We chat to Andy Gent, founder and CEO of telecommunications fraud detection and elimination business, Revector. He talks about how he came up with the idea fro the business in Afghanistan and how he runs a global business.
Please explain who you are, what your business is, and what it does/aims to achieve?
Revector provides products and services that enable telecommunications companies to quickly and effectively counter fraud. In 2015 the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA) estimated that mobile network operators lost more than $38 billion to fraud and revenue loss. Recently a new threat to revenue management has occurred from OTT apps. These OTT apps have struggled to monetise the often free calling they promote handset to handset. Some have recognised the opportunity to route plain ordinary telephone calls to handsets within their app. Revector’s OTT detection and elimination service is the only fully tested and proven OTT detection and elimination service on the market.
What time does your day usually start and end?
It is important to maintain a work life balance; I try to work sensible hours but Revector works with businesses across the globe. Taking a call at 4’ o’clock in the morning and 10 o’clock at night is not unusual to fit with the working day in Asia or Latin America. When I am not travelling for business, I start the morning by taking the dog for a walk to kick start the day with some fresh air!
What is your favourite part of your job and what is your least favourite part?
I get a thrill out of developing solutions to track down lost revenues and eliminate fraud – some might call me the fraud hunter! Throughout my career I have thrived at the leading edge of technology. In Revector’s business, fraudsters are always one step ahead so the need to constantly design and develop new counter measures keeps us on our toes and keeps the job exciting.
I can honestly say there is not one part of the job I do not enjoy. The threat of fraud costs businesses billions of pounds a year, playing a role in highlighting these issues, which are so often overlooked, is a challenge but rewarding.
What inspired you to start your business? (And what made you want to be your own boss?)
I have always been an entrepreneur, even in corporate life as CEO of a number of global telecommunications businesses. During this time, fraud became a daily concern – it was evident that something needed to be done to limit the threat of fraudulent activity. I needed a change from the daily grind of corporate life so when I found myself in between roles I took the opportunity to seize the moment and Revector was born.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I was in Afghanistan on a consultancy project when I first came up with the idea to build a solution that could detect and eliminate fraud. Like so many start-ups, I built the prototype in a garage and worked with a major operator for six months free of charge to prove the solution.
What has been the biggest challenge for your business?
Being a fairly small organisation, the biggest challenge has been competing with larger businesses that have been in the industry for years. Many of these are funded to buy business for long term growth at an initial loss. Having said that, Revector has customers in more than 100 countries across the globe, with proven success, even a small team can tackle fraud.
What do you feel are the biggest obstacles to growth for SMEs in the UK?
In Revector’s case, we have been providing solutions to more than 100 countries worldwide – we have established a focused target market. This does not ring true with all overseas SME’s; the biggest obstacle is often identifying the market in the first place.
Have you made any mistakes along the way and how did you overcome them/learn from them?
Yes, I have made many mistakes, I do not think I can name one entrepreneur that has not had their fair share. The challenge of running your own business is to be able to quickly learn and adapt. The key thing is to keep trying until you find a winning formulae and never give up!
Would you do anything differently if you could start again from scratch?
Yes, running your own business is a continuous learning curve. There are things I would do differently but ultimately it is all part of the journey!
What do you do to relax away from the hustle and bustle of work?
Having time to wind down is extremely important. Sport is a passion of mine so my free time is spent watching it and playing when I can.
What would you be doing if you weren’t running your on business?
In all honestly, I would be retired. Swiftly after leaving corporate life, I came to the conclusion that I was not quite ready to ‘hang up my boots’. I am sure the day will come but for now my business is my passion.