Interview with Nick Durrant, CEO at Digital Solutions Company: Bluegrass Digital

Bluegrass Digital is a digital solutions company with over 20 years’ experience, that focuses on designing, building and maintaining best-in-class solutions with an emphasis on content management, e-commerce, and mobile applications that are deployed in Azure.

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

The real inspiration came during the early days of the DotCom era in the UK. In 1999 and at 24, I was already in my 4th year working in the City, dreaming of being a banker! However, working for someone else never suited me. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, I soon left, excited by this digital era unfolding and launched Bluegrass from my bedroom in Fulham.

We were all about helping businesses establishing themselves on the web. We focused on building web-based software which included content management and ecommerce websites. It was the days of the Netscape browser, dial-up speeds, Palm Pilots, Yahoo! Search engines, Ask Jeeves and Nokia cellular phones.

My brother had a small IT company of the time where you a jack of all trades, covering hardware, networks, dabbled in some software and basic web development. As Bluegrass Digital was born and it was clear we could develop most of the solutions through our Cape Town business. Essentially we created an outsource business model where we managed the client work through our London office, but development happened from our Cape Town office in South Africa. One forgets, but in those days we dealt with limited internet bandwidth and I could remember it taking hours or most of a day to deploy a large website and database through a ISDN or 128k dial-up connection to a server in the UK!

Much of our initial pipeline of business came through partnering with other digital or web development agencies in London where we could deliver the project for less than their team. Some of these initial relationships really opened the door for us to build our business.

Today, although technologies and processes have evolved, we are still a digital solutions business with software engineering at our heart.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

I think there is a lot of noise today around “start-ups” and their has become an expectation for instant or quick success. It reminds me of those DotCom days that ended up busting for many. Even we lost large amounts of money in 2001 when it all collapsed and our clients disappeared overnight. It provided some of the early lessons around managing your finances. Keep on top of your debtors!

Today, many don’t understand the concept of organic growth or building a profitable business. It is important to cut-out much of the noise that can cloud your judgement. Apply and maintain basic business principles in what you do each day.

To be an entrepreneur is a way of life and although there might be ups and downs, it is also about the adventure. It is not for everyone.

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

As a business that has been around for over 20 years, we have seen much change in our industry. Although we are very much a services business focusing in the software engineering space, we continue to innovate and aim to create some useful products for business which we can scale. A big investment in our UX and UI design capability occurred during 2020 and help us in creating beautiful and useable software for our clients.

Our mission is to help businesses drive growth through insight-led user experience, innovation and technology built to scale.