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How I built my tech brand: Neil Garner, CEO of Thyngs

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Neil Garner

Serial tech entrepreneur, Neil Garner, launched Thyngs in Norwich in 2016. Its software helps organisations connect the physical and digital world, such as cashless donations through mobile apps, connected payments and customer loyalty solutions.

As part of a series of interviews with fast-growing tech firms, I spoke to Neil for some insights into how he’s grown the business, which has since opened offices in London, North America and Asia.

You need people who’ve got your back. Having learnt from my other businesses, I wanted to make sure I had a strong advisory board for Thyngs from the start. They all needed to be believers in the business and support what we’re doing. They’ve got to have a vested interest in business – either as investors, or with equity in return for providing a service.

Every business needs a London base. It’s essential if you want to meet investors and trade globally. Even if it’s just a virtual office presence. We’re hugely fortunate here in the UK to have a global centre like London to trade from.

We used to avoid talking about being based in Norwich. In my last business before Thyngs, that was. But in the last five years a lot has changed and Norwich is a good place to be for tech companies; there’s lots going on at grassroots with digital companies, as well as good Universities and good talent.

At the start you have to bite off more than you can chew. Early on, we won a massive global project for Warner Bros. We supported the launch of the Wonder Woman movie, which ended up being the largest campaign of its type ever. One of our suppliers messed up and it was almost a miracle that we managed to pull it off. But you just have to take those risks as a start-up. Then, if you do get through to the other side, it can be transformative for your business.

Think very carefully before crowdfunding. Is it really suitable for your business? It takes an enormous amount of time and energy. You end up with lots of shareholders with very small investments. And then you’ve got the logistics of managing all those investors and the time spent engaging with them. A small number of large investors is a better way to go, so you would do to find high net-worth individuals and angel investors.

You’ve got to be nimble. In our sector, we change what we do quite quickly. Just because you’ve built it, if something changes don’t be afraid to mothball it – don’t kill it – you can always bring it back in the future at a better time.

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Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall

Hi, I’m Chris, Content Editor at BrandContent. I work on content strategy, planning and creation. I have nearly 15 years’ experience as a journalist and editor. I bring a newsroom mindset – along with a heavy dose of pedantry – honed from writing for the likes of the FT and Sunday Times. Outside of work? Pizza and my two small children are the first two things that come to mind.

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