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3 Things We Learned from the U.K. Innovation Panel at Denver Startup Week

In 2017, Denver Business Journal reported that there were 200 British companies operating in Colorado and employing over 15,000 residents. As a company with dual-headquarters in the U.K. and here in Denver, our team at Matillion has seen firsthand the benefits of having offices located in two areas bursting with talent and business innovation. Denver Startup Week, a highly-anticipated week-long conference in the Mile High city, began on Monday, September 16th and Matillion was honored to take part in the “Innovation is Great” panel.


The 90-minute session covered opportunities for accessing capital in the UK, disruptive trends in the British tech sector, and hot topics like Brexit and GDPR. The panel consisted of business and technology experts from both sides of the pond, including the lead pilot from the Red Arrows (the U.K.’s version of the Blue Angels) to share his take on communication, teamwork, and resilience – traits you’ll find at successful companies across the world. 

We had a few members of #TeamGreen in the audience to support our Sales Director, Nick Tierney, as he took part in the panel on behalf of Matillion. Here’s what we learned:

Great company culture is universal

There was plenty of talk about culture and values as the panel explained why their respective companies expanded into Denver and the importance of retention in the competitive Denver job market. Tierney shared his take on why Denver was such an attractive place to open our North American headquarters. 

“We saw many similarities between the core values that were created in our Altrincham, U.K. office to what we saw in the city of Denver – we are confident without arrogance and we care about our people and our communities. It’s been easy to transition those values and our culture to our headquarters in Denver. Also, the talent pool in Denver, the fact that we are close to many of our partners, and our location and time zone help us to serve the West and Central markets very well and was a big reason we wanted to open an office here.”

Caroline Davies, the Strategic Alliance Director at UK based recruitment firm, The Frank Group, also mentioned the public transportation system and the advantage of three local universities to source talent as reasons that attracted her company to Denver.

To retain employees, the panel mentioned remote work opportunities, flexible schedules, and professional development as ways to keep talent. For Tierney, focusing on creating an inviting and open culture from the executive level down has helped Matillion employees feel invested and engaged in the direction of the business.

Like Denver, the UK tech scene is exploding

London has a huge capital market and the up-and-coming tech companies within it created an ecosystem of innovation and support. Chris Mayo, Head of Primary markets – Americas, London Stock Exchange Group mentioned that the U.K. is a cultural melting pot, attracting people from across the globe, and acting as “a magnet that sucks in talent making it a great place to network and brainstorm.” With a geographically diverse investor base and vibrant capital market, companies that expand into the U.K. can benefit from a unique support system that encourages collaboration between the creative industry and the technology sector. Mayo also reminded us that the U.K. is not just London however, and he recommended that companies in Colorado to also consider Manchester as it has become a great hub of creativity.  

Every team can benefit from detailed debriefs

According to Martin Pert, Lead Pilot for the Red Arrows (the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team in the U.K.), an intricate and detailed debriefing process is the secret to a high-performing team. Every flight for the Red Arrows is filmed and used to inform a team retrospective of the formations and maneuvers that they performed to give and receive feedback to each other.


dsw red arrows lead pilot

While recognizing it can be difficult to give feedback, each member of Pert’s team is assigned a number that their teammates can use to refer to them when sharing constructive criticism. For Pert, this helps to take keep the feedback from becoming personal. They also break the feedback into three major areas and review those three areas of feedback before their next flight. Knowing that the feedback is not personal and that their flights can always be improved helps each individual team member to receive the feedback and better their performance. 

Other fun facts we learned:

  • Not just for fans of Game of Thrones: Belfast, Ireland is the number one place in the world for North American based cybersecurity companies to open a second office location.


  • Breathe easier about Brexit: For services companies, the impact of Brexit will be minimal. GDPR is not going anywhere, however, as it is U.K. national law and continues to be enforced to protect data privacy for EU citizens.


  • Going public: Some U.S. companies are going public on the London Stock Exchange, like Bay Area-based Boku who listed on London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, to benefit from access to high-quality capital at a lower cost. 



As companies continue to get expand their global reach, the importance of understanding the strategy for business and growth in new markets is increasingly important. The panel did an excellent job sharing their perspectives on how businesses can benefit from the innovation and diverse perspectives of locations at home and abroad.

Are you interested in working at a global company with a community feel? Take a look at the videos and resources on our careers page to learn more about what it’s like working at Matillion.

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