Richard-Godfrey-rocket-makersFounded in early 2014, Rocketmakers is a Bath-based startup incubator and software development team. Stand-out web, mobile and cloud business software is what Rocketmakers is all about. We spoke to the team’s founder Richard Godfrey to talk startup success and his rocket making peers.

TechSPARK: What inspired you to set up Rocketmakers?

Richard Godfrey: Rocketmakers is all about working alongside business founders to make their first product. The inspiration really came from our passion to build new and innovative solutions and the realisation that startups are the obvious candidates for trying to change the world; they’re prepared to take the risks to make something revolutionary.

TS: How did you come up with the company name – it’s certainly memorable?

RG: Thanks! We’re “makers” and “do-ers” rather than just “talkers”, and believe everything we work on should take off and accelerate quickly upwards. Plus we could get the .com domain name for a tenner.

We’re “makers” and “do-ers” rather than just “talkers”, and believe everything we work on should take off and accelerate quickly upwards”


TS: What do you find most rewarding about your work?

RG: That’s a tough one: Working with an amazing team; creating apps which break new ground; helping founders form and fund their ideas; working at the bleeding-edge of technology… the list goes on.

TS:  Which successes are you especially proud of?

RG: We’ve seen some fantastic engagement and hundreds of thousands of pounds in follow-on funding for many of the startups we’ve worked with and/or invested in. Some great examples include emortal, Cognisess, NeighbourlyenModusIdea Squares, TimeTagtv, plus a bunch of others we’re not allowed to talk about yet.

There are also some great enterprise projects for Zendesk, Microsoft and Metro, as well as some key GB Olympic teams, which are all about making our elite athletes more successful through technological innovation.

TS:  What is the core Rocketmakers philosophy?

RG: 1. Work hard

2. Have fun

3. Help startups change the world

4. Go to 1.

TS: How do you find startups to invest in? Or do they approach you?

RG: Thankfully, all the startups we work with find us through recommendation from other startups who liked our approach, or through various local or US networks that we’re actively engaged in.

“All the startups we work with find us through recommendation from other startups who liked our approach, or through various local or US networks that we’re actively engaged in”


TS: As an entrepreneur with a strong IT background, what can you offer startups that other investors can’t?

RG: I think our unique proposition stems from being makers rather than just investors. We’re prepared to take educated risks in very early stage ideas which many investors naturally shy away from, because we’ve got an arsenal of components and intellectual property on offer to de-risk the product development.


Rocket men: (From L-R) Danny Williamson, Jonny Stoten, Jason Dorell, Keith Walker, Richard Godfrey, Paul Cross, Phil Mower, Adam Walker and Simon Bevis

Plus we’ve made practically every startup mistake in the book by doing them ourselves. That’s both a great way to learn and a huge incentive not to make them again!

TS: Are there any plans for further expansion at Rocketmakers?

RG: Absolutely! Our revenues seem to be split between the Bristol/Bath area and the United States, so we’re already a very international business and there are huge opportunities to grow on both sides of the pond.

We’re looking at a number of major investment plans on top of enabling more startups in the South West to work with each other to learn together and benefit from combined networks – something they do so well in the States.

TS: What companies do you wish you’d have invested in when they were just startups?

RG: Paul and I both worked for Microsoft for many years before starting Rocketmakers and saw the fantastic growth there first hand. Apart from the obvious ones like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Uber, I think there are some amazing startups who really do want to change the world, such as Tesla and our fellow(!) rocketmakers SpaceX and Virgin Galactic. They do real metal ones with jet engines and everything!

In the South West I would have loved to have had an early stake in Future PublishingCramer and LoveHoney – but I’m hoping some of the ones we work with now will head in the same direction.

TS: Who else do you believe is doing interesting work in the South West tech sector?

RG: Blimey, where to start? The great thing I’m seeing recently is that our amazingly entrepreneurial region is just starting to get the recognition it deserves as a key creative and technology cluster outside London. Every day we see interesting startups with good ideas, so the future for the tech sector in the South West looks incredibly bright to me.

You’ve only got to look at our friends at SETSquaredWebstart BristolThe Guild Hub in Bath, Invest Bristol and Bath and the Bristol Games Hub to see other amazing support for the tech sector here. Combined with networking groups like TechSPARK and SouthWest Founders, you’ve got a cracking opportunity to meet interesting people and start something amazing.

TS: What do you like about being based in Bath?

RG: Nothing really… apart from the fact it’s a World Heritage site which people love to visit, one of the most creative centres in the UK, and only a few minutes away from the complementary benefits and scale of Bristol. Plus we have things like the fantastic Bath Digital Festival, which we’re proud to be sponsoring again this year.

Many thanks to Richard for taking time out to talk to us. You can follow Rocketmakers on Twitter.