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Melissa Hendry

Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Melissa Hendry

Melissa Hendry is Co-founder and Managing Director of global technical services provider, ddroidd. With more than 15 years’ experience in senior leadership roles within the IT, telecommunications and digital sectors, Melissa has played a significant role in driving key strategic growth, operational direction as well as the implementation and monitoring of core processes, policies and partner relationships with some of the UK’s biggest names.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

I stumbled into the world of tech after being offered my first role in a telecommunications company called aql. I spent five years there as operations manager and a further five years as operations director where I oversaw the formation and growth of the internal teams, processes, security accreditations and compliance, and operational structure, whilst expanding the service offerings and our physical network and infrastructure.

I later spent three years in operations director roles in SaaS businesses, implementing the operational processes and technical platforms required to scale, before moving agency side as operations director for Delete Agency. It is here where I met Catalin and Oana, the other co-founders of ddroidd. 

Established in November 2020, ddroidd is a global technical services provider. We build and manage complex software development projects, and have offices in Leeds and Romania, where we employ 110 people.

We’re also passionate about sustainability and educating people on the environmental impact (power consumption) that inefficient websites, digital platforms, and technical architecture play in consuming unnecessary power.

We started with ambitious targets to reach £3m turnover in our first year, which we exceeded, billing £3.2m. We’re now on-track to exceed our £6m turnover target and double our team in year two.

How did the idea come to you for the company?

ddroidd was born from a shared love of technology and service delivery. The founding team each has more than 14 years of leadership experience in the IT industry, and we were confident in our ability to build and deliver our vision together. We knew we wanted to disrupt the market in three ways:

  • Creating sustainable technology solutions – Many businesses do not consider the role that web applications have on the environment. We knew we wanted to use our platform and technical expertise to educate and deliver energy-efficient, sustainable software.
  • Being a people-first employer – We wanted to create a company that champions our people and their happiness over profits.
  • Championing women in tech – With two out of four of the founders and directors being women, it was important for us to champion diversity internally and to push ahead of the market average for women in IT and in senior leadership roles. We hire with diversity in mind, ensuring a cross-section in the disciplines we build and actively promote opportunities to develop leadership skills and mentoring opportunities. Our current male/female ratio sits at 46% female out of 110 employees, where the market average sits around 26.2%. We’re proud of the statistic and continue to push toward the 50/50 percentile.

How did you achieve awareness?

Establishing and raising awareness of ddroidd has been a combination of utilising the team’s networks and relationships to source and build a new business pipeline, along with a strategic PR and marketing plan to increase ddroidd’s media presence and online footprint. We pride ourselves on our technical skills and capabilities so have used this to become thought leaders within the industry, particularly on sustainable technology.

What are the key successes?

  • Exceeded first year turnover target
  • Team growth – We became a team of 100 experts across three offices.
  • International client expansion – We became a go-to technical specialist globally with several new business wins internationally.
  • International office expansion – We increased our international regional presences in the UK (Leeds) and Romania (Cluj and Iasi).
  • Launched a pioneering (award-winning) A+++ framework – Providing a benchmark for businesses to work towards, reduce carbon emissions of their digital platforms, increase performance, and reduce costs. It’s hoped this approach will eventually become standard practice across the industry.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

  • Starting a new business in the middle of a pandemic – With no face-to-face meetings or networking opportunities, we maximised online team time and events, set clear objectives and roles and leaned on previous relationships when looking for new clients and staff.

We’re a strong team, with a lot of trust and respect for each other, which helps a lot, especially in the more challenging times.

  • Being a new brand within the industry – We worked to build our brand presence online and through thought leadership articles and word of mouth through our clients.
  • Attracting new staff – at all levels to join a new business was initially overcome through our, (and our teams) personal connections and relationships.
  • Obtaining new business – Initially, with networking opportunities low, and IT and marketing budgets not secure due to the pandemic. We networked and kept showcasing our results and approach.

What are your plans now/for the future?

We’ve ambitious targets for our second year of business to double our headcount and turnover.

Most importantly we aim to be a local employer of choice. We’re extremely passionate about promoting a healthy work/life balance and supporting our team members with their career development and with a variety of company benefits. Giving them a voice to say what’s important, what we do well and what we can improve on, to ensure we’re giving back to them and providing the tools and environments they need to thrive.

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

I’d say to try to build your personal network – attend events if you can, online and offline. There are so many events where people share their experiences and knowledge that there’s always something new to learn and someone new to meet. You never know where those connections will lead you.

The journey starts with a single step – take it!

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

Remember why you started. Trust your gut, trust yourself and surround yourself with passionate people, who support you and your vision. Be humble, ask questions, seek opportunities to learn and always support others where you can along the way.  

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

Our team’s saying is that “hard things are hard” and sometimes it’s important to pause and remember that. But that’s also where growth happens, so keep pushing through.

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?

Instagram – @weareddroidd

Facebook – @weareddroidd

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/mhendry

Website – https://ddroidd.com