Teeside firm Thap links up with Dubai company

TECHNOLOGY solutions firm Thap has announced it has forged a link-up with a company in Dubai.

TECHNOLOGY solutions firm Thap has announced it has forged a link-up with a company in Dubai.

The Middlesbrough company handles a range of technological roles, developing mobile apps and creating bespoke ways to improve how companies work.

Its skills and company culture attracted the attention of Clicksco, a Middle Eastern company which specialises in monetising internet usage and has more than 200 websites across a range of sectors. As part of the deal, Clicksco has invested in Thap and also signed it up to look at how it might develop and innovate technically.

The deal means Thap is now looking to add six more experienced and graduate staff to its eight-strong workforce. Founder Tom Howsam said he hopes the company will reach 18 to 21 staff in a year’s time.

“I think the reason the company wanted to invest was to show a solid commitment for the future, rather than just have a standard client relationship,” he said.

“As they’re now investors, it gives us a chance to get closer to them and get a better idea of how we can help with their business.”

The deal was brokered by corporate finance firm DCB Ventures, who arranged for Clicksco to visit Middlesbrough and meet Thap. DCB’s Paul Callaghan said it was an example of the companies work in “promoting Tees Valley businesses and bringing investment into those businesses”.

Mark Nosworthy, financial director of Clicksco, said: “We are investing because we believe in Tom, we believe in his abilities and his business model.

“We also feel our two companies have a very similar culture.”

The total capital invested in Thap was bolstered to £140,000 by an additional contribution from entrepreneur Andy Preston, who said Howsam had “the ability to provide fantastic tech solutions for all business problems”. Thap was launched in 2004, and has developed into a company with a range of skills and an unusual internal culture. Staff work a four-day week, and are given Fridays to pursue personal development projects.

“It might be climbing a mountain, developing an app or working for a charity”, said Howsam. “We want to give people space to do something rewarding, rather than constantly focusing on the daily grind.”

This approach has had real benefits for the area. Chief creative officer Graham Morley curates UX North East, a group promoting and discussing user experience in the region.

UX engineer Richard Powell runs javascript tutorials for beginners, while agile project manager Alex Horre helps to run the regular North East New Tech meet-ups. Howsam said the company is extremely interested in developments in the mobile space, and is also keen to explore sectors which could benefit from developments in technology.

He said: “We’re looking to further explore markets such as engineering, while there is potential in the oil and gas sector for mobile solutions which make data entry much easier when people are in the field.

“We pick the technology that’s right for the job. We don’t just shoehorn something in.

“The investment is fantastic for the company, and Clicksco gives us exposure to a new market, while Andy has a fantastic regional presence. I couldn’t ask for a better mix of investors.”


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