Kevin Wilson, CEO, and Luke
Wilson, CTO. Co-founders of
The development team at
our Torquay office
Although effectively still a start-up, WebBoss® is a small
UK business that has developed revolutionary proprietary
website-building software that is already being used
by some of the world’s largest companies. Founded in 2011 by
father-and-son team Kevin Wilson, chief executive officer, and
Luke Wilson, chief technology officer, the company employs ten
staff and is based in Torquay, Devon – admittedly a little unusual
for such a high-tech business. Here Kevin Wilson describes the
ambitions and values behind the foundation of this unique business,
and his hopes for the future within the UK technology market.
Our vision
The vision of WebBoss was to create a proprietary website-building, e-commerce
and hosting platform that had the security benefits and ease of use that
proprietary systems like Wix and SquareSpace have, along with the flexibility
of open-source software such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. Open-source
software is developed openly by communities of programmers, making the
code accessible to anyone. Conversely, proprietary software is developed by
one company and the code is not publicly accessible, making it more secure
from hacking. Moreover, proprietary software is also regularly updated by its
developers. If an individual needs a new website, their choice is either one of the
existing proprietary systems that will get them a low-cost, nice-looking templated
website that is technically limited, or – on the other hand – a tailor-made, highly
functional, albeit costly, open-source website. Unfortunately, open-source
systems rely on third-party plugins – or, as we call them, “modules” – which
»CEO: Kevin Wilson
»CTO: Luke Wilson
»Established in 2011
»Based in Torquay, Devon
»Services: Developers of
advanced web building and
hosting platform
»No. of employees: 10
»Used by many global
companies and UK PLCs
»ISO 9001, ISO 27001, also
WebBoss® registered TM
Highlighting best practice
»Getty Images
»Allied Wallet (one of
the fastest-growing
US payment gateway
aren’t always updated to the latest
security protocols, along with various
other third-party services such as
secure hosting, domain names, email
accounts and SSL security (the security
technology for establishing encrypted
links between web servers and
browsers), all of which need separate
ongoing management.
What makes WebBoss unique is that
it brings all these services together
into a single package. We combine
the creative freedoms and high
functionality of open-source software
along with the benefits of proprietary
packages, which means that, with
WebBoss, truly specialised, complex,
high-value business websites can
be quickly created by a competent
designer without the expense of a web
developer, reducing costs by up to 60
per cent.
Given that WebBoss-built websites
are secure, reliable and quickly
designed and built, it’s clear why –
alongside numerous small and medium
enterprises (SMEs) – many of the
world’s leading companies use, or are
partnered with, a company like ours.
Having a great product, however,
is just a very small part of having
a successful business, and a
fundamental principle of ours is not
just to have the best product but
also to run our business to the best
possible standards. We strongly
believe in staff development, training
and transparency, and involving the
team in as much of the business
operation as is practical. This approach
has created a very loyal team with
virtually every staff member relocating
to work for us. Accompanying this,
we are keen to promote women in
tech, and our first female apprentice
now holds a responsible position
working alongside our female senior
Despite a challenging local technical
infrastructure, we intend to keep our
business in the West Country. This is
because the scenery and pace of life
naturally create an inspiring working
environment, and because we hope to
expand the tech sector in this part of
the country, which at present provides
few job opportunities.
Best practice
To ensure that we maintain the
standards we aspire to, we invested in
the company becoming certified to ISO
9001 for business quality management,
and ISO 27001 for information security
management. This was no mean feat
for a company of our size. To begin
with, working to such a demanding
level of compliance was quite daunting.
However, we all take it in our stride
now, and it keeps everyone performing
to the higheststandard.
Investment and growth
WebBoss has achieved substantial
traction with a small amount of
Online customer support
and training is always a
priority with WebBoss
With WebBoss,
truly specialised,
complex, high
value business
websites can be
quickly created
by a competent
without the
expense of a
web developer
seed investment, and now that we
have a tried-and-tested product, our
immediate plans are to scale and
launch WebBoss as a global stand-
alone SaaS (Software as a Service)
product – a move for which we are
seeking further investment to ensure
that we can finance a significant
marketing campaign.
Finding investment for a tech business
in the UK is a very difficult task,
however. I believe this is because
most UK investors still haven’t entered
“Silicon Valley mode” and, from
my experience, many investors still
seem to think in a “bricks and mortar
assets” mentality. Like many similar
companies, we have virtually no
tangible assets, but our “intangible
asset” could process and deliver orders
worth upwards of £1 million in under
five minutes. In 2016, we displayed
as a start-up in Lisbon at the world’s
biggest technology exhibition, Web
Summit, which had 50,000 attendees.
We were inundated with meetings
with investors, though none were
British. The majority were from the
United States, along with several from
all over Europe, and although we are
still in touch with many of them, their
priority is to invest in businesses in
their own territories.
There are funding initiatives available
in the UK, but they don’t really fit
the software/SaaS business model,
and I believe the UK is missing out
on a great opportunity here. Getting
seed money up to £250 thousand is
relatively easy and helped by the seed
enterprise investment scheme (SEIS)
and enterprise investment scheme
(EIS). Larger funds of upwards of
£4 million from the likes of the BGF
(Business Growth Fund) also seem
relatively easy to acquire. However,
there is a huge gap in the middle,
which is where many companies need
funds to grow to the next stage. I
believe if financial institutions and/
or government could address this,
we would see substantial growth in
the UK technology market, as the
UK is never short of innovators, and
companies like ours would grow much
faster, bringing an ongoing boost to
the UK economy.
Most UK
investors still
haven’t entered
‘Silicon Valley
mode’ and, from
my experience,
many investors
still seem to think
in a ‘bricks and
mortar assets’
»Trinity Mirror plc
Demonstrating the
WebBoss system
responsiveness website