Tell us about the business – how did it start?
Deazy is a curated marketplace of development talent, a platform to intelligently connect enterprises and agencies with the right dev talent for every engagement, in a cost-effective, scalable and flexible way.
The idea came from a previous start-up, which failed in no small part because of the tech partners we had. I was also working in an innovation consultancy at the time and noticed that enterprises struggled in this area too. I thought that development didn’t need to be as difficult as it appeared to be.
So, I set about creating a model that provided high-quality development teams for enterprises and agencies, at the right price, the right commitment and right engagement models.
How are you different?
There’s a crucial difference between Deazy and other developer marketplaces – they connect businesses with freelance developers, but we work with 50 handpicked tech teams comprising more than 2,500 developers. This gives a far wider skillset and technical expertise, with limitless capacity and flexibility to suit all needs. But because we work with businesses not freelancers, we remain IR35-friendly. This means no nasty financial surprises and with no compromises on the agility and the access to talent that’s so important to customers.
We’re also smart about the way we match projects to teams, from technical and cultural fit to working preferences to ensure the best possible experience for everyone. This matching is built into our platform and something we are constantly improving with more data.
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What challenges have you overcome?
An early challenge we faced was around scaling the team, where founders tend to face two extremes. One is being too controlling and not handing things over, which makes it impossible to scale. The other is handing over too quickly to the wrong people who then destroy any progress and prevent scaling.
My mistake was closer to the latter – I made some poor hiring decisions early on, handed things over too quickly, and ultimately it prevented me from scaling Deazy sooner. I had to get back into the detail, fix the problems, address the hiring mistakes head-on and then learn from them so I could build a great team that would enable us to scale.
What are your plans for growth?
Businesses have long been aware of the need for digital transformation and the pandemic has only accelerated that, with organisations pivoting rapidly to more digital offerings. The skills and expertise required to make this happen have never been more in demand.
For a business like Deazy that means growth. We grew by 2.5x during 2021 and all the signs are that this will continue. In early 2022 we will complete our shift to a platform business. This will serve three key user groups – Deazy employees, our development teams and clients – and will open up significant opportunities for scale in 2022.
But I’m also conscious of the need for the right kind of growth – sustainable and without losing sight of what got us where we are. Maintaining the culture as you grow is one of the biggest challenges a business will face, so we will remain mindful of that.