Co-Founder: Broadband (UK) Limited
Richard Patterson graduated with a degree in Industrial Mathematics in 1997. Here he discusses his career journey in technology and experiences with start-ups.
The study of Industrial Mathematics gave me a great grounding in how to solve problems. When I taught myself to program computers after leaving university, the problem solving and analytical approach greatly helped me and my career.
I have had a long and varied career journey. I spent a year at Marconi Elliot Avionics working on the software for the radar for the Tornado fighter aircraft.
I then left London to join my wife (who was a teacher in Suffolk), and found work at a small high-technology start-up based in Diss in Norfolk called Xenotron. Xenotron developed technology for the high-resolution printing industry (one of the Xenotron machines is in the Science Museum in Kensington) and I wrote a large amount of the software for the first newspaper pages made up on screen on a computer. I installed software for Xenotron machines in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong.
After 9 years at Xenotron, I began my own first start-up called Hyphen. We went from 6 of us above a delicatessen in Diss, to a major force in the high-resolution printing industry with major newspapers across the globe as our customers. The business had tens of millions of dollars in revenues and was highly profitable. We had offices in the UK, France, Germany, USA and Australia.
I then went onto my second start-up called Cascade Systems. We were one of the first companies to be funded by the Venture Capital Arm of Adobe Systems Inc, growing a highly successful and profitable business, again with tens of millions of dollars in revenues.
I then founded my own consulting business (Wingfield Consulting), which has carried out consulting projects for many major companies across the world.
Right now I am in the third start-up called BroadbandUK and we are operating in the UK broadband space.
BroadbandUK is a small start-up, and in a small start-up you end up doing anything and everything that is required. Start-ups can be great fun but are always very hard work.
I really like learning new things every day. For example, we have developed a broadband speed test which is the fastest growing speed test in the UK.
When I was at Hyphen, I used to look at the newspaper stand in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and count the number of newspapers from across the globe that had been produced with our software. These included The Times, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Evening Standard, New York Daily News, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and many others.
At Hyphen, we fundamentally changed the face of the high resolution printing industry by doing things that the conventional wisdom said were impossible, but we just went ahead and did them anyway.