Matt Parkinson founded Vinters (previously known as VooServers) in October 2005 at the age of 16, alongside his sixth form studies. The company has since grown internationally with an expanded product portfolio and customer base. As Technical Director, Matt has overall responsibility for the company’s operations and its technical advances, as well as coordinating Vinters’ global data centre operations. His entrepreneurial spirit has also been recognised, having become a finalist at the Kent Excellence in Business Awards in both 2014 and 2017.
In the latest interview in our Meet the Team series, Matt shares his vision for when he started the company, what to expect from Vinters in 2021 and beyond, and his best business advice.
What was your vision when you launched the company in 2005, and how has it changed since?
It was my interest in computing and a drive to be financially self-sufficient that lead me to create and launch the company. My vision at the time was to go straight from school to working for myself however in hindsight I don’t think I took a long term view of things. I really wanted to be independent and turn my hobby into a successful career and business.
Today, our vision is focused on how we can grow the company which sees us opening points of presence in new countries, expanding into new areas, and looking at how we create products and services that help with digital transformation, and support each of our clients’ needs.
You recently celebrated 15 years in business, what did this mean to you and how did you celebrate?
Celebrations were somewhat limited due to Covid-19, however, we are planning to hold an appreciation day for our employees as soon as it’s safe to celebrate properly. That said, we took the opportunity to rebrand to Vinters from VooServers, which whilst it had served us well as a brand for the last 15 years it didn’t really represent where we are as a company today. The rebranding transition was made easier as we were already known as Vinters Corp in the US, and it made sense to start building a more cohesive and recognised brand that had more of an enterprise feel to it.
What does a typical day at Vinters look like?
There isn’t a typical day here but that’s what I love about it and it’s what’s kept me so interested for the past 15 years! I’m someone who likes to learn hands-on – by dealing with new products and solving problems that we haven’t dealt with before.
We work with clients across many different sectors and each with different needs, which means we are constantly working on different types of solutions or with new technologies to solve particular problems. I’ll often be looking at our technology strategy for the forthcoming year and planning how we can bring new services to life, as well as enhancing current ones.
Are you working on anything exciting at the moment?
We are currently expanding our network with new diverse high speed links from Maidstone to London, which when set up, will allow us to connect to hyper-scale cloud environments and to other sites across the UK. This will be utilised for high availability and disaster recovery services. To me it’s very exciting, but to others perhaps not so much! We’re able to enhance and deliver our services to clients so they can focus on what they do best with the upmost trust in technology and products they’re using.
We are also working to expand our second generation cloud product Savanna with significant investment in our existing setup in the UK but then also launching it across our other sites in Europe and the US.
If you had one piece of business advice what would it be?
My best advice would be to learn to recognise when you are in an unproductive mindset so that you can snap out of it and focus on what matters. Many times over the years, I’ve wallowed in self-pity over a problem that has presented itself and felt like I wanted to give up. I’m sure this is a common theme for business owners, but the sooner you start to recognise that mindset you will understand that it won’t change anything. What does change the situation is taking a breather and coming up with a new strategy to tackle the problem.
What do you hope to achieve in 2021?
We’re still very mindful that the Covid-19 recovery is only just getting started, however digital transformation has been huge over the last year and we don’t see it stopping. We already have plans to expand our offices and number of staff both in the UK and US to deal with this increased demand.
For me, my role is very much changing to focus on what I label the 3 P’s – People, Partners and Product. I will focus on our own people and how to help them develop; on our partners who help us achieve success; and finally on how to create new products and services. The latter perhaps isn’t the role of a CEO however it’s what I enjoy doing and allows me to keep my skills up to date. I think it’s always important to keep some of the smaller aspects that you enjoy in your role rather than focusing on your title and job description.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this interview and if you’d like to connect with Matt on LinkedIn, you can do so here.