We talked to Brian Bolam of TGMatrix, an algorithmic matching engine and fully automates the procurement & settlement elements in the supply chain.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Brian Bolam: Very well thanks.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded TGMatrix.
Brian Bolam: I am an engineer by training but moved into logistics in the early eighties. Around the turn of the millennium, I concluded that there were two key obstacles to the progression of the logistics/supply chain sector. A lack of interconnectivity and visibility. This made supply chain collaboration difficult if not impossible. Collaboration is the last bastion of the industry and results in “shippers paying too much” whilst “carriers make woeful returns”. I set up my first start-up company OmPrompt to solve the interoperability issue by facilitating any message format translation using smart digital technology. This business is just about to be sold. Whilst at OmPrompt I started to look at how to solve the second obstacle to collaboration, a lack of visibility. This led me to form TGMatrix in 2014, buying out the company from OmPrompt.
TGMatrix is an algorithmic matching engine and fully automates the procurement & settlement elements in the supply chain. We have so far raised £1.6M in equity from friends and family, business angels, and Crowdfunding. We are currently raising a further £1.25M.
How does TGMatrix innovate?
Brian Bolam: By understanding the pinch points and laborious manual processes in the supply chain and developing digital automation solutions for them.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Brian Bolam: Companies are less likely to commit to change priorities. In particular, there is more readiness to adopt digitalization as opposed to persevering with largely manual processes.
Whilst digital marketing had already become more important before the pandemic it will take on much greater importance and become the main route to market.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Brian Bolam: Not really, we were always a 100% virtual company and have continued as such.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Brian Bolam: Other than a move to 100% virtual meetings. Customers have in large part been loyal.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Brian Bolam: Yes we had a small BBL and it helped at a difficult time.
Your final thoughts?
Brian Bolam: In general the pandemic has accelerated a market move towards automation and digitalization which should help our business in the future.