Having recently spoken at one of our Masterclasses, we decided to dive a bit deeper with David Agar to find out what makes him tick.
A highly experienced leader with over 30 years’ experience, David specialises in helping disruptive tech sector businesses grow and scale.
Having led successful telecoms startups himself, including two acquisitions, David is known as the ‘rainmaker’ who loves to make it happen!
We were therefore excited to talk with David some more and get his perspective on all things scale up sales and ops.
Q. So David, over 30 years in the industry, you must have seen some weird and wonderful things!
A. Indeed, and it’s all summed up in one word...EXPERIENCE! I’ve learned a lot of lessons from having launched 4 startups and led two successful turnarounds.
You could say the good, the bad and the ugly that goes with that! But I’ve also accumulated a huge amount of knowledge that can be applied to almost all scenarios.
Q. What type of business do you normally work with now then?
A. I’ve launched and scaled a number of disruptive tech sector startups - from fintech to payments, to mobile and IoT, in the UK, Europe and North America. My core skills therefore range from setting the vision, right through to developing and implementing scalable and efficient strategies for consistent results and continued growth.
I now apply those skills to early-stage start-ups and overseas companies looking to launch in the UK or EU, as well as post-money businesses that need re-energising.
Q. What are some of the success stories you've had with the businesses you've worked with?
A. Successfully applying for and gaining an FCA license - which is a lot trickier than it sounds! Completing an MVP process within 14 weeks. Several fund raises, and hiring some great people along the way too!
Q. How do you decide whether or not to work with a business?
A. I look first of all at how hungry they are for success, especially the CEO and Exec team.
Then I look at how open the company culture is to change and if they’re adequately resourced in the business.
And finally I question how optimised their solution is in meeting the relevant pain point and if the pain point is a sufficiently large and addressable market.
Q. Which companies in your opinion are managing their ops really well at the moment?
A. Starling Bank, Azimo, Bud & Curve - the customer experience they all offer is really great and creating waves in that industry.
Q. Which UK-based ambitious business do you admire the most and why?
A. There are actually quite a few, but an interesting one is Blenheim Chalcot. They’re an incubator tech VC with a fantastic track record. They provide founders with the relevant support services they need so they can focus on growing their businesses.
Q. What are your thoughts on where the UK ecosystem is at the moment?
A. I'm a firm believer in 'opportunity in adversity'. Every digital business should be looking to see how it can reimagine itself. And by the way, this may not have a different outcome... but it probably will.
Every non-digital business then needs to look at how it can digitise itself in whatever ways it can.
And for both, well, businesses now need to communicate with their employees and customers to better understand each other's needs and to create much stronger relationships.
I also think anything with a social impact or purpose stands a very good chance of really connecting with the new C19-driven caring movement.
Q. Now for some fun… if you could have lunch with someone from any ambitious business (UK or abroad), who would it be and why?
A. Easy - Jeff Bezos. A world-class example of what you can achieve with a determined vision and single-mindedness, yet always looking to create something new.
Q. What’s something that not many people know about you?
A. My family home is a small, working farm in North Yorkshire - the perfect antidote to the tech sector! That, and my favourite hobby is F1.
Thanks David for sharing your insights with us, and for speaking at our recent Fintech masterclass too (which you can read all about over here).
If you’d like to get some more advice from David, then drop us a note on email@example.com and we’ll get the introductions going!