Switchplane was founded back in 2003 by brothers Joel and Tom Fielder. Like many start-ups of the time, the story began in a converted garage. The rest, as they say, is history!
Part 1: The early years
Let's roll back to the turn of the millennium, when dial up internet was still a thing, the iPhone didn't exist, and Facebook was only a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg's eye.
Tom left college to study web design. At the same time, Joel was at the University of Surrey. There, he completed a placement year in industry programming audio software.
The stars aligned and Tom and Joel joined forces. In a converted garage, they worked on a pilot web project for university tuition fees for one of their first clients. They also started working in ecommerce with the launch of a fragrance distributor.
Over the next couple of years, Joel and Tom took on more clients, some of whom we continue to partner with today. They enjoyed facing all the challenges and learning that come with starting a business.
Part 2: Growth begins
Fast forward to 2008. Switchplane moved to its first office and hired its first three staff members to join Joel and Tom. We started working with some of our longstanding clients; wholesale fragrance distributor H&B Supplies and private hire firm British Airport Transfers.
The early 2010s saw more growth. Another office change, a Young Entrepreneur award for Joel, more staff. We also welcomed more clients such as the liquid waste management company Moody Sewage.
Part 3: Award season and process changes
In 2014, we launched the Stay Alive app for our client, Grassroots Suicide Prevention. The following year, they won an award for Technology and IT to Improve Patient Safety for this app. They won a second innovation award from the NHS Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups.
2017 saw the adoption of Agile Scrum methodology for the Switchplane team. This meant a significant improvement to the processes around how we work. Along with our clients, we became familiar with terminology such as "sprints", "daily stand up", and "burndown".
In 2018, Switchplane won an innovation award with East Sussex College Group for a work experience platform and began a successful partnership with the UK's largest specialist fencing installer Littlewood Fencing. Insurance underwriters ERGO came on board in 2019.
Part 4: The COVID years
Then 2020 struck. The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to work from home - but we loved it so have embraced and retained this way of working.
We launched Chalk Eastbourne, a local community for the digital sector. We aim to improve the perception of Eastbourne, support young talent, and make recruitment easier.
Our first SaaS product, Julia Can Help, became a reality. This product aims to help Allied Health Professionals record, reflect and report on their CPD activities - a known headache across the sector.
Part 5: Switchplane today
Today, we have a broad portfolio of custom software clients across the UK and covering a wide range of sectors. These include construction, manufacturing, education, wellbeing, logistics, travel, and insurance. See examples of our work.
Whilst we love working from home, we also have a small office within Eastbourne's FOUNDRY co-working space, which allows us to see one another more frequently and collaborate more easily.
We're also focusing on the bigger picture with initiatives for the environment, for our staff, and in our local community with Chalk Eastbourne.
Part 6: Our future
If you'd like to become part of our future and partner with us to build world-class software together, get in touch today to find out how we can help your business.