Sanjay Parekh, Cocoon
Personal Fact file
Name of current organisation: Cocoon
Job Title: Co-founder
Reports to: The Board
Office location: Leeds
What does your current role involve?
As a co-founder of Cocoon, the smart little device that senses through walls to protect your whole home and keep you safe, I am part of a team of 4 that is responsible for the creation, development and marketing of the product. We are a start-up so it is all hands on deck!
What was the first Technology job you had?
I spent time as a systems accountant at British Gas Exploration when I was a graduate trainee. I already had an interest in IT and I have been fortunate to build a career in the industry.
Why did you first get into Technology?
I wanted to work in a fast paced industry that was at the heart of change. I had always been interested in technology ever since my Dad brought home a Tandy TRS-80, when I was in primary school. In 2000 I had the opportunity to start an ASP company, the forerunner to SaaS in the financial accounting software market. This was my chance to be at the beginning of a changing industry.
What has been your biggest career achievement to date?
Being a pioneer in the UK SaaS industry with my first business, webexpenses. Not only because it was my first business but it was a successful one too!
Who has been the most influential Technology person in your career to date?
I draw influence from many sources. When I was running a SaaS business the biggest influencers for me were the folks at 37signals. Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. They were great and I learnt a lot from them.
What is your strategy for the business over the next year?
We're very focused on our public launch early next year. We expect to launch in the UK and US with subscription services to follow in the second half of the year. Our aim is to delight our early customers with a very high quality customer experience. We've invested in UX and design from the start of the business and so expect that this investment will deliver an outstanding product.
Have you/would you consider starting your own Technology company?
Yes! I am currently working on my second business having sold my first technology business.
What established technology company do you most admire, and why?
37signals for the way that they have stuck to their principles and for their immense creativity in both organisational design and software from a small group of people. Many of the accepted practices of modern start-ups were pioneered by 37signals.
Which tech Start-up Company excites you most at present?
I am pretty excited by most new hardware tech start-ups. The current shift that is occurring in what were previously 'dumb' devices is incredible. It is a privilege to be a part of the ecosystem that is bring software into more physical products.
The IoT sector will see significant growth over the next 12 months as we start to see the early companies involved in this area start to deliver products that will benefit both businesses and consumers in a meaningful way.
Where do you put the UK in terms of Technology Innovation compared to other countries?
The UK compares well with other nations as we have a rich heritage of innovation. We have struggled in the past to commercialise this innovation. There is still some way to go before we can match countries like the US but we are running fast to improve all the time. Organisations like Tech City and Tech North are helping to channel the innovation on a local and regional level.
What's the best app you have ever downloaded?
Instapaper is my favourite app right now - I use it all the time.
What is on your iPod/MP3 right now?
My kids have taken over my Spotify account so I end up listening to whatever playlist they have created!
What do you do in your spare time?
Most of my spare time is spent with my family. I do enjoy reading, running and skiing when I can get to a ski resort.