Sponsor and Stakeholders
StepJockey was a privately funded business, launched via an Innovate UK award and angel investment. It was an innovative health tech and wellness business which developed an algorithm that, through a mobile app, was able to track movement and in particular stair climbing. This was first offered as a utility app., but it became apparent that it needed gamification and change management consultancy to sustain changed behaviour in work places. The investors were the sponsors and our stakeholders were the advisory board, leadership team and twelve staff members.
Work Source was approached by StepJockey’s investors to provide a strategic commercial review. The contents of this review were agreed by investors as a condition of further cash investment into the business and they also requested an interim Chief Commercial Officer as a condition of new funding. This resulted in our principal consultant Zed Vakil joining the business in a part time interim capacity. The founder was subsequently asked to step down at a further funding round by the shareholders on condition Zed was appointed CEO.
The brief was to stem losses, return to break even revenues, turning around the business and set it on target for growth and Series A funding. The shareholders invited us to review all aspects of the business that we thought were not fit for purpose, and this meant forensically managing both the sales, technical and client services functions over two locations.
The shareholders were getting concerned about the growth and performance of the business and at that point the business had already been funded to the tune of £1 million, and had suffered 6 months without generating revenues; making significant operational losses each month. They asked Work Source to undertake a full commercial strategy review before they were prepared to fund the company further. This resulted in a case for change workshop and sales and product market fit workshops with relevant stakeholders and followed by a complete commercial strategy review.
Zed provided immediate leadership to the business, first concentrating on positioning the company to break even within the first 6 months. He returned the business to sales revenues in the first month and instigated a companywide culture shift and orientation to clients and sales. This was successfully introduced and the establishing of monthly management accounts, cost control, debtor control and a detailed analysis of the operational requirements of the company month on month by the leadership team, resulted in new strategies, accountabilities and empowerment.
Zed enacted a proper and robust organisation structure that was fit for purpose, and drove a meticulous business development and CRM programme. He mentored the leadership team to manage their parts of the business such that the business was more focussed towards the customer. This enabled a sustained period of new national and international client acquisition and increased client renewals from 37% to 73%.
Within 12 months the business was outperforming expectations and on exit was showing a near 100% revenue growth and positioned for Series A funding.
I worked with Zed for two years at Stepjockey. In that time, I was impressed by Zed's leadership. He was recruited to the position of CEO at a difficult time for the business. Zed was able to quickly identify the complex challenges that the company faced, rapidly prioritising these and tackling them systematically.
He started by re-connecting the business with the market, re-examining its value proposition to customers, and undertaking a product-market fit exercise. Informed by this project, he re-organised the business and its development priorities, and formulated a business plan and roadmap to deliver on them. He established a constructive organisational culture, empowering staff, boosting morale, and creating a leadership team that was able to engage constructively with business leads and also with operations.
He identified substantial efficiencies within the business, and he communicated effectively and constructively with the Board and with shareholders throughout his tenure. He developed a business development strategy that emphasised an account management and client development approach, supported by a strong content marketing and lead generation and development system.
His approach combined both strategic and operational strengths: creating a clear vision for the business, while also building operational capabilities and retaining an appropriate attention to operational detail and to developing a positive and motivated staff.
Dr. Vivek Muthu, Director and Investor