Continue to thrive

Thrive is an app
that aims for a better way to engage teams…and as their website says ‘will give you support as well as the technology to ensure your employee communications are engaging, informing and inspiring’.

Top Business Tech exclusively interviewed James Scott, founder of Thrive.App. Read on to find out more about his founder journey.

Could you tell TBT about your company and what you’re striving to achieve?

Did you know that over 50% of global workforce have no corporate email – that’s over 2.7 billion people! Staff who struggle to know what’s happening or how their work is connected to their organisation’s mission often become disengaged, demotivated and inefficient. High absenteeism & turnover as well as lower performance follows. 

It’s our mission at Thrive.App is to touch and improve the working lives of millions of people working in remote, dispersed and hard to reach roles through a secure, engaging mobile employee app on their own smartphones. We’re helping our clients build great places to work through providing a ridiculously easy to use, efficient platform that is improving how they share important information and communicate with EVERY employee, no matter their location or job role.  

Who are you…and what is your story as a Founder at Thrive?

I am a family man with three wonderful children, a dog and a few chickens. I was raised in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, studied at Wallace High then moved on to study Computer Science at Queen’s University Belfast. When I left Queen’s, I travelled back and forth to Silicon Valley, being fortunate enough to work with some very bright people.

I’ve worked in mobile tech for over 20 years and always enjoyed seeing the benefits to people whether that was text messaging in the nineties through to the early days of the mobile internet and the of course the iPhone’s arrival changed everything and the last decade of transformation where the humble app has become the interface to almost every aspect of our lives from social media to banking to dating – no aspect of our daily life is untouched by apps. It’s an incredibly fast-moving sector and there’s always something new to learn about which keeps it interesting.

What are the biggest obstacles?

Hands down, recruitment. There is a shortage of tech skills around the world so attracting and retaining top talent is a constant challenge.  Everyone company is upping its game to offer the best working environment, great benefits and perks.  I’m noticing the biggest differentiating factor is the actual mission or purpose of the company – does this resonate with recruits – is it something they would be proud to say they are part of?

What’s most exciting about your traction to date?

It’s a really exciting time to work in the tech sector anywhere – the advances we have made over the last 20 years compared to the previous decades are pretty mind blowing when you pause to think. The fact that 90%+ of the population are carrying such a sophisticated device in their pocket and using it for so much of their daily lives is a massive shift.

Working in the employee engagement space particularly at this time is really exciting. I can confidently say the Thrive App is really helping organisations manage their way through the effects of Covid-19 with more certainty for their employees. I have had feedback from clients saying that they were grateful to have had their app in place when the pandemic hit as it became their main source of information sharing and communicating with employees. One of the positive impacts of Covid-19 is the real shift in focus towards the importance of front-line employees, their well-being and support structure and I am truly excited that we can be part of this shift.

How are you measuring success?

Like any SaaS business we watch a range of key metrics on a regular basis from conversion rates on our website through to Annual Recurring Revenue and of course Churn. Whilst these are all important, I believe the stories behind the numbers are much more important to grasp.  My key metric is the number of referrals we from existing clients. I’m a great believer that people will naturally & openly tell their colleagues, friends and family about a great product or service. If you aren’t getting referrals you need to dig into why and fix that – it’s the heart of your business growth!

What’s the plan to adapt if need be?

We have always geared our business to serve a wide range of industries to make it as resilient as possible and give ourselves the maximum opportunity for growth. Whilst I guess this is not always possible depending on your focus, but with the rapidly accelerating rate of change and disruption the world is seeing, it’s definitely a matter of when, not if disruption comes to any sector and you need to be prepared.

Do you see yourself as underdog?

I think underdog is rapidly becoming an out-of-date mindset. We live in an age of advanced mature platforms that enable even the smallest of teams to bring amazing products to market. SaaS was a major catalyst and a great leveller – you can service major clients anywhere in the world from anywhere in the world. Clients care about how good your solution is to their challenge, how you support them remotely, your rate of innovation and of course the cost/benefit ratio compared to others. There’s no need to see yourself as an underdog – small, specialist, agile teams are to be feared!

How much sleep do you tend to get?

Earlier in my career I would regularly burn the candle at both ends and burnout. It took me a while, but I eventually realised it’s a marathon and not a sprint and a good routine going to bed and getting up at the same time is key to feeling good and in turn making good decisions. I wake early and walk our dog for a few miles each morning around a nearby forest park. It allows me to clear my head and gather my thoughts for the day ahead. At night time it’s key to get some time away from the screens in preparation for sleep!

How do you manage duality?

Surround yourself with great people and try to stay the hell out of their way’ as someone famous once said! A great team is key of course to managing all the different aspects of a growing business. As a founder I think your role naturally evolves into one of ensuring the team are aligned to the overall mission so they are all pulling in the same direction and ensuring communication continues to flow freely around the business.

What are your goals?

We have big plans to grow our team and customer base. We want to more than double our current customer list, whilst ensuring our current customers are delighted with our platform and service. Our roadmap is based on client’s and their employee’s feedback.  The main goal is to continue to delight our customers at every interaction they have with us while building a great place to work for everyone.

Who are your mentors?

I think it’s hard not to be impressed by the often “out of this world” achievements of Bezos and Musk over the last 10 years but I also like to study and learn from a wide range of inspiring people including Richard Branson who’s views on employee’s being the key to your business success resonate strongly with me. At Virgin, clients do not come first, employees do. If you look after your employees they will look after clients for you.  That’s a mantra I strive for in both our own company and to help our clients implement.

Learn more about James and Thrive here:

Bekki Barnes

With 5 years’ experience in marketing, Bekki has knowledge in both B2B and B2C marketing. Bekki has worked with a wide range of brands, including local and national organisations.

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