In our Meet the client series, we explore the exciting companies we support with legal services. This month, we’re speaking to Somayeh Aghnia of Geeks, the software company with an all-encompassing passion for innovation, agility and diversity.
Name and job title:
Somayeh Aghnia, CEO and co-founder of Geeks Ltd
What is it your company does?
At Geeks we provide technology partnership. That includes digital transformation, product development and process automation, as well as innovative R&D and prototyping services which helps businesses solve complex problems. Our solutions help businesses, whether its enhancing their processes or bring a new product or service to the market using software technology.
Who do you work with?
Our clients are pioneers who think ahead and aim to transform their industries. Every day there are innovators and entrepreneurs in all industries who can think of new ways for solving a problem or enhancing one more aspect of life by leveraging software technology. They aren’t really limited by size, sector or service.
We work with anything from family-run SMEs to creative departments in companies like easyjet and the BBC. What links the companies we work with is their character – always adventurous, ready to make the changes necessary to become more efficient and better than the rest at what they do. They all want to make a difference and they all are ambitious.
We work with people who are pushing boundaries and disrupting the status quo in their industry, business leaders who understand the value and necessity of tech in the modern business.
How long have you been in business and how has your business grown?
We recently reached the milestone of 12 years in business. It’s been quite a journey, as we’ve expanded from three members of staff all the way up to 90! We’re really proud of our growth – we’ve always grown organically without investment.
The backbone of everything we do is innovation. We’re always looking for the next step, achieving best practice in software development. In fact, we won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation a few years back for two of our software products (Visual Spec and M-Sharp), which really showcased just how much we value pushing forward for ourselves and our clients.
What inspired you to start your business?
As a co-founder of Geeks, I saw a gap in the market for a dependable technology partner who can deliver, and can deliver at pace – the sector didn’t have the best reputation for delivery, so I wanted to put together the people and techniques to combat that.
A lot of our first steps were about tackling the unnecessary complexity that was involved in software projects. We developed tools and systems that helped us to get it right sooner, with better time management and budget processes.
On a more personal level, I’m really passionate about diversity in the tech sector. We’ve worked to create lots of spaces for women in IT at Geeks – we now have 50% women on our senior leadership team and 40% of our senior members of staff are women too, which has in turn increased the number of junior women in the team. I really want to inspire and celebrate women in the sector, and fight the stereotype of it being a masculine environment!
What have been the biggest recent challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
One of our most common problems is tech adoption. We often face gatekeepers and stakeholders who, though positive about change, need to be empowered to be able to make decisions on the right use of technology for their individual business. There are too many unknowns, and it makes it a scary decision for them.
Adopting technology can be a complex process, so we work to engage with clients and make the journey less painful by being there for them all steps of the way, guiding them and helping them to understand their choices, and show them that with the right partnership a little short-term pain will result in long-term gains! We want to make sure they see the quickest return on their investment and see the digital transformation as a journey not a destination, one that we will be with them along the way.
What are your hopes/goals for the next 1-3 years?
We’re always trying to stay on the edge of technology, and we’re constantly looking to put in effective and useful changes. We’re looking to develop a new business proposition over the next few years, focusing on clients who want to have tech in the heart of their businesses with a major focus on innovation.
In a more short-term frame, I’m looking forward to pushing forward the message of the importance of diversity in business and specifically in tech. I’m nominated for a Business Leader of the Year award at the Inclusive Tech Alliance awards, and I’m also a finalist for Digital Entrepreneur of the Year, so that’s exciting on a personal level!
What has it been like to work with Harper James?
It’s been great to have access to a law firm with a variety of skill-sets on hand, and that has really great accessibility in general. The solicitors I’ve dealt with have always been on top of things, and the service is undeniably affordable! I think the concept of Harper James is fantastic, and it helps us to do the business we need to do.