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Laura Haldane is one of SciLeads co-founders along with Daniel McRitchie (CEO) and James Campbell (CTO). Here Laura gives us an insight into how the company started, the environment they wanted to create as well as documenting her career journey.
SciLeads is a lead generation and market intelligence SaaS platform that helps scientific companies identify their ideal customers. We have created the most comprehensive and accurate database of scientific researchers, helping sales and marketing teams quickly identify who needs their products for their research. 93% of our customer base is outside of the UK so we’re mostly working with companies across the globe. As VP of Sales and Marketing, I oversee our commercial operations. I am also the self appointed “Head of Craic”, as maintaining that company culture is something that’s really important to me.
Daniel McRitchie, our CEO, and I met in our (very) early twenties while we were both working in Andor Technology - he worked in marketing, and I was in sales. We quickly became friends due to our shared mission to one day start our own companies. I’d tell him about James Campbell, my friend from school who was a software engineer, and the random small businesses we had set up for after school pocket money; which got more and more sophisticated as James’s coding skills grew.
One day Daniel rang to say he has got the winning business idea! I introduced him to James, now our CTO, and they got to work on building the platform from scratch. My role was to get the initial customers, find a CRM, determine a pricing strategy, go to market approach and then execute it.
The three of us shared the same work ethic and vision, so it was a fantastic team from the outset. The fact that the friendships were formed years earlier really helped too.
L-R Laura, Daniel, James
My Dad was a software sales director so that’s what I wanted to “grow up to be”. As I got older that evolved into wanting to start my own software company and do the sales. James and I had a number of companies when we were in younger, the most successful being “Dr PC”, who would fix any of your computer problems. We spent our weekends putting leaflets into doors and fielding queries from the public about their computer problems. After graduating from QUB I got a job with Randox, who were hiring anyone who got a 1st in their scientific degree. This put me firmly on the Life Sciences path. I moved quickly onto Andor Technology where I became their youngest territory manager at 23. At 25 I was head of global sales in a local data software company. These roles prepared me for starting from scratch when it came to SciLeads.
It isn’t answering questions like this anyway! Work ethic would probably be high up there, something the three of us share. I’m not sure if I can even call it work ethic though because I enjoy it so much. Accountability is something I’ve never had a problem with, and I realise now that’s quite I strength. I know what I need to do and it niggles at me too much to not just do it! Except when it comes to doing my expenses! As a business our unique strengths are in our data quality, and the skillsets of our team. We’ve lived and breathed the problems our customers face so we’re in a unique position to solve them.
We are already trusted by the top 20 companies in our field, right down to the smallest start-ups. Our customers are instrumentation or service providers in the scientific research market. We quickly realised that the US was going to be our biggest market, so we spent a lot of time there in the initial years. Recently we’ve been doing much more within Europe and Asia, though the US remains our biggest market.
We’re at an exciting point in our journey where we’re the industry leaders in our space, but we still have massive potential to grow further. Our growth will be a combination of our new product launches, our expansion further into the Asian markets, and generally following the same steep growth trajectory that we’ve been on the last few years. We’re open to all options in assisting us with our plans, including taking on investment from the right partner.
We quickly learned that the success of any business is entirely down to the team. Finding talent in today’s market has definitely been one of our biggest challenges, particularly on the technical side. Our remote first working allows us to overcome this by hiring anywhere in the world, as well as being flexible with our current staff. In fact we had two employees ask us this week if they could move to Australia and work for SciLeads there. The answer, of course, was “absolutely”!
Maintaining the company culture as we scale is another challenge. When we started out we knew we wanted to create a company with a truly flexible culture and work-life balance, which is why we chose to work remotely (way back in 2016!) We encouraged our staff to get outside, walk the dog, go to the gym, play in the snow, see the sunshine! Yes we work hard, but it's also nice to have the flexibility to go to the post office when it isn't so busy or pop out to have a coffee with your mum. Now with over 50 employees we are adamant in maintaining this.
As a child it was Richard Branson! At 10 years old my Dad bought me his autobiography 'Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way' which in hindsight probably wasn't totally age-appropriate but I loved the insight and just knew that I wanted to be an Entrepreneur like him. Luckily I did get to meet him at a conference in London recently and get a terrible selfie! I have always had a passion for tech, installing our home broadband at 7. And had a passion for sales even at a young age (buying sweets from Forestside and selling them to my friends and neighbours for a profit) so I am always inspired by entrepreneurs.
Our goal will be to continue to grow significantly in the new few years, doubling our existing team of 50 employees to over 100. We’ve been in the top 20 of Deloitte’s fastest growing Tech Companies in Ireland for the last two years, and we plan to be high up there next year too. We’re launching a new product in early 2023 which will expand our potential market as well as adding additional value to our existing customers. And given the structure we have in place now, we’re in the perfect position to grow quickly. We will of course be hiring for a lot more roles so please reach out if you’re interested in Sales or Software positions in particular
SciLeads is continuing to grow and expand its workforce globally. If you want to join one of the country’s fastest-growing tech companies then check out our available roles here.