I am 44 and live in a village just outside of Canterbury on the Kent coast with my wife and 3 year old son – we are soon to become a family of 4 with a baby girl expected in March! We moved from London to Kent almost exactly a year ago and seem to have timed it well with the onset of a global pandemic. Accessing all the green space and coastline does wonders for your sanity when you are cooped up most of the time in your home office!
It has been a struggle to adapt to 100% home working after my first year at B-Secur with 6 international trips to China and the US combined!
Can you tell us more about your professional background and your duties and responsibilities at B-Secur? I moved from IBM, a company of just under 400,000 people, to B-Secur (a company of around 40) almost 2 years ago and have enjoyed the sea change in mentality and approach. It is truly inspiring and empowering to know that you have a key role to play in the destiny and future of a company with a new and emerging technology – something that is very hard to say when you work for a large corporate.
As Commercial Head, I wear a number of hats. As well as engaging directly with end customers looking to integrate our technology (e.g. from SMB to very large Tier 1 OEM wearable companies), I also work closely with our strategic partners.
“Our core business model is to drive growth through silicon and ODM partners that can take a combined solution to the end customer which is pre-validated and integrated, thus reducing development time and improving speed to market.”
This means interacting with a wide range of stakeholders including Heads of Business Units’, Executives, Engineers, Product Managers and of course ensuring a very close relationship with my technical teams to ensure we have good visibility of incoming projects and work on an ongoing basis. As a global business, trying to win and establish accounts in China, Europe and across the US, I am required to manage multiple time zones with different priorities – not an easy task but somehow we manage and have even made huge progress through the pandemic and lockdown which is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of our team.
Northern Ireland’s tech start-up scene has seen significant growth, can you share some insight into the appeal of establishing B-Secur HQ here and the positive impact this has had on the market? Whilst it is in some ways challenging for me being based in England, I can see why we based ourselves in Belfast as there is such a wealth of technical talent to choose from. It is of course where the portable defibrillator was invented! Now that we are scaling up and in our rapid growth phase, we are able to hire and grow our core technical teams from here whilst scaling out sales and distribution in other continents.
We have always been able to hire great talent in Northern Ireland as there is no shortage of it and I hope our success inspires other local tech companies to base their headquarters here and continue to drive what is a thriving market. With the impact of COVID-19 on many other sectors of the economy it’s more important than ever that tech businesses are given the support they need from an investment and grant perspective to allow them to grow.”
B-Secur is partnered with some of the world’s leading semiconductor companies, what is the greatest impact of this partnership? Yes, a key part of our core business strategy from the outset was to ensure we had a deep understanding of the entire signal chain from electrode design, AFE characterisation and configuration and of course ensuring our algorithms work in harmony with all the above.”
We have worked with leading bio-sensing semiconductor companies to ensure that our algorithms have been optimised to perform extremely well even under challenging situations such as user motion or presence of noise. These partnerships are really important from a technical level but also commercially as they help us scale the distribution and sale of our software across different segments and continents through the various commercial models that we have in place.
What is also becoming clear from our engagements with end customers, is that they are increasingly demanding end to end solutions that include hardware and software. It’s vital we are able to make things as simple as possible for the end customer with respect to choosing and designing an integrated bio-sensing solution that doesn’t just meet today’s requirements, but can be future proofed as we move into newer areas such as EDA and analytics.
B-Secur has achieved so much since starting off as a start-up, what has been the most interesting and rewarding part of the journey for you? I joined B-Secur well into the journey but I know how tough things were back in the days when we were a 3 man band trying to develop cutting edge technology that hadn’t yet been seen. We are now in a very different, more mature phase of growth, customer acquisition and revenue generation. For me the most exciting part is seeing our technology out there in products in the market and seeing our presence grow globally.”
Next Time – Part Two In part two of our interview, Alex shares more detail on his personal perspective of the tech industry and predictions for the future, specifically within the wearable market – follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up to date.