Less than 12 months from successfully exiting a £10M pound business he built from scratch, one Welsh entrepreneur is back on the scene with a new firm.
Jay Ball founded DataKom in 2007 and following its merger with long-standing competitor Pinnacle in December 2019, he exited the business and moved away from the telecoms industry.
Now, one year from selling his stake in the business he built from scratch, he is back with new business Springo; a software firm aimed at helping the hospitality industry bounce back from COVID-19.
Speaking of the new business, Jay said:
“'I’ve always loved tech and creating solutions to help businesses grow.
“Our software starts with getting to know your customers – so with COVID-19 meaning you must know who your customers are – it meant we could quickly side develop a track & trace service that gives an easier alternative to downloading an NHS app.
“Working with so many of my clients within the hospitality sector I saw how so many didn't offer Free WiFi due to the complex regulations needed, technical know-how and most did very little marketing other than social media due to the cost and time it needed to truly get it working.
“I wanted to create something that was low cost and gave every hospitality business an easy way to bring their customers back and find new ones, too.”
Jay concedes that launching a new business in pandemic may be a challenge:
“It is a challenging time to launch when all our customers are only operating at reduced capacity, however, the beauty of our offering is that we have the opportunity to play a huge part in helping our customers grow again.”
When asked about how he feels about starting in a new direction away from telecoms, Jay said:
“I was hungry for change after 13 years of telecoms and you so go through a rollercoaster of emotions of missing the team and the day to day of driving the business.
“I always built DataKom to one day exit – so a lot of everything we did was in place ready to go. However, I learnt a huge amount during the sale and being part of a larger group that it would very much change some aspects of how I run Springo.
“The biggest lesson I learnt about myself was how important being engaged and inspired. I realised I wasn't someone who could work for just financial gain and needed a true mission that I fully believed in.
“The last year has made me realise how important time is and ensuring we enjoy every minute with the people we love and doing what we love as we just don't know what's around the corner.
“It was a huge decision to leave the business I built from scratch for 13 years. I left a well-paid role, gave up future group shares and progression as I realised that I needed more than financial motivation to be engaged.
“I found either I needed to be inspired or inspire a team to be happy in what I do – and growing Springo for a real cause has given me my true passion back.”
When asked about the vision for Spingo, Jay said:
“We want to help UK hospitality businesses bounce back from COVID by using our software, then once we've achieved this we'd love to see Springo working in every country across the world delivering fantastic results.”
Springo uses data to help hospitality businesses grow through easy-to-use technology that automates marketing and customer engagement.
The software assets businesses to adhere to COVID-compliance such as arrival and exit times as well as monitor close-contact for employees.