Gareth Willams, CEO and Founder of YellowDog took home the award for the Founder of the Year at The SPARKies 2019.

Gareth’s significant entrepreneurial spirit, continuous commitment and renowned success led the judges to believe he was the perfect candidate to win this year’s prize.

Since YellowDog was founded in 2015, the company has become the only intelligent and predictive scheduling and orchestration platform for hybrid and multi-cloud management on the planet. We wanted to hear about Gareth’s secrets for success.

Who Dares Wins

Gareth is certain there is a very specific mindset of an entrepreneur – one that will determine how you fair in the business world.

He tells us the difference is, “The relentless optimism. The resilience. The ability/ need to think on your feet. The capacity to deal with certain amount of ‘crazy’.

“I heard some chap say that if senior business managers and leaders are like the officers of the army, navy or air force, then entrepreneurs are like the Special Forces: they respond quickly, don’t need a chain of command, are highly skilled and never say never! Who Dares Wins!”

The journey of being a founder naturally contains many ups and downs. Gareth says the biggest challenge has always been sales, “However much clients want us, sales will take longer than you think.”

Heart-warmingly, he tells us one of the biggest successes is his staff. Gareth says, “I’m very proud of how the team feel about working for YellowDog; about the purpose they have for doing what we do and helping our customers.”

Conversations with friends

Gareth tells us about the organic beginnings of YellowDog. He says it emerged from “a conversation with an old colleague and friend about the potential to crowdsource computing power from consumers and reselling it to businesses.

“That idea was like a brain worm that wouldn’t let go. That pup of an idea has grown into YellowDog.”

This small idea has now developed into a complex tool that enables users across the globe to accelerate and optimise even more complex data processes.

Gareth explains more, “Today, we serve organisations in Financial Services and CGI and are exploring other industries.

“The technology automates the selection of the best source of compute for every workload, delivering new levels of prediction and efficiency in cost and performance optimisation.”

And what’s next for YellowDog? As Gareth says, “World domination. Mwahahaha.

“Seriously, we’re growing fast and I want to continue to grow in a way that is right for our customers, our investors and right for the team.”

Gareth wants to ensure the quality of YellowDog remains impeccably high as they continue to expand. He says, “We already have customers all over the world, and offices in two countries. In the future we’ll have offices in different continents, customers spanning multiple industries.

“And YellowDog will still be a great place to work.”

Pearls of wisdom

We asked Gareth for three pieces of advice for aspiring founders:

1. Don’t do it. Seriously, it’s really hard.

2. If you do do it, make sure you have plenty of support around you. Emotional support is as important as business and financial support.

3. Find your first believers. You’re pre-product, pre-revenue, pre-everything. You need people to believe in you and what you’re going to do before you have any evidence that it’s going to work. They may be an early investor, or your first member of staff. Listen to them as they are as committed as you are.

Thank you to Gareth for taking the time to talk to us – and congratulations on winning the Founder of the Year award!