Andy Kent doesn’t fit the stereotype of a typical CEO.

Described as ‘Britain’s most energetic tech entrepreneur’ he’s the self-styled ‘ringmaster’ of his circus-themed office, which he says reflects their unique culture.

In his spare time he likes to give HIS autograph to celebrities to see their reaction and is a massive supporter of young people and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Speaking at TechBlast’s latest Going 4 Growth roundtable, he jokingly describes Angel Solutions as a ‘22-year overnight success story’.

“You hear in the media about becoming an overnight success but it’s taken us 22 years to get here,” he says. “It’s hard work.

“I’ve always said ‘we’ll be as big as we need to be’. I’ve never set out to have 10,000 employees.

“We launched in 1999 and have 50 staff. We wanted to scale. We had plans to grow our turnover from £3m to £4m to £5m but then this thing called COVID came along.

“Our growth strategies are based on well thought-through plans. We have had very definite plans for growth – ‘go big or go home’. We changed that slightly last year to ‘get back on the front foot’ as we’ve responded to the huge change that COVID has put on our growth strategy.”

‘I wish I’d launched my business earlier’

Angel Solutions works exclusively in the education industry, a sector which has undergone huge disruption because of COVID.

Even someone as naturally energetic as Kent doesn’t try and underestimate the impact of the pandemic.

“We work with 20,000 schools and local authorities but for the last two years there has been no exam data and no Ofsted inspections,” he explains.

“It was really hard to get hold of any teachers when schools were missing 16 members of staff because of COVID and everyone was getting used to remote teaching.”

The result was Angel Solutions had to adapt their own business plan.

As the education system starts to return to some type of normality, Kent says Angel Solutions is well-placed to lead the charge.

“We have great products and great people,” he says. “We’ve continued to invest in our people, many of whom have been with us for a long time. We’re now getting back on the front foot.”