Company: Five In A Boat
Founder: Jules Herd
Business: A successful brand and communications consultancy.
About Five In A Boat
Five in a Boat (FIAB) was started in April 2018 by Julia Herd, the former Global VP of Communications at both HTC and Deezer. The company was given its name based on Julia’s interest in rowing and her belief that, like a coxed four rowing crew, a business is comprised of individual team members who all have key roles but who must pull together to achieve the shared goal, to beat the competition and to ultimately be successful.
FIAB was started with no investment, no clients and no partners – Julia launched it independently with the belief that her experience, knowledge and drive would turn an unknown entity into a successful brand and communications consultancy. A UK-based agency with international clients across 14 countries, FIAB has a specialist music technology arm but also a wealth of clients across other sectors – all of which are transforming the world with their technology, disrupting their particular industry and forcing people to change behaviour, perception or opinion.
FIAB’s strategy for growth was to quickly identify its competitive advantage. There was a clear link to music technology based on previous experience; this is a sector which is broadly under-serviced by PR consultancies, so this is where the company started. It positioned itself as a technology specialist with music tech at its core and began undertaking detailed research, which involved tapping into the investment community and into high-potential businesses with clear communications and brand needs.
Julia approached CEOs directly with analysis of how FIAB could help them realise their potential and deliver against their growth objectives – be that brand recognition, revenue generation or market share. Clients range from Imogen Heap (a Grammy Award winner responsible for the creation of gestural technology gloves MI.MU and digital identity standard The Creative Passport) and Björn Ulvaeus who is actively pioneering equitable renumeration for songwriters, to music-licencing company Lickd, virtual instruments and sample library company Spitfire Audio, music rights company Session, and many more besides.
Once FIAB had started to build traction in the music tech space, it began approaching other transformative technology companies that aligned with both the experience of the agency and that were securing significant investment. The common thread between these businesses was that they were just at the point where communications could be effectively positioned as a growth strategy rather than as an add-on, an afterthought, or a vanity exercise. This very targeted approached has ultimately resulted in relationships built on trust, repeat work and multiple recommendations. And although music tech remains at FIAB’s heart, it now represents companies in gaming, VR, esports, health tech, sex tech, edutech and fintech.
3.5 years on, FIAB has a staff of 10 (full-time employees and freelance consultants) with additional headcount planned, who are based in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, the company has doubled its revenue year on year and it is still operating as a self-funded business.
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