It’s been another crazy year for us here at Elixel, with more growth than ever before. Somehow, we’re at the end of the year with Christmas just days away, parties and secret santa already checked off. So now that we’re about to break for the holidays, we thought it would be a perfect time to look back on a record-breaking year. Let’s rewind back to the beginning of 2019… or maybe just a little further than that...
At the very end of last year, Aimee and husband Mark welcomed baby Joseph (Joey to his friends) when he snuck in after all the excitement of Christmas. Alyssa is a huge fan of her new baby brother and we were thrilled for Aimee and Mark, but we have to confess we’ve missed Aimee terribly and can’t wait for her to come back after maternity leave!
In January, the baby news continued! For two weeks we all returned to the office, holding our breath and waiting to see if Paul got a phone call… And it was only a matter of time before he and wife Bronwynne welcomed a son, Lucas. Between Joey and Lucas, the office is quickly being mapped through baby crawl and we’ve certainly enjoyed breaking away from our screens for a few minutes of giggles and chatter whenever they visit!
Having kicked the year off with happy news, we then received a glowing endorsement from Devon Live noting us as ‘a company to watch in 2019’. We couldn’t wait to get stuck in to some more transformative tech and design projects! At the end of February, our dedication for one particular project really paid off when we attended the Wholesome World launch party. It’s an app that has been a true labour of love for us, helping Freyja Hanstein realise her dream of providing recipes and support for cancer sufferers.
In March we had a very exciting announcement as Rob Breeds joined us as our new Head of User Experience. Rob’s inspiring career as a Master Inventor at IBM has given him an expert background, ready to champion our aim of revolutionising business practice across the South West and beyond! Design Thinking, Rob’s passion, can be read about in our blog here. It’s a truly revolutionary way of igniting growth, and we can’t wait to introduce more businesses to our workshops in 2020.
As well as attending the fascinating FutureSync conference here in Plymouth (more on that from the team here), spring also brought the very exciting launch of the Looe Valley Line rail app, developed by us for Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership. The app uses GPS tracking to alert passengers to points of interest along the route, bringing history to life as you travel this beautiful line with custom-built augmented reality. Passengers can use their phone’s camera to view posters of Horris Holbrook, the 1908 superintendent of the line, and see him come to life! We were thrilled to see it featured on AllTheStations. Check out more here.
In May, you may have seen Rob’s business insider article, well worth a read, announcing our plans to transform businesses with Design Thinking. You might also have spotted Paul as a judge on the South West Design + Digital Student Awards, or perhaps you heard how he was shortlisted for the young business person of the year at the Plymouth Herald Business Awards! The team were very proud when he was highly commended on the night.
As the summer sunshine started to brighten the office, we began planning celebrations for our 7th birthday party (yes, we can hardly believe it’s been 7 years too!). We had an awesome evening at The Boathouse down on Plymouth harbour, meeting up with clients and supporters, whilst sharing some tasty food and drink. The evening served as a goodbye to Christian, who left the company in order to change direction. We wish him all the best and he will certainly be missed.
Also in June, Gavin presented at the South West Business Council about how tech is improving the way we work, and separately we were included in the South West Business Cloud Tech 101 list. We also released an update to our office pride and joy, our tea round app, Tea Minus. You can now create multiple teams within an organisation, so whether your favourite is tea, coffee or a cheeky cuppa soup, download the app and spread the teamwork!
It was all go in August, when we were featured by Business Live, celebrating our rising profits and the arrival of Ed May as our new Commercial Director and all-round business guru! Having worked with top line companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline, BAE, The National Archives, Barclays and RBS, Ed knows how to deliver change and innovation at a high level. His experience in the IT and telecommunications industry has already been helping Elixel to grow faster than ever before.
By joining us, Ed has also created a link between Elixel and his two other tech companies. Nexio is a development house in eastern Europe with a 300+ strong development team, which has enhanced the flexibility and scale we can offer our clients, and Microsec are one of the longest-established players on the UK’s software development scene. With these two key company connections, we have the capability to build the perfect teams around different projects.
As autumn began to creep in, we released another much-loved project, a hub site for Supergen ORE - a consortium of researchers who needed a way to share up-to-date knowledge of offshore wave and tidal technology. Also in September, Gavin featured on the panel for Devon 2040 breakfast, hosted by Insider South West, and shared his views on what the future of the region might look like.
In October, Rob ran a Design Thinking masterclass at the Exeter Nudge Festival, Elixel were collectively shortlisted as tech leaders for the Tech South West Awards, and the Looe Valley Line app won a national community rail award! Natalia and Becky made the trek to FFconf in Brighton, which was worth every minute, and Gavin was one of the judges at Techstars Startup Weekend, which is run in partnership with Google for Startups.
Rounding off the year beautifully in November, we were honoured to be awarded Plymouth Cluster Winner at the Tech South West Awards. It was a fantastic night, celebrating the best of the best in our neck of the woods, and we are so proud to be a part of a rocketing tech scene.
As ever, throughout the year we’ve been kept busy with four packed-out Digital Plymouth events and many Plymouth Web meetups, including a great show and tell evening. Becky has also been very busy representing Women In STEM Plymouth (including on BBC Radio Devon!), helping teach girls to code and advocating for more female representation in the STEM sector. Because of all this it was very satisfying to see Becky acknowledged with 2 Venus award nominations, recognising exceptional women in business.
Natalia is now on board with WISP too, excited to ignite passion for tech in young women. She was recognised earlier in the year as one of the twenty women leading the way in Cornwall’s tech sector! A key focus for her this year has been to study the environmental impact of tech and how we can lessen the impact of climate change and wasteful energy. Very excitingly she's just been announced as a speaker at the next FutureSync conference!
Gavin continues to champion tech and innovation, advocating for businesses and companies across the country, now with Ed by his side. Natalia and Becky are taking on ever-more innovative tech builds, delighting clients with beautiful apps, websites and more. And Paul and Rob can’t wait to reach even more people with the magic of Design Thinking. As for me, it’s time to sign off as office administrator, blogger and researcher, as Aimee returns and we swap over the baton!
Here at Elixel, we’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. We’ll be here waiting to help you innovate in the New Year! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch with any ideas you have. We'll leave you with these two cuties - our very own office dogs Dobby and Rusty (only available by appointment!).