Why I Work In… is a monthly feature, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, where we ask people about their jobs and the industry they work in. This month it’s Tim Mercer who is the founder and CEO of the cloud technology business, Vapour, in Lindley. We put our questions to him.

Tell us a little bit about Vapour

We were established in 2013 to shake up the tech space. I predicted that cloud technologies had the ability to transform the productivity, efficiency and scalability of organisations large and small, so I left the corporate world to establish a company that could achieve exactly these types of benefits.

Fast forward to 2021, and ‘digital transformation’ is a commonly used phrase in the business environment. And, because Vapour has been providing cloud solutions since day one, we’re now really trusted when it comes to delivering such customer projects.

Whether we’re hired to execute a cybersecurity, network connectivity, or next generation communications brief – or anything in between – our goal is to provide extremely sophisticated technology, without the jargon, or the fuss. Simple. Clever. Always there.

That’s why we’re trusted by ambitious SMEs through to large household names like JCT600 and Betfred.

And what’s your role there – how would you describe your job to an alien?

I’m the founder and CEO. It’s my role to keep a level head, encourage innovation and ensure our eye remains on the long game – I want colleagues and customers to be happy on that journey too.

How long have you worked in this sector?

You could say I ‘fell’ into tech. I joined Telewest (now Virgin Media Business) back in 1999, and worked my way up to a senior management position. I actually started my career in the armed forces!

What skills make someone a good CEO?

CEOs are different from one company to the next, and what makes a good CEO arguably depends on the sector and culture of the organisation. For me, in our world, I think vision, an appetite for considered risk taking, confidence, patience (which isn’t always easy), being comfortable around numbers, and having a passion for bringing out the best in people. I want Vapour to be the best it can be – to achieve that, I need to hire people who are better than me in their respective roles. Some leaders struggle with this.

What’s your advice for people looking to start their own tech firm?

  • Do your research. And then do some more. Seek the input of people who can share their experiences and/or inspire you – admitting you don’t know everything is not a flaw.
  • Don’t ever think the idea is too small – disruptive tech has to start somewhere.
  • Approach funders – securing finance isn’t easy, but with conviction in your plan, you may find you can attract more investment than you first thought.
  • And, as you grow, surround yourself with hard working, committed and decent people – it can be lonely at times, especially in the early days.

If you could describe your job in only three words, which would you choose?

Fulfilling. Challenging. Fun – all in equal measure. It will undoubtedly eat into more time than you ever anticipated, which is sometimes amazing, and sometimes a huge pressure.

What do you love most about it?

Even though I can plan my weeks they are never the same, and they never go to plan! It takes a certain type of person to thrive on this, but for me, the good, the bad and the ugly is all exciting!

What word would your colleagues use to describe you?

I’d love to say determined or hilarious (some would no doubt say I’m also annoying for both of those reasons!)

Where do you hope your career may take you?

Somewhere happy.

If someone is reading this and thinks, I’d love to work at Vapour, what should they do?

Tell me why, personally. I love meeting people who are passionate – we’re growing at pace and are always on the lookout for likeminded colleagues who want to make a difference to customers’ businesses.