Two former Huddersfield University students who set up their own software development business are celebrating after seeing turnover more than treble in the last year alone.
Torchbearer, set up by Peter Waugh and Jon Langley, has had to move twice since it was set up in 2016 to keep up with demand, and is now looking to take on more staff.
The business was set up after the pair received funding from Huddersfield University’s Enterprise Placement Scheme and specialises in mobile app design, website development and game development, working with a range of clients in Yorkshire and beyond.
Torchbearer was initially based at 3M Buckley Innovation Centre but wanted to move to a larger premises to meet their growth plans. The company moved to Huddersfield Media Centre after receiving grant funding from AD:VENTURE, a business support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered in partnership with local authorities including Kirklees Council.
After their move, Torchbearer grew so quickly that they soon realised they needed their own bespoke office. Thanks to further growth funding, they were able to adapt their new home on Old Leeds Road to suit their needs. In total, £8700 of funding has been granted to the company.
Since their latest move, Torchbearer’s growth has accelerated hugely. As well as their crop of local clients, they work for a leisure holiday firm and have recently started working with a Hong Kong bank. Director Peter Waugh said: “We were operating at around 60 per cent growth, but in the last year that has shot up to 480 per cent.”
The company is now looking to create two new jobs to add to its five-strong team. An office administrator is required to deal with day-to-day operations, and another software developer will be recruited later in the year as the company expands its current crop of clients.
Peter added: “It’s not just the grant funding we’ve taken advantage of – pretty much every resource we can access through the AD:VENTURE programme has been utilised and it’s been great all the way through. As we’ve gone along, we’ve always had a new problem to tackle, but their advisors have always been there with the right advice of how we can solve it.
“Since starting the business we’ve always believed it’s really important to listen to what other people are saying to us. We have a vision for where we want the business to go, but we don’t necessarily have a clear idea of how we can get there.”
Cllr Peter McBride, Cabinet Member for Regeneration at Kirklees Council, said: “Torchbearer are a fantastic example of how business support programmes can be instrumental in giving exciting local businesses the tools they need to grow, which in turn creates jobs and prosperity for the region. We are delighted to be a partner in the AD:VENTURE programme and are looking forward to helping many more small businesses like Torchbearer to reach their full potential.”