In Touch Networks is back in the ranking for the second year running. The disruptive recruiter has changed the way that companies hire board members - especially the elusive yet crucial non-executive director. The platform uses cutting-edge technology to match its users with skilled professionals and consultants. And unlike other recruitment firms, it simply charges a flat subscription fee to access its services. “We now have 220,000 members across six platforms,” says boss Matthew Roberts, 32. “We help growing businesses find non execs, finance directors, investors, female directors and business transformation experts.”
The Manchester-based firm, which was founded three years ago, has innovation at its heart. Having established a loyal customer base, In Touch has now branched out into training and development – such as career coaching - and the firm now hosts 60 events a year. “We’re obviously doing something right,” says Roberts. “We’ve massively increased our growth rate. Memberships have gone through the roof, and we boast a 97pc renewal rate year-on-year, which we’re delighted about.” The team has doubled in size over the last 12 months to hit 120 employees, and In Touch is opening an office in New York to meet international demand.
“We’ve seen an opportunity in the US, and done some trial marketing out there, which has been really well received,” reveals Roberts.
“We’ve been spending loads of time in New York and it’s been amazingly fun. And when you enjoy doing something, you create the best possible product and solution for the consumer.” Roberts is currently weighing up several acquisitions Stateside to help cement In Touch’s American client base. “The market size there is a great lure.”
However, Roberts is determined not to allow the US business to distract him from the domestic opportunity. “We haven’t even scratched the surface in the UK,” he claims. “We currently have 17 networks that are in various stages of development.”
In Touch Networks is in the enviable position of balancing growth and profit. “We’ve been profitable since day one,” claims Roberts. “We’ve never borrowed any money and we’re cash flow positive.” Roberts credits mentor and chairman John Laithwaite for helping him to build a sustainable business: “He is incredibly inspiring,” says Roberts of the JLA Group founder.
Roberts is currently laying the foundations to supercharge future growth. “We’ve got an amazing business but the secret to successful growth is keeping things as simple as possible,” he says. “A lot of companies, as the team gets bigger, add in layers of complexity that aren’t always needed.”