October 12th 2023
Three friends – Toby, Adam and Kane – have known each other for 10 years and met through their careers in cyber security. After helping to build cyber security solutions for BAE Systems and NATO they decided to collaborate on their own idea and enterprise.
Toby Wilmington tells us how he, and his co-founders, are incorporating their knowledge in international cyber security and the world’s largest enterprises with cutting-edge technology as part of a new start-up which secures the Internet of Things (IoT) so industrial and enterprise device manufacturers don’t have to.
After starting the business 12 months ago, the trio joined Exchange’s first cohort at Department Leeds Dock in May. Little did they know, less than six months later, joining this community of like-minded founders would accelerate their start-up from side hustle to full-time job and see them secure pre-seed funding.
“There’s no doubt Exchange has accelerated our journey. There’s never a good time to start a business but after experiencing the programme we knew it was time to take the jump.” said, Toby Wilmington, CEO and co-founder of qomodo.
“Founding a business is full of first-time situations, so being around others who are going through the same thing or have recently just overcome a challenge you’re facing is priceless. Building something together brings everyone closer and brings about a competitiveness to scale sooner.
“We saw other founders innovating and doing cool stuff, which we hadn’t yet done as a business. So, we wanted to reach the same stage as them and exceed it where possible.
“The more time we spent in the same space as other early-stage tech founders we knew we had to take our business more ‘seriously’. While we were putting in the long hours it was still around our day jobs and other commitments. Without the comradery, community and competitiveness to succeed we found at Exchange we wouldn’t have committed to building qomodo full-time.”
The start-up has now created an MVP that will protect industrial and enterprise IoT devices.
The team also found the insights of the scheme’s partners invaluable as they started out.
Toby continued: “Being able to hear things from VC partners, advisors and mentors, helped ratify ideas, act as a sounding board, and prioritise the right things. For example, is there even demand for our product, or when raising money, what is the money actually going to be used for – do we really need it.”
In the next 12 months, qomodo is focusing on its early access users and developing the MVP with organisations that also want to solve this problem and establish its name in the sector.
After being part of the first group of 15 businesses to take part in the scale-up scheme, qomodo has now secured a coveted place on the Techstars’ global accelerator programme, which will fast-track its progress even further and provide funding for its founders to focus on the business full time.
Alice Pickersgill, Head of Exchange, said: “It’s incredible to see what Toby and his co-founders have done in a few short months, using the first cohort of our Leeds programme as a springboard to secure pre-seed funding. What’s more, they have now realised their ambition of building their business full-time and can finally focus on it 100%.
“Building a community that benefits every founder on the scheme is our primary aim, so it’s fantastic to see that the group is already paying dividends straight away. I’ll be watching the trio closely and look forward to them joining our group of illustrious alumni and mentors, in the future.”
Learn more about qomodo via their website here.
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