The Entrepreneur: Sean Hoban, Kimble Applications

The software mogul offers up some insights into running a million-pound business, on the job learning and the importance of a great team...

Co-founder: Sean Hoban
Company name: Kimble Applications Limited
Website: www.kimbleapps.com
Description: Kimble is a professional services automation (PSA) e solution which streamlines business processes, drives cost efficiency and delivers the engine for business growth.
Turnover:£3m
12 month target:£4.5m

Describe your business model and what makes your business unique:

  • Kimble is a high growth company, exploiting business insight to deliver innovative SaaS solutions which enable ambitious professional services organisations to achieve outstanding success
  • We are dedicated to PSA.
  • We focus on customer success and we grow when our customers grow.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Having over 100 customers and 15,000 users subscribed.

What numbers do you look at every day in your business?

Monthly recurring revenue (actuals and forecast) and cash flow.

To what extent does your business trade internationally and what are your plans?

We have customers in 10 countries, and have offices in London, and the US – Phoenix, Park City and Boston.

Describe your growth funding path:

Initial round in 2010 for £900,000 – angels

Second angel round in May 2013 for £600,000

Third round, venture capital and angels in January 2015 for £1.2m

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

The Salesforce Force.com platform.

Where would you like your business to be in three years?

Annualised revenues in excess of £10m, established offices in 4 regions in US and reseller partners in DACH and Asiapac.

Growth challenges

What is the hardest thing you have ever done in business?

Starting up a software company.

What was your biggest business mistake?

Not starting up a software business like Kimble sooner!

Piece of Red Tape that hampers growth most:

I don’t think there is really red tape that hampers growth. Assuming there is access to cash, then growth should be controllable.

What is the most common serious mistake you see entrepreneurs make?

Lack of focus and unrealistic planning.

How will your market look in three years?

I think the PSA market will have matured and some consolidation will have taken place amongst software vendors. PSA will become a mandatory business tool for all professional services organisations.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a less experienced entrepreneur?

However hard you think it will be, realise it will be twice as hard as that and will require huge commitment and dedication from a team of people. So, make sure you have a great team.

Personal growth

Biggest luxury:

Some me time!

Executive education or learn it on the job?

On the job every time – learning by mistakes and success sticks more.

What would make you a better leader?

Spending more time with people in the organisation. Communication is the root of all problems and also success.

Business book:

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.

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