The CEO of Elland-based Vapour Media says providing a personal service their bigger competitors can’t has been the key to its rapid growth.
Tim Mercer, who was born in Illingworth, founded the company with Dominic Waterson and Jason Sharp after securing funding from Finance Yorkshire.
Vapour is a cloud services provider, specialising in data and voice platform services.
Explaining how the business came about, Tim said: “I’m an ex-Halifax boy from a council estate. I joined the armed forces when I was 16 and did two tours of Ireland and served in the first Gulf War.
“When I came out of the forces, I worked for Telewest, which is now Virgin Media and sold data networks and platforms.
“Me and Dom then went into business together and put together a Dragon’s Den style pitch to Finance Yorkshire, who invested in us on the proviso we brought in a finance director, who was Jason.
“Since then we’ve gone from strength to strength.”
The company will be four-years-old on July 1, and now employs 30 staff after starting with only three.
Among their clients are Egton, part of the Emis group, who look after the data at 6,000 doctors’ surgeries in the UK, and the Pure Technology Group, also from Leeds, with whom Vapour have agreed £2m of business in the last six months.
“We always knew we would grow quickly once we built the correct networks,” said Tim.
“The tier one companies, such as BT and Virgin, are too big to provide the customer service we do.
“Every client we have has my personal mobile number and know they can ring me anytime - and they usually do!
“Customers want someone to sit down with them and work alongside them
“Back-up and storage is a rapidly growing part of our business. It’s only 10 per cent of what we do at the moment but after what happened with the NHS and British Airways recently, clients want to know where their data is, is it secure and does the company looking after it comply with all the regulations, and we do.”
On what the future could hold for his business, Tim added: “There is definitely room for growth. We want to be a £20m turnover business in the next three years, and we should be able to do that.
“We’ll need more staff for that but we can accommodate that where we are now.
“We’ve always been able to offer that consultative advice to our customers and keeping that level of interaction is imperative. We don’t want to lose that customer focus but we do want to grow.”