By Guy Mucklow, entrepreneur and co-founder of Postcode Anywhere
If you’ve ever looked up your postcode to find your address when you’ve bought something online, then the chances are that you’ve used Postcode Anywhere.
When I co-founded the business with Jamie Turner in 2001, there were only a few businesses that used this kind of service, yet most people that we spoke to were aware of the technology, having been accustomed to being asked for their postcode to confirm their address details whenever they spoke to call centres. Instinctively, we knew there was a market for the service and that we could differentiate ourselves by improving the process for delivering the data by using the internet to reduce costs and increase availability of the technology.
Postcode Anywhere now handles around 50 per cent of all online postcode look-ups in the UK, amounting to more than four million individual transactions a day. Our service is used by over 8,000 companies and organisations around the world from Tesco to Oxfam and Fiat and in a “coals to Newcastle” sort of way, we also provide our service back to a number of the data owners such as Royal Mail and Canada Post.
Establishing solid foundations
Address look up software remains at the core of Postcode Anywhere, where it is used from websites, to call centres to speed up and improve data collection, to create a better customer experience and to help ensure that goods bought online arrive at the right address.
More recently, we have stepped up our efforts to increase our growth rate and capitalise on some of the opportunities which are emerging in the rapidly growing market for international address data.
Using the same model that we have developed in our partnership with Canada Post, where they are providing the data and selling a rebranded version of our service, we have approached a number of other major postal service providers and see this as a considerable area for growth.
To accommodate our plans for expansion we have put in place a number of key building blocks over the last 12 months; ranging from spending over £2m on a new head quarter building in Worcester which will cater for up to 100 people, to strengthening our systems and processes so that everyone in the business has a very clear idea of what we are doing and where we plan to be in five years’ time.
Building on strong ethics
Part of the scaling process has also meant that both Jamie and I have taken a conscious decision to step outside of the operational side of the business and to spend more time working on developing our brand. This has involved building a senior management team who now have this responsibility, but it has also meant trying to develop systems and processes to encourage all of our employees to be aligned with our vision.
As owners of the business, both Jamie and I are keen for everyone to share in our future success. One of the main ways that we see that we can do this is by releasing 5% of the equity in the company to all of our staff via an Enterprise Management Incentive scheme and to tie further shares into achieving our future growth targets.
Today, Postcode Anywhere remains privately-owned and funded and, since year four of trading, highly profitable. With consistent revenue growth, we could have “rested on our laurels”, however, instead we continue to innovate to strengthen what we offer to our customers and to drive greater efficiencies in our business.
After over twelve years of hard work and valuable learning I believe that we have a business and team in place that can realise both Jamie and my vision of creating a world class technology company focussed on improving international addressing and the ecommerce experience.