Northern Stars: Dom Murphy, Geek Talent

Northern Stars: Dom Murphy, Geek Talent

The next of Tech North's Northern Stars for us to profile comes from just down the road from our offices, in Sunny Sunderland. Dom Murphy is the man behind Geek Talent, and he isn't shy about just how talented a geek can be.

Tell us all about your business, in 100 words or less...
We are a data science company with a focus on reducing the skills gap between education and employment through our digital products.  We bring real-time insight to help everyone from people, companies and governments make better decisions.

And how would you explain it to your Grandma?
We help get good people into good jobs, in lots of different ways.

Where did the idea come from? What motivated you to start your own business?
Part of my previous job was to outsource large numbers of people from the UK to other countries in Eastern Europe, India and China. I saw the rise of more people starting to work remotely with companies moving to smaller head offices and taking on an increasing number of freelance staff. 

There are now 1.3bn people who can work remotely now and this is continuing to rise as internet speeds improve around the world. This got me thinking about the future of work, the future of employment and the future of companies which are becoming increasingly blurred as they work with a more distributed workforce.

The problem with being able to work with anyone on the planet is finding them so I decided to create a search engine which makes searching for people as easy as a performing a Google search. I also wanted to use this valuable data on millions of people’s careers to help change careers advice by showing the most important skills in each career and how others got into these careers which led to us creating a new innovative careers platform.

We hope we will radically change the education system over time to ensure no one graduates with a skills gap caused by studying the wrong curriculum.

Have you raised finance so far? If so, how?
We have raised £300,000 so far in seed investment to get the company off the ground and will be looking for more investment to make us global.  On one of my weekly journeys on the train to London I met our first investor, a respected property developer who then introduced me to another North East tech business owner who both invested in Geek Talent and the vision. 

What are your most and least favourite parts of your job?
The most favourite parts of my job are seeing an initial concept and idea turn into a real business employing people in my home town.  The least favourite parts are the travel requirements with a young baby at home, as I try to balance family and working life.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to build and create things and originally wanted to be an architect or engineer but turned to computing when I was given my first computer when I was 10 years old.  I was hooked from this point on and knew that I wanted to work in the tech sector and go on to University and forge a career in this exciting industry, which is changing so much of the world around us.

How did it feel to be crowned one of TechNorth’s Northern Stars?
Very proud for the hard work of the team who we now who got us to this stage.  They have taken the original idea and made it into something amazing and I’m looking forward to creating new products and solving big challenges together in the future.

Which of the prizes do you think will be of most value to you and your business?
The most valuable is having the backing of Tech North behind our company and helping us build our business and to network on a global scale – the more cheerleaders we have as a business the faster and bigger we will grow.

What’s next for you, and where do you see your business in a year?
In the next year I hope that we can that we help millions of people find new and exciting careers, make headway in closing the skills gap between industry and education and start to grow our company globally into a recognised brand and even one of the future multi-billion pound companies.