A Chat with Charlie Hoult, Co-Founder at Independent Technology Consultancy: Opencast

Opencast is a fast-growing, independent technology consultancy working at the heart of government, global finance and growth enterprise. We specialise in designing, building and running user-centred digital and technology solutions with purpose.

Working for government – including our biggest clients HMRC and DWP – we’re developing services that support critical national infrastructure, aid Covid recovery, and help millions of citizens through tax, benefit and support services.

Across the green energy sector, we’ve developed solutions to enable the country’s largest electric vehicle charging provider to expand UK wide, and in healthcare we’re developing solutions that enable more people to access GP services remotely.

2022 marks Opencast’s 10th anniversary – and has been busier than ever for all of us.


What do you think makes this company unique?

Mike O’Brien and I founded Opencast with a vision for a new kind of tech consultancy – a modern, forward-thinking and independent alternative to the traditional corporate model. We have always tried to do things differently at Opencast – to work hard and be nice to people.

We bootstrapped the business and have built it on the back of revenues from client work. Today Opencast has over 300 permanent staff and operates a hybrid working model from four bases UK wide. We have over 25 nationalities on the team.

We are absolutely determined that growth won’t be at the expense of our people-first culture. With an increasingly UK-wide workforce, our people come together quarterly for work, connection and no shortage of fun.

I hope that what we’ve achieved shows what can be done with the right approach.


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

Opencast has scaled rapidly in the past couple of years, with big increases in both financial performance and people numbers that exceed our expectations of even a year ago.

Our growth strategy had anticipated us employing 300 people by 2025 – but we are already well ahead of that objective.

Alongside the rise in our revenue and people numbers, we have made an investment in our infrastructure to accommodate our growth, committing over £1m to our new HQ, as well as in investing in new office ‘hubs’ – in London, Leeds and Edinburgh. All use a ‘right place, right time’ hybrid model developed with our people.

Looking after our people remains a top priority – and new structures in place enable this. ‘People experience partners’ offer pastoral support, and a competency framework sets career goals.

To give everyone a stake in our success, a new share options scheme is seeing our co-founders give away a third of their shares to all of our people.

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

We’ll continue on our rapid growth trajectory. By the end of 2022 we will more than double our people numbers year on year – with revenues beyond the £30m projected previously.

We’ll add to the three city hubs that opened in 2022 with more locations UK-wide.

After building our user-centred design and software capabilities, we’re broadening offerings in technical architecture and establishing data as a capability. Responding to our people, we’re pursuing new client work in healthcare, green energy and fintech.

We’ll continue to promote diversity and inclusion, as Stonewall Diversity Champions, signatories to the Tech Talent Charter and backers of Pride events.

We’ll grow our £100,000+ charitable giving programme, through a 2.5% profits donation and will boost our commitment to the ex-services community. And we’ll continue to deliver positive social impact internally and in our client and community work.