A Chat with Leo Rogers, Founder & CEO at Design and Technology Company: Solace

Solace is a design and technology company that works with innovative startups to bring disruptive ideas to market in emerging industries. We have brought large agency talent into the startup ecosystem, enabling us to design user experiences that solve complex global problems in climate, finance and commerce.

We work with passionate founders who are trying to make a substantial impact. Often these are Y-Combinator, Antler or EF-backed, sometimes even Dragons Den with funding in place. They need an acceleration of quality talent and expertise to drive them toward product-market fit. We aim to be a flexible, extension of the team for high-growth startups with our pioneering design-subscription service.

Our mission is to deliver growth to the global economy, change lives in the process and support developing new organisations that solve the problems of tomorrow. Solace works with emerging startups, soon to be in the spotlight, including Tapline (£30m funding, Antler-backed), Yhangry (£1.2m funding, YC, Dragons-Den), ProGrad (£2.5m funding, TechStarstars, Deloitte) GreenNation (NeoBank), Farm21 (£1.2m funding).


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

From launching multiple startups, I noticed first-hand the challenges of ideating, designing and building bespoke software from scratch. From not understanding users to progressing slowly with product development, there was a clear opportunity to provide speed, scale and quality to pioneering organisations.

Solace offers specialist capabilities to help startups get to product-market fit 10x faster by deploying a team of world-class designers and developers in less than 24 hours. Only Solace offers the design savvy of large-scale agencies, the technical precision of a software company, and the efficacy of a startup.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

Solace launched at the inception of COVID. I left Bath Spa University halls at 18, returning to my bedroom at my father’s house and leaving everything behind. I decided to drop out to pursue my passion for building a design business. In year 1, I spent countless hours self-educating on how to operate the challenging agency model through taking courses, reading and speaking to mentors who had already been on the journey.

In the early days, I did all the design work, managed the projects, did B2B sales to prospective clients and coordinated the finances. Equipped with Zoom, persistence and hustle, I onboarded early clients who saw the vision, enabling me to build credibility in space. Road bumps included losing over 100 sales deals, having equity-based employees leave the company and nearly going bankrupt twice. In the first 18 months, Solace grew from 1 – 10 people then to 25 in 2023.

As of today, Solace has developed apps that have reached 25m people +, hired the top 1% of talent in strategy, design and development and delivered over 50 applications. Startups have gone on to raise £30m+ from our design work and scale their venture to the next level.

What can we hope to see from Solace in the future?

Solace is developing a DesignOps platform to revolutionise the way clients and designers interact, bringing scalable design resources to some of the largest enterprise organisations. Global expansion is on the horizon with plans to open an office in New York and tap into the market potential of the United States.