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Member Interview: Premier League success

Walking through the doors at FSB member Imagineear you are immediately struck by the youthful vibrancy of the organisation –  filled with tech, apprentices and sporting bags.  This is a fine contrast to the walkway to the building which is set in the stately and stunning Fulham Palace estate. Matthew Jaffa, FSB, writes. 

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Today we meet with Andrew Nugee who founded Imagineear 10 years ago. Andrew said: “The Company itself has three key strands, to advise, to create and to deliver." The technology created can be seen in museums, through Apps and in football grounds to provide content within tours and exhibitions. 

The company itself has around 20 staff in the UK and is in growth territory – looking to take on six more staff in the UK and beyond as we meet and has an office in Amsterdam and a flurry of staff working flexibly across the UK. 

The technology is IP protected and the client list is impressive. The top eight football clubs in the Premier League all use personalised software content for visitors to the ground to use when they walk around the stadium. Andrew said: "Quite literally you can hear Jurgen Klopp in your own language when you walk around the Liverpool ground."

It is not just in football grounds that you can witness the technology but in Healthcare and the Creative Sector.

Andrew explained: "HIV patients can use a specially created app by ourselves and we also have an APP for new Mothers called ‘Mum and Baby’ which will tell you everything about a baby’s development."  

The technology can also be seen from the Van Gogh museum, the Houses of Parliament and the Rolling Stones Exhibition.

The most notable challenge facing Imagineear is recruitment. Andrew said: "With three places to fill, a few years ago we would have had 800 people viewing posts on Linkedin, now we are seeing a third of the number of applications."

Andrew feels that uncertainty with Brexit has a big part to play. "We have hired a number of continental Europeans but they are understandably nervous about coming over and many Europeans who work in London have gone back to their home countries," he said.

With growth in mind, the main challenge for Andrew is to crack America. With the fact the Imagineear are only the third English company to be selected for the prestigious GAP Programme run by UCLA in California this could soon become a reality.He said: "There are around 700 stadiums in America, and our target is to reach 20% of these, so the American market is huge."

The challenges to growing the business are not all macro. Andrew said: "We work hard to stay at the forefront of the deliverable technology, and this means staying on top of important challenges like increasing battery lives."

Imagineear have just won a Silver Award for the Best (small) Business serving UK Sport.  The enthusiasm of Andrew and the staff are there for all to see and we wish them well in their drive for growth. 
 
Andrew has been an FSB member for just over a year and has been engaged with our London Special Interest Group on Apprentices.