Meet the member: Mark Kuhillow
“It’s time to pay the experience of my battle scars forward” – meet Mark Kuhillow, Exchange’s new Entrepreneur in Residence.
“It’s time to pay the experience of my battle scars forward”, says Mark Kuhillow, the Manchester-based entrepreneur that has recently exited SaaS platform, SingleView which was acquired by international affiliate marketing network, Awin.
The media and digital marketing veteran started working in online businesses in the late 90s has joined Exchange, the tech start-up support scheme, as its latest Entrepreneur in Residence. Mark will use his three decades of experience to mentor and advise the current cohort of over 30 ambitious entrepreneurs that are members of the Department Bonded Warehouse based programme.
“I’ve had a great time scaling SingleView globally. It allowed me to understand regional cultures and nuances from a product management perspective. Integrating in the US isn’t the same as Germany, and so on. I now know how to work across different locations and how they work together under one project umbrella.”
But it is the start-up and scale-up enterprises that he is now switching his focus to. Mark was always the ‘go-to’ person in his group with years of experience in media, marketing and running businesses. After years of backing himself and focusing on his own enterprises, he wants to change that and support the growing Manchester tech scene.
“I have a genuine interest in tech and a passion for innovation, so this role is perfect for me and what I want to do following the acquisition of my last business and its tech platform. I have run both bootstrapped and venture-funded businesses and learnt many lessons the hard way. So, anything I can share to support the next generation of tech businesses on their journeys might save them a sleepless night or two.”
What are your ambitions for the Entrepreneur in Residence role?
“Naturally I want to help businesses grow and scale, and as a wider point, develop the exciting Manchester tech scene that is evolving in the city centre. It has completely changed from when I was at the same stage as many of the Exchange businesses. I think I can play a real role in helping businesses understand how to drive real value to prospective clients and their stakeholders.
“I’ve already spent time with Tech Nation Rising Stars finalist Sam Royle, of SoSquared, and Marc Shirman at BexCard and the team at Housr, and had some great conversations. Hopefully I’ve been able to pass on some tips to them as they’ve certainly inspired me. Each business and entrepreneur has a totally different approach and it’s this variety that I’m also looking forward to.
“I manage to fill my day each week with chats and sessions with the founders, and as I spend more time here, I plan to get deeper under the skin of many of the budding businesses.
“I like to find out what makes the founders tick – what’s their reason for starting their businesses. I try to discover the passion and motivations behind the idea, why they do what they do, and not just what problem they are trying to solve. If the founder has started their enterprise for the right reasons, they have a better chance of success. Once we have established it they have something that ‘works’ we can work together to figure out how best to execute their plan.”
“I understand tech but I’m not a coder. I know how to deliver shareholder value, a unique proposition and how to scale the technology. This is what I want to bring to the businesses based at Exchange and also help them think like me and take a step away from their product to see if from the eyes of others.
What most excites you about Exchange?
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the businesses here more. Rediscovering my roots and the feeling of founding a tech business and being back at the centre of the city’s tech scene.
“Alice and Mo, the team that run the programme, are great and very energetic. This is infectious and transcends the group. You can feel it in the group sessions and events, even just working in and walking around the space.
To find out more how you can join the next cohort of the Exchange programme and collaborate with Mark, and the rest of our programme partners, visit Exchange.