5 SME Tech companies growing aggressively in London

With London now widely reported as the fastest growing tech hub in Europe and only 2nd behind Silicon Valley when it comes to presence in the industry it proving a perfect platform for SME’s to grow their talent pool and capability. We profile the 10 fastest growing by talent growth with less than 200 current employees:


Thought Machine

Thought Machine

Thought Machine are a leading fintech with a primary solution names ‘Vault’. This is a complete retail banking platform that is capable of being configured to suit the needs of any bank. They have increased their headcount by 57% in just 6 months, now having approximately 127 employees. Key areas of focus have been an increase in their software engineering and sales capability. 


Paddle’s logo


Paddle provides developers and software companies with a checkout and licensing solution to sell their products. They grew their headcount by 118% in 2018 and now stand at 144 employees. Their sales function grew by 167%!


Signal AI

Signal AI

Signal AI is a media monitoring, reputation management, regulatory compliance and market intelligence platform powered by artificial intelligence. They enjoyed 67% headcount growth in 2018. Notably support functions such as Marketing, HR and Finance grew as they start to embed a long term infrastructure to support a large company. They have increased their Sales team by 82% in the last 6 months as they adopt an aggressive go to market strategy. 


Kimble Applications

Kimble Applications

Kimble is a professional services automation (PSA) solution which streamlines business processes, drives cost efficiencies and delivers the engine for business growth. Their 61% growth in headcount last year saw a 157% increase in their sales department and 130% growth in their tech and engineering capability as they accelerate development and sales proposition. 


Gismart’s logo


Gismart develops music entertainment apps and games for mobile. They have grown by 61% in just 6 months. More than doubling their capability and presence in Sales, Tech and Engineering. The Marketing function grew 150% in 2018 as the company develops a sophisticated sales strategy. 


These are just 5 of many Tech focused businesses making significant progress in the industry and doing so from the UK capital. Martin & Conley works with a significant number of fast growth businesses in the sector supporting them in the growth of both their Sales and Tech capability. If you are a candidate or hirer in this area and want to discuss partnering with us please feel free to get in touch via info@martinandconley.com or call 0203 598 2700.

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Current key challenges to consider in Software Development right now

As globalisation continues to expand, there are obstacles that can limit the success of general business operations. For companies to progress they need to figure out and address the challenges. 

Language Barrier 

A leading challenge facing software companies is language barrier. Text within the software needs to be translated correctly for the intended users. Incorrect software can cause the user to have difficulty navigating through the software. This can lead to an inadequate user experience. 

However, to solve this, a lot of software companies partner up with agencies that adapt the product in each of the target languages required. Regardless of what the companies operating platform is, the agency will ensure that the software is translated correctly. This will cause the users to be more satisfied and proficient in using the company’s product. 


When a company becomes global, some of the projects may be completed in other countries. This can be seen as beneficial because it lowers costs for the development of the software, but it can also cause an increase in costs or cause delays when completing a project. It can also be a challenge to budget effectively because of the currency exchange rate. 

However, the simple solution to this is proper budgeting. If the company sets a price in pounds sterling (for instance), and they pay at that set price then it should be fine. Do not let the currency exchange rate increase the price. 


Just like costs, pricing is also a challenge facing software development. Prices vary between different countries and this is due to the value of money in one country compared to another. Therefore, pricing a product for another country can be a challenge. 

In order to solve this problem, companies can either accept a lower valuation or risk not selling any products in that country. 

Global Functionality 

When creating programs that rely on local knowledge of systems, the company creates a software package that requires a great deal of functionality. Each country has different systems and legal requirements so, several versions of software need to be made or one that can do all. 

One of the possible solutions would be to create one software that does it all because creating several can be a problem. Firstly, it creates a lot more work which creates problems with updates and maintenance. 

There are several challenges, but it is important to remember that for every problem there is a solution. Companies just have to develop plans that will counter all the foreseeable challenges.

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Are We Facing a Talent Crisis in Software Development? 

As just about every industry trades in its traditional means of business for a digitalised model, the need for those who can understand, implement and develop modern business is growing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the amount of those ready to offer this already over-subscribed talent is already completely surpassed by the quantity needed, causing the talent crisis in software development that many of us are already familiar with.

But just how much of a problem really is? 

According to research released by ComputerWeekly in August, only 11% of employers are not expecting a shortage of skilled technology professionals over the following year. Furthermore, a study by recruitment firm Robert Walters in partnership with Jobsite and Totaljobs backs this up further, finding that a majority of firms think the next year will see moderate to severe shortages of technology talent. 

Beyond that, according to HR Dive last year, the effect of this talent crisis can be expensive too, with a “new report from market research firm Forrester [predicting] that those employers that lag behind in attracting critical digital talent will wind up paying up to 20% above market salary rates for new hires with particularly in-demand skills — a group that includes data scientists, high-end software developers and information security analysts”.

What does this issue come down to?

Firstly, this problem is largely linked to the hiring of junior talent, or lack thereof.  According to director of Robert Walters Manchester, Ahsan Iqbal, in conversation with ComputerWeekly, despite the “unprecedented growth” in the technology industry of the past few years (including more skilled entrants into the field), firms are not hiring as much junior talent because of the 2008 financial crisis. 

“Junior-level hiring dropped significantly during the recession, and this has created a skills bottleneck at the mid-level today, with an insufficient number of professionals and the required experience available to meet demand”. 

Moreover, the most sought-out skills are specialised, meaning that employers are actively seeking individuals already trained in cyber security, business intelligence and data-related roles, as well as software development. Roles in this area generally require certain level of skill, meaning that skill shortage is felt most at mid-management level. Furthermore, even if we turn directly to the hiring of junior level talent, 36% of employers expect a “struggle” even in the recruiting of junior technology specialists. 

Additionally, as we look to the new year, it seems the situation won’t necessarily get any easier, with the influence of Brexit creating uncertainty across all industries and prompting us to question whether the UK’s tech talent pipeline can match industry needs after Brexit.

What can be done to face this issue? 

According to Ahsan Iqbal, firms should think about how they plan to attract and importantly, retain technology talent using competitive salaries, flexible working and more interesting projects. In terms of finding professionals with the requisite skill set, “employers may also want to consider attracting candidates who are willing to relocate, both in the UK and internationally. Engaging with international recruitment agencies can give hiring managers access to talent from around the globe”. However, with the UK’s current rules regarding the acquisition of skilled workers entering the region already causing an issue, the addition of Brexit may make this even more difficult. 

In spite of this, director of Totaljobs, Martin Talbot, maintains that the best way to find workers with the right talent for your business is train them up in the job. Talbot suggests that firms should focus on other skills that the candidates may have in the hiring process, including “project and programme management, as well as strong interpersonal skills”. Furthermore, businesses can offer education incentives to new talent who require additional, formal training. 

All in all, it seems that the only way to face this problem is to hire flexibly, younger and be willing to nurture and develop roles within in the business. After all, this is a talent that is only going to get more sought-after in an evermore difficult business environment. 

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