A North East IT company, started by a Stockton schoolboy, has celebrated its 10th anniversary by opening its fourth office – on Teesside.
Razorblue Group already employs more than 40 people across its Catterick and Leeds bases and has just posted record results, having grown by nearly 40% in the last financial year.
Managing Director Dan Kitchen – who went to Red House School and lives on Teesside – said the expansion into Wynyard Park was “like coming home”.
Although Razorblue is retaining its offices in Catterick and Leeds, as well as continuing to grow its London staff base, the opening of this new office is keying in helping the business to achieve further growth.
“At Catterick we experienced problems with recruitment – and although we will keep recruiting in that area – we feel there are greater opportunities here to find new talent from Teesside and the other local universities,” said Mr Kitchen.
Over the next 12 months Razorblue will employ 10 more people at its 2,500 sq ft Wynyard office to work with its current clients – who include Sports Direct, Wensleydale Creamery and financial advisors Gale & Phillipson – and support its plans to increase turnover from £3.5m to £4.5m.
“Although this is a new office, this is not new territory for us,” said Mr Kitchen. “We already have a large client base in Teesside and having a presence here will open doors to other local businesses.”
He added: “What we have to offer, I believe, gives us the edge over our competitors.”
Razorblue began as a cloud hosting business – and still works with some of its early clients – but has gradually evolved. Now it offers expertise in Managed IT Support, Cloud, Superfast Connectivity, Telecoms and Bespoke Business Software.
“We became an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in 2009 and built our own network,” added Mr Kitchen. “We also wholly own our cloud infrastructure and the knowledge behind that goes back more than 10 years. Very few of our competitors in this region have that in-depth level of knowledge or control, and that results in a better more joined up service for our clients.”
Mr Kitchen, now 26, was born in Sunderland, grew up in County Durham and North Yorkshire.
After leaving school he started studying for his A-levels but gave up after just three months to work full-time on his business which was already showing signs of promise.
“It was a bit of a leap of faith, but it paid off. I was 100% confident because I had nothing to lose and I knew what I wanted to achieve,” he said.
Razorblue’s steady growth over 10 years has been built on its technical excellence, repeat business, recommendations and market intelligence. Its success has come amid dramatic change in the IT sector, but – said Mr Kitchen – that will continue to be the case.
“We’ve got to move with the market and keep up with the times – that’s what we’ve done for the past 10 years,” he added.
“If new technology comes to the market you’ve got to embrace it.”