Removing bias from business

Removing bias from business

Following an army career spanning 11 years – Joe Kay is an entrepreneur on a mission – a mission to remove internal politics and groupthink from business teams around the globe...

It has been quite a challenge for us to get hold of Enswarm founder Joe Kay – given the fact the start-up is currently in the middle of launching its first ever seed funding round.

After numerous e-mails, we finally got in touch with Joe and caught up with him after he touched back down onto UK soil following his latest trip to the US.

Enswarm is a London-based tech start-up which has created a ‘team intelligence’ platform to remove human biases from key business processes.

In a nutshell, it acknowledges the difficulties people face when working in teams and helps them to overcome them using team intelligence tools to remove human cognitive biases, office politics and groupthink.

The idea for the business stems from Joe’s army career. When asked what sparked his lightbulb moment, he told BQ: “Personal frustration with the internal politics and groupthink that peoples’ human biases cause in large organisations.

“I was in the army at the time which was an amazing first career, but like any organisation with a large number of people working in it, the army has its fair share of people related problems that I think technology could help solve.”

After several years of research, designing and forming his own team, Joe finally launched the business in 2014 and after two years of R&D, Enswarm has now secured its first cohert of clients.

He added: “I have bootstrapped the business using money saved from my operational tours, consulting work and a small investment from friends and family.

“We have taken the business to the point where we have just started converting pilot customers to paying ones and we are now raising a seed round to accelerate our growth.”

The journey hasn’t been an easy one however, and like any start-up, Joe has had to overcome a series of challenges along the way.

“There have been so many big challenges,” said Joe, “it’s difficult to know where to start. Early on it was putting together the right team, I had several false starts with people who turned out not being the right fit for me or the business. The early tech development was also very tricky as everything took longer than we initially estimated.

“More recently it has been knowing how to explain to potential investors what we do quickly, via a pitch deck, without me being there in person to explain things. We are trying to define a new market and trying to summarise the opportunity is really difficult to do, genuinely it’s the hardest 12 slides I’ve ever put together.”

This hasn’t deterred Joe from his goal of making Enswarm a success however and with his seed funding round just getting off the ground and his team in place, he is ready to take the business to the next level.

“Our next big target is to sell to bigger and bigger customers! He said. “We are about to start a pilot with one of the major supermarkets and are in talks with a number of other household names, we’ve got some fantastic early adopters but securing our first larger enterprise sale is the big target. 

“However, running a start-up is a bit like being a plate spinner, you can’t just focus on one plate at a time and to scale the business at the rate we want to we need to raise a seed round, which is also taking up a fair amount of time.

“In five years I would like to be the first choice for any organisation that wants to give their people digital tools to improve their teamwork.”

Enswarm is also being supported by Empact Ventures, which helps entrepreneurial organisations, startups and non-profits to create social and economic impact through enterprise and collaboration.

Kosta Mavroulakis, founder of Empact Ventures, said: "Enswarm is a hugely exciting business as they are trying to solve the huge problem how to get people to work together effectively in a totally new way whether that's in corporations, agencies or startups who are always looking for new ways of working.

"On the surface their tools look simple, but there is a lot going on behind the scenes and I believe they have an exciting future ahead of them."