Leeds data services firm has definite formula for success

Anna Sutton and Ed Thewlis.
Anna Sutton and Ed Thewlis.

Meet Anna Sutton and Ed Thewlis, the tech entrepreneurs whose Leeds-based data services company has got all the right numbers.

Set up by Anna and Ed in 2014, The Data Shed collates and analyses data from a wide range of sources to give its clients a better insight into the needs and expectations of their customers.

It has also developed several products, including the Data Refinery – a piece of software that can be used by a company to pull together customer and transactional data for analysis, forecasting and reporting purposes.

The Data Shed provides services to local and international firms, with a series of client wins fuelling a period of rapid recent growth.

And, after its successful start to 2018, it is now preparing to take on another 10 staff at its Mabgate Mills offices.

Speaking about the decision to go it alone four years ago, Anna said: “We took a big risk giving up our jobs with big corporates, especially as I was eight months pregnant at the time, but we knew no one else was providing the service we wanted to develop.

“As two Yorkshire-born entrepreneurs, ourselves the children of entrepreneurs, we’re really proud to be building a fast-growing company, offering interesting roles to skilled digital professionals.

“We’ve grown organically, without having to take outside investment, which allows us to develop the company in the right way alongside our clients.

“Our team work together to help develop each other and share learnings across the business, so no one is pigeon-holed into one skill set.

“By helping staff to develop in their roles and having a flexible working environment, we’ve found that our staff turnover rate is much lower than the industry average. We want to build a company that works for everyone.”

Ed said: “One of our major skills is building up a consolidated view of a person from many sources of data, which is a combination of extensive customer behavioural insight and machine learning.

“In particular, it helps to identify individuals by linking and matching their behaviour, allowing businesses to better serve and manage their customers.

“We use a lot of maths in our work, but we’re really a creative data consultancy that works with our clients to enhance their capabilities.

“We’re also technology agnostic, so we tailor solutions that are best for the client, and use the most appropriate technology.”

The Data Shed’s clients include Yorkshire companies such as Loans At Home, People’s Holdings and Hermes as well as national and international brands like Friends Of The Earth, Qantas and the Tate Gallery.

Jono Gillespie, from Loans At Home, said working with Anna, Ed and their team had revolutionised his company’s management of its customer data.

He added: “Technology is clearly so much more than a job for the team at The Data Shed, it’s a real passion, and I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anybody considering any digital or data projects.”

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The platform aims to highlight the giant strides being made by a sector that boasts around 3,000 organisations in Leeds.