Founders Series – Doug More, MD of AssureAPM

Doug More of Assure APM
Doug More of Assure APM

Doug More is the founder and CEO of AssureAPM, the company he founded in 2014 which now has a turnover of about £1m and eight members of staff. With plans to repeat revenue growth of at least 200% over the next three years, Doug also plans on growing staff by 150% over the same period.

What does AssureAPM do?

Assure APM provides businesses with simple and quickly deployed ICT security solutions, which meet regulatory requirements, allows companies to apply segmentation to their IT estate and protects them from the most sophisticated cyber-attacks. We are able to spot threats from both inside and outside a network and provide alerts on these in real-time. Our solutions cover cloud, data centre and end user. We also provide monitoring solutions that analyse business IT assets, spot any potential problems and supply instant forensic detail should a problem occur.  In short, our services protect vital IT assets and data, lower costs and boost IT capabilities.

What do you do there / what is your role?

I am Assure APM’s founder and CEO. I implement the company’s strategy and make sure we deliver. I strive to promote a culture which is honest, forward thinking and accountable. I encourage creative thinking and new ways of working so that we can set ourselves apart from the rest.

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What is your background?

I have worked in IT for many years. I started my career as the industry began to develop. My first role was at The University of Edinburgh where I worked in a team that designed some of the first wide area computer networks in the world. I then broke into IT management where I oversaw and contributed to numerous industry innovations. Following this, I transitioned into sales and then later business management.

I have previously worked for multi-national brands and have built up a company from nothing to having a turnover in excess of £50million. I also have experience of formulating, managing and developing IT organisations, most notably Stiell Networks. In 2014, I founded Assure APM.

What was the aha moment that led to the company formation?

I was semi-retired, doing consultancy jobs here and there. I had no plans to get back into business but a chance conversation with an old colleague about recent advances in IT monitoring and security technology led to a brainwave and it went from there.

Why did you launch the company?

I knew this technology could be applied to solve some of the IT industry’s age-old problems of keeping IT estates free from threats, identifying problems after an attack and monitoring its efficient running in normal state. I knew I could help companies struggling to overcome these so I decided to take the plunge.

Where did you get assistance when you started?

When I launched Assure APM I was fortunate in that I had a wide network of contacts and knew a lot of people in the industry, particularly those who were interested in helping me get the company up and running. I contacted a few people, got them onboard and together we launched Assure APM.

Give us a brief history of the growth of the company

We launched in 2014, initially as an offshot of FarrPoint, the independent IT and Telecoms consultancy. We soon became an entirely separate entity and refined our offering as we went along. As time went on, we began to take on staff. More recently, we have partnered with Californian based micro-segmentation security firm Illumio and home grown young disruptors ZoneFox so that our solutions are now truly over-arching – protecting a company inside and out.

Earlier this year we appointed our Director of Security, Neil Anderson and I’m delighted to say that John Waddell has agreed to become our new chairman. We have also moved to new offices in Rutland Square as we out grew our previous space and we also opened a new office in London to suit the demographics of supporting our clients so that we have a base for our business down there.

Have you taken any external funding? If so from who and when?

For the present we are self-funded however this may change as we meet additional demands for our services and are obliged to facilitate faster growth.

So what does it look like now with regard to staff and turnover?

We have built the platform on high quality skills and prestigious clients delivering boutique specialist high value services. At present our turnover is around £1 million and we currently have 8 members of staff and we consider this to be a platform to push on from

What’s the difference between when you started and now in your marketplace?

Well, it has been a while and the market in IT changes and evolves like the weather patterns in the western isles. The biggest change over the period has been that the processing power that used to take up a specialist air-conditioned room the size a football pitch now fits in a chip in my phone. Not to mention global dominance of some of the big players in IT and SM and the resultant affect this has had on global societies and values.

What is your target market –  Who is buying your product / service?

Our solution is appropriate for any sector however we are focused on Financial Services and the Public sector, especially central government. Over 80% of the worlds Cyber attacks are aimed at these institutions and they are therefore in most need of our knowhow.

What are your goals for your business?

We will continue with our efforts to get our specialist security and monitoring technology into the hands of companies that require it. We feel our solution is perfect for any organisation with a large stake in IT infrastructure and where security is key. When companies hear our name, we want them to immediately think ‘Innovators in IT security, control and visibility’.

What are your biggest current challenges?

Getting the ear of prospective clients who are bombarded daily by all and sundry with false promises and find it impossible sometimes to separate the wheat from the chaff.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Our business is unique and has the potential to revolutionise how companies secure and monitor their IT portfolio. The biggest challenge we currently face is convincing people that our solutions do exactly what we say they do, that our promises are real and that we are not just telling another of the IT sectors over hyped stories..

What do you do outside work?

Family first, four kids, two grandkids and  enjoy being active. I cycle, swim, run, play tennis, badminton and go to the gym. Most recently, I ran the London Marathon for a charity very close to my heart. I’m also enjoy a round of golf now and again.

What’s the secret to good leadership?

No secret – honesty, vision, passion and respect.

Where do you see the company in five years?

We will continue to grow and innovate. We will also be working with countries outside of the UK. Just recently, we announced early plans to open a European office in the next 18 months and we are looking at opportunities in the US, too.

How can the Scottish startup/entrepreneur landscape be improved to help more businesses start up and grow?

Anything that aids investment in people and in research and development would help light the boosters. I believe that tax incentives would enable employment growth and I also think that a subsidy for industry specific training would help those companies just starting out.

Can you give us some numbers? Turnover, growth rate, etc.

Forecasting conservatively over a three-year window, we are looking at repeat revenue growth of at least 200% and growth in staff member of 150%.

Doug More is managing director of AssureAPM

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