Tech chief's mission to end mind-boggling language
The CEO of a rapidly-growing business intelligence firm has called for both the tech sector and finance world to use simpler language.
Zandra Moore helped lead an MBO of Leeds-based Panintelligence when the main company Pancredit, a software developer for the banks, was taken over four years ago.
She took over as CEO at the start of the year and is seeking to rapidly scale the business into the United States and other markets after coming through PwC’s Scale programme.
“There are some real challenges for scale-up businesses in being able to understand the funding marketplace. Both in technology and the finance world we have a knack of using mind-boggling language which confuses people and is a barrier to working together,” she told BusinessCloud.
“In technology we talk about linear regression modelling, machine learning, automated decisioning… things that don’t mean anything to people outside the sector, including the people who are looking to invest in businesses like ours.
“Our consumers are schools colleges, universities, hospitals, doctors, SMEs. Try to explain these things to people running a classroom, and it means nothing to them.”
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Panintelligence has grown from six to 30 people in four years and experienced 30-40 per cent year-on-year growth – all of it organic to date.
Moore says that it has 75 per cent recurring revenue, a solid baseline which is enabling her to invest back into the business after putting big plans in place this year.
She describes the introduction of predictive modelling as a “step-change” for the business which allows clients to predict who is most likely to not repay a loan, to take the example of a financial vendor.
It also applies to the company’s other target marketplaces.
“We are trying to simplify what business intelligence means. With a college, for example, we might explain to them that we can help them predict which students are most likely to drop out in the first six weeks of their course because they won't get any funding if they do – and they can't fill that place again,” she explained.
The company is visiting Boston, Massachusetts in November to look at opening a US sales base. It has a presence in the US, Australia and mainland Europe, although most of its clients are UK-based.
“I'd like to think we could double the valuation of our business in the next couple of years. I'm pretty confident about that as our recurring revenue base is growing,” she continued.
Moore describes the Leeds tech scene as “vibrant” and says Panintelligence has benefited from talent falling out of unicorn Sky Bet.
“The likes of Sky Bet, Sky, EMIS, TPP and NHS Digital are all driving interest in the city and attracting talent. Sky Bet has the money to get these young people skilled up – people then naturally fall out of those organisations because a big corporate doesn’t suit them.
“People are prepared to not necessarily earn the same amount as they did with the bigger companies because they know you're a small business, but would rather be a big fish in a smaller pond and influence something that's growing.”
Moore created the Leeds circle of Lean In, the female promotion networking organisation set up by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
“Within two years we’ve got to 350 members and run events every month about how to enable women to lean into and face some of the challenges that hold them back,” she said.
“Often they’re about ourselves, our mindset, the way we think about things – our own behaviours.
“It's very much a personal development motivation as opposed to changing policy, lobbying or influencing government. It's about empowering women.”