Tech start-up has youth and passion on its side

Sam Vahey and Will Dodd, both 23, established startup technology and computer services company Techy.gg last year in between lockdowns. Here

Sam Vahey and Will Dodd from Techy.gg. (Picture By Sophie Rabey, 29899346)
Sam Vahey and Will Dodd from Techy.gg. (Picture By Sophie Rabey, 29899346)

Mr Vahey explains why they set up a business in a competitive market and what tips they have for other young start-ups.

What made you decide to set up a business in Guernsey?

We could see a gap in the market. When we started work we had a clear vision for the company. Guernsey has been demanding a more service-based retail environment for a while. We could see that bricks and mortar retailers were struggling so we decided instead of people coming to us, we would go to them.

The first year is notoriously difficult for start-ups, what advice would you give others considering it?

Techy has had a financially stable start. We had a very small amount of capital to start with, probably laughable in retrospect, but we were incredibly strict on our budgeting. We stuck to the plan, which was probably the most important thing and the advice we’d pass on. If there’s anyone looking to go into tech, the advice would be make sure you have a good balance of stock items and software packages without holding too much. The market changes quite rapidly, so you don’t want to invest your seed money solely in stock. It is just as important to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to things like cloud services so you can make your business more agile.

Do you think you and Will being younger carries any advantages or disadvantages in your sector?

Being younger can be seen as a disadvantage in an established industry and you might be seen to be upsetting the apple cart by some people. Some clients might wonder whether you have the experience over somebody else – but that can only be proved wrong quickly through the quality of the work you do and building a track record. Youth can be an asset in our sector too as we are closer to the latest technology and knew we were young enough to recover from any setbacks.

What is the key to ensuring a good partnership?

It is really important to know that you will get on with your business partner. My relationship with Will is amazing – almost telepathic sometimes. It helps that our skill sets complement each other. Will’s decade of experience in PC hardware conveniently dovetails with my varied knowledge of broadband and networks.

Do you think it is important for new businesses to help others in their field?

We have plans for expansion and will be moving into a new office space and potentially taking on new members of staff in the coming months. We had a lot of support from the Guernsey community and it is important to pay that forward. We know a lot of young people who would love to get into the kind of work we do, but there isn’t a whole lot of opportunity, so we want to help provide those opportunities in the future.

What are some of the next tech trends?

We’re in a really weird time in tech at the moment. There are three tiers of tech adoption in Guernsey – there are lots of old-school businesses that continue to do things the old fashioned way, businesses that are trying looking to transition into a technological world and new businesses that already started in a tech world. We need to be able to support all three as a company.

What attributes do you think younger people have that perhaps more established businesses run by older principals could learn from?

We always had a clear vision in our minds of how to get from point A to point B and we knew we needed to take small steps to achieve that. However, where some businesses perhaps make a mistake is that they are so focused on the primary goals they might become too rigid. If something changes, you’ve got to be flexible enough to correct course as necessary. Also, you’ve got to be patient and work towards long-term goals, knowing it’s not going to happen overnight.

If you could name three vital qualities for a young entrepreneur, what do you think they should be?

Passion, personability and persistence. I think that rounds out everything, because if you are able to make connections it will take you far in any business environment.

Passion will make getting up in the morning much easier and I think you have to be persistent to meet your business goals.

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