A look at the career of serial entrepreneur Paul Yates from Stockport
PUBLISHED: 15:07 11 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:54 20 February 2013
The career of serial entrepreneur Paul Yates from Stockport brings a whole new meaning to the expression 'surfing the web'<br/>WORDS BY RAY KING
In little more than seven years Paul Yates has ridden the crest of the internet wave a cultural tsunami - as it swept through the worlds way of doing business.
And now, sensing the next great leap forward of the digital age, the former Poynton High School pupil has brought together four Manchester-based companies to launch the Online Ventures Group. This is full circle for Yates who is returning to his entrepreneurial roots having been at the helm for the last 18 months of Swedish listed company Getupdated as group chief executive. He took the company from a 9 million loss to a projected 2 million profit this year.
Yates, 35, who lives with his wife and two children in Marple Bridge, has enjoyed a remarkable track record in digital innovation since founding his first company, Just Search with offices in Adlington, in 2004. It specialised in SEO search engine optimisation then regarded as a magical formula that ensured clients websites, their online shop windows, turned up on the first pages of search engines like Google and Yahoo.
We fine-tuned the process at the same time as fine tuning our customer service and the way we sold it, said Yates. And the company grew very quickly from the original five or six employees to 15 and more. It was a very attractive model. So attractive, it turned out, that in November 2007 the business was sold for just under 15m two-thirds in cash and one third in shares in the purchasing company, Getupdated, on whose board he took a seat.
The original plan was for Yates to leave the company after a two year earn out but its chairman asked Yates to stay on as group chief executive to turn its fortunes around. After doing just that while living part of each month in an apartment in Stockholm a beautiful city - he finally left earlier this year.
Yates success story is all the more remarkable because his current career bears absolutely no relation to his original chosen path. He left Poynton High School for Nottingham University to read architecture, but left just two years into a seven-year course. I went into telecom sales and very quickly realised that the internet revolution was looming just round the corner. Nobody knew its potential scope, but I became enthralled by the possibilities of digital marketing.
The first service that came up was called page search, which was quite easy to understand. But very quickly, as the internet boomed, the big mystery for people was how to get their website on the first page of an internet search engine, which was all about the structure of the site, its content and the way the information was displayed.
Todays requirements are much more sophisticated, so I have created Online Ventures to bring together four fantastic companies with great potential. I am keen to use my expertise and experience to put together a full service company that can act as a one stop shop for all of our clients needs; whether thats web design, SEO or online PR. What binds each of them together is their high standards of service and great relationships with clients, and these shared values are what will make the group a success.
Each business within the group covers a different sector. Rococo is an established PR/marketing agency that deals with everything from branding to event management. Its clientele includes huge companies such as Nike, Budweiser and Nestle while also representing a number of celebrities including Michael Owen and Amir Khan.
Search Innovation specialises in SEO and has developed a reputation for creating great exposure for client brands, generating traffic to their website and increasing customer engagement. The business sets itself apart from competitors due to its vast industry experience and flexible contracts.
Via Studios is a leading multi-discipline web design and development studio with more than 10 years in the business, during which time its range of services has continued to grow. Every web design need is catered for from mobile app development to user experience and usability design, which allows the business to treat every job individually to meet each clients unique goals and aspirations.
Mobedia is the final digital agency of the quartet. It is filled with creative designers who deal with animation, social media and bespoke content management systems. Mobedias ethos is to create designs that will turn heads and generate great results for their clients. Each of these businesses, along with Online Ventures, has already created 25 jobs in the local community since last August.
Online Ventures turnover is currently 2 million and Yates confidently expects this to grow rapidly over the next year, possibly moving towards a stock market float as early as 2014.