Inspiring Manchester Tech CEO shares experiences and advice

Matthew Scullion, founder and CEO of Matillion, shared his unique attitude and dedication to innovation and answered questions from the audience at an event in the Entrepreneurs@Manchester speaker series hosted online by the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.

Matillion are a Manchester-headquartered enterprise software firm producing software systems for cloud data warehousing, now one of the most successful enterprise software companies in the UK.

This year Matillion become Britain’s latest 'unicorn', raising $150m in a deal that values the company at $1.5bn.

Matthew began by discussing his own personal entrepreneurial journey and early motivations for starting a business. He founded his first start-up aged only 18. After then working in commercial IT and software development for fifteen years, he founded Matillion. Matthew described his initial ideas for the company and how it subsequently developed.

Discussion of the pivot in Matillion’s product focus highlighted the importance of the ability to adapt and be open to new opportunities. Matthew emphasized that for entrepreneurs, it is not all about the first idea. You don’t need the ’perfect’ idea to start a business. Market analysis though is very important  to develop product-market-fit.

Innovation is vital to business success - the world’s best companies foster innovation. Innovation is also enshrined in the vales of Matillion. One of the company’s six values is that ‘We innovate and demand quality’ - the company recognise that ‘no person, no process and no product is ever finished’.

Entrepreneurs need to keep learning at an accelerated rate: the most important part of innovation is our own personal innovation.

For entrepreneurs and team leaders to innovate, they also have to focus on culture, team and people - the right team and right culture to allow ideas to flourish, providing a culture where staff feel both safe and inclined to innovate.

Matthew then answered audience questions and provided advice on developing B2B tech start-up businesses, approaches to networking and mentoring, and perspectives on managing risk and resilience.

Matthew’s key tips for students thinking about starting a business were:

  • It’s all about people - the most important thing is the team. The core of an entrepreneur's or CEO's role is to build a world-class team, aligned to a mission, to give them an environment in which to succeed.
  • Outcomes are always correlated to effort - innovation is a mechanism.
  • Culture is key: personal and in your company/team - identify your values and those you want your company to follow.
  • Never compromise on your own integrity.
  • Have confidence in your ambition to take your ideas forward.

Entrepreneurs@Manchester with Matthew Scullion, Matillion

Matthew Scullion was speaking as part of the Entrepreneurs@Manchester speaker series organised by the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre. Entrepreneurs@Manchester invites the UK's leading entrepreneurs to The University of Manchester to share their insights and talk candidly about their highs, lows, and lessons learnt. These are real stories from those who have done it - from initial concept through to enterprise.

If you’re a student or recent graduate of The University of Manchester and have an idea for a business then please do get in touch with us at entrepreneurship@manchester.ac.uk.

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