Article Written by Stewart Gray - 05/09/2019
Normally only the big companies or ones who make the headlines get the spotlight aimed at their beginnings, however, we are obviously proud of what we have achieved as a team, so we thought we'll shed our own light on the beginnings of Kaber Helm... including the name!
The roots of our company first started growing in the latter half of 2016. The Idea for Kaber Helm - though unnamed at the time - came to me as I worked as a data analyst for a company in Edinburgh, helping to provide directional analysis and developing solutions to help gather data and process it. Once the cogs started turning I become obsessed!
Through the remainder of 2016 into 2017, I started to look for people who could add value to my "project" as I called it at the time. After speaking to various friends and other connections there was lots of interest, but no commitments. After looking for interested people for a while, I ended up speaking to Ciaran McGovern who was interested in the project and agreed to come on board and lead our software development!
With Ciaran and I excited and raring to go, plan in hand, it was time for me to hand in my notice and begin the journey of a start-up company. In March of 2017, Kaber Helm was born, and by May of 2017 we had found our first office in Glenrothes and we soon became the first tenants of newly founded Enterprise hub Fife, Turns out Kaber Helm was also the first business to emerge from the hub and move to larger premises.
So what does it mean? Kaber Helm is a rough bastardisation of 'caber', like the Scottish tossing of the caber, and helm, being the steering wheel of the ship. in short Caber Helm was a Scottish steering group, aiming to steer people towards software and technology... Caber with a 'K' looked better for logos, so we swapped it, and there is a piece of history for you!
John, Ciaran & James - 2017 in our first office
The gap between being the first business in, and the first business out was only a 12-month round trip, but it was by no means an easy year. Our team expanded, retracted, fought, made-up, had great ideas and had some pretty guff ideas... Looking back on it, it was all part of the process, and I would go as far as to say required. Not everything goes smoothly, and the start-up lifestyle can be really stressful at times. Stability is none-existent until you find your feet and start building structure, but that doesn't come at first - or didn't for us anyway.
Later in 2017, we acquired our first customers, who are still with us today, Jag Supplies. Working with Jags and a few freelance contracts was our only source of new income and resources went on sourcing more leads and trying to concoct internal plans to generate new revenue streams, but 2017 was not the year for us to "get rich quick" or even have it easy looking back now, it was a tough and eye-opening experience that proved to, doing what we have done to get where we are now, that takes true grit, determination and an undying passion for what we do!
Moving into 2018 and that is when we eventually found our footing and started to form the basis of an actual company. We found new clients, worked with companies from all over the UK spanning various industries and we gained new experience, exposure to new environments and case studies to share and show others what can be done to make our lives easier and more efficient using software! After outgrowing the hub we moved to Kirkcaldy briefly, working alongside Proto-pic. Following our brief stint there we returned to Glenrothes during October 2018, and moved into our current HQ!
Our story has been rather well documented in our news and case studies section through the years, but there are some bits that are not always shared. One of these things is our thanks to past team members who have been in our team to help propel us forward but are not with us today. At the end of the day, our team has been diverse and has changed through the years, adapting to new situations and the struggles of running a small company. Now that we're looking back at a brief history of the company, i wanted to take the time to thank those that have shared knowledge and experiences with us, but for whatever reason are not working with us today.
Ciaran was instrumental in the forming of Kaber Helm and completion of projects to help improve our company offering. Through his time at the Helm, Ciaran worked on many projects including Kabersight, which we scrapped.. Mint CV and Jag supplies. Ciaran Left the Helm jest before we left the Enterprise Hub to re-locate to Kirkcaldy wanting to follow other avenues of business.
Mike Duncan joined the team in 2017 for a brief stint running our marketing campaigns and social media presence. Having previously executed successful strategies with Millenium gym, he came and shared knowledge while falling into place with our team. Sadly after the new year 2018, Mike left the Helm to pursue increased stability but still keeps in touch to this day, which we think is great.
After taking on the contract for the GEMS HR Management system, we had a hole in our team, we needed to arm ourselves with a new programmer! Cue James Coope. A former freelancer, James came to us with knowledge of multiple programming languages and development technologies, as well as a keen interest in keeping up-to-date with these things, fair to say James fit right in! After 6 months working with us and working on various projects, James left to seize an opportunity working in Edinburgh, still programming!
Our most recent member to come and go was Recce. Working with us for about 6 months also, and seeing James Coope out, Reece contributed to many of our projects and became lead on key accounts including Jag Supplies. Reece came to us after working as a developer in Spain... Exotic..ish! Once again though it was not to be, and similar to James, Reece left to take an opportunity developing for a company in the capital. Reece also keeps in touch and is always interested in our progress.
There are days where I sit and wonder if I shouldn't have pursued Kaber Helm; if I should have just kept my normal job and then I would avoid the super stressful times that I've experienced since starting the company... I'm pretty sure, however, those situations are the ones that actually get me out of my bed. Having my team around me to navigate through those situations and rise to the challenge when the pressure is mounting, those are the situations that make teams! Every team member above went with us to hell and back and also got a few nice rides on cloud 9 in the process, these guys helped us to grow a great company with a great knowledge sharing culture based on solving some really tough problems, for that we are extremely appreciative!
For me the people you work with is a huge piece of coming into the office every day, you need to have a dynamic approach to engagement and getting the team working together and looking out for each other, in that environment, people will run through walls together. Without my team I am nothing, without my team, this company would definitely be nothing. The team got us this far up the playing field with their drive and enthusiasm for what we do... but we're still a team, and we're still playing the field!
Monday - Thursday: 9am - 5pm
Friday: 9am - 2pm
Saturday - Sunday: Closed