up with business organisations that deal with small businesses – and digital marketing has been effective.
“It’s interesting because it’s a different way of looking at things in terms of building credibility and trust and achieving what we usually do remotely,” he says.