Listen to his podcast to find out how, and read this article to learn more about his journey.
Briefly, tell us how your journey took where you are right now
As a technologist I have always been obsessed by the potential of technology to enhance our lives. Another obsession of mine is the constant drive to create solutions, teams and products. All of which have common attributes in that they require a vision and the ability to solve problems. Building a high-functioning team, for example, is like a dynamic puzzle. The profile of the next person you recruit is refined (and sometimes redefined) by the previous one. It’s a similar situation with solutions. Everything we learn during the creation of a component has the potential to inform what happens next. In summary, my career can probably be categorised as a creative engineer.
What was your aha moment which led you to create Double Eye?
I wish I could say that Double Eye was the result of a grand vision but, as with a number of my startups, it was more opportunistic and circumstantial. I had just come to the end of a 6 year stint of creating two start-ups (Virgin Net and Citria). Invigorated and tired and with two young children, I was at a point of re-evaluating my priorities in life. I decided to take some time out and spend time with my children. However, I was receiving calls from VCs to do some venture consulting and due diligence. The genesis of Double Eye was merely my vehicle with which to do consulting.
By the way, the name Double Eye came from Cat, my assistant at Citria, who used to call me that. Before too long I was getting calls to do digital transformation projects. The first being the London Tourist Board re-inventing itself as Visit London. It was then I started to build a team and a real business. Fast forward 15 years and Double Eye has delivered projects for some amazing clients including The O2, RSC and New York City and has a development team in Cape Town.
What has been your biggest lesson learnt from growing Double Eye?
A lesson from earlier in my career than Double Eye – people! Find and work with the best, brightest and people who fit into the team. When you have the level of mutual trust in the team, capable people and everyone pulling together the same direction, you have the constant feeling that anything is possible.
Tell me about your customer acquisition systems?
Not really applicable because Double Eye is B2B. Most of our customer acquisition is word of mouth or referrals. However, in Cape Town we have recently brought in a local media personality who has an amazing local network and will expand our reach.
What do you wish more people knew about growing their tech company?
If you want to grow your tech company from zero to 100,000, you should always focus on the value proposition. If you are delivering genuine value and/or utility to your customers you are already halfway there. Technology is just the tool. Resist the urge to over-engineer, it just has to be good enough!
Thinking about your legacy, how do you want to be remembered?
A resilient problem solver who loves working with people more than technology 😉
About the speaker
With a degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Distributed Computer Control systems, Ivan has had a varied career spanning hardware and software development, telecoms, and has spent the last 25 years working on Internet-based businesses and solutions.
Ivan’s entrepreneurial adventures started in 1995 with the founding of Virgin Net, the first consumer ISP in the UK and now part of Virgin Media. Since then, as well as creating a number of other companies, he has worked as Business & Technical Leader and Advisor across a range of sectors – from early stage to established businesses
Ivan has also developed a reputation as a “technology firefighter” and is often called upon when technology projects and/or organisations go wrong.
In the last couple of years he has started to focus on investing his energy in the green economy and activities which help tackle the climate crisis.