Start Up Stories


In your own words – what do you do?

We combine educational technology with one to one support to improve outcomes for vulnerable people in Social Care settings.

What led you to start this business?

Over 13 years ago I had left University after completing his Video Production Degree and was working in the industry. Whilst working in the Video Production industry I got a 2-week ‘temp job’ on the side supporting vulnerable young people with Learning Disabilities and Mental Health needs at the local FE College. I enjoyed this experience so much that I stopped taking on video production work and focussed my career on vulnerable people. I progressed to become a full-time support worker, completing my PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) specialising in vulnerable students and I spent 5 years as an Assistive Technology specialist.

I founded AutonoMe in 2015 by combining my understanding of the challenges faced by vulnerable people and my skills in Video Production and technology to produce high-quality instructional video content that specifically guided vulnerable people successfully through activities. After I my prototype received high praise I decided to set up a business so vulnerable people could have access to this technology.

What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now and how are you making it happen?

We’ve been working in partnership with NHS Digital, Local Government Association, 5 Local Governments and other key partners to further develop AutonoMe to support vulnerable people in employment.

What is your proudest moment so far?

I’m fortunate enough to have a few;

  • Recruiting a number of experts in my sector that I really admire, share my passion and keen to contribute to what we’re building
  • Building an experienced network of advisors, mentors, NEDs that I’m able to contact for support when faced with many of the typical challenges that come with building a company
  • Raising over £500,000 investment from a variety of entrepreneurs. I never really had the ‘family and friends’ round to start the company as neither my friends nor family were in the financial position to support my venture which, understandably to a lot of them, seemed wacky. 
  • Continuing to build a service that evidently makes a huge impact on the lives of vulnerable people – I love it when we get feedback from users, parents and support workers about how AutonoMe is helping. That’s the best part

Are there any obstacles that have jolted your path to success?

Certainly the main obstacle is that my background was in vulnerable young people, teaching, assistive technology, video production and the public sector – not in Business. This means I continue to experience, for the first time, the complexity that comes with building a full blown scalable service based around a product I had an idea for. I really enjoy this part of the journey and whilst challenging I have and continue to obtain as much knowledge and experience from others as possible.

What would you do differently if you started now?

This question comes up a lot and I do find I answer it slightly different at different times in my journey. Right now I don’t think I would do anything particularly differently. That’s not to say that I’ve not made huge mistakes, it’s actually the learning from these mistakes that has enabled me to avoid repeating them and get me to where we are today. There are certainly pros and cons of strategic decisions I have taken and consequences from scenarios that I am unable to have a significant impact on.

Does your original business plan reflect where you are now?

Haha, no. The vision is still the same and the drive to create a dynamic shift in the Social Care sector remains the same. However, our knowledge and experience of the market has matured and this is reflected in our business plan particularly in areas such as price point, routes to market, operational modelling, product support, KPI’s, technology strategy and so on.

What’s your vision for the next 5 years?

We currently support around 300 service users across Adult Social Care, mostly people aged 18 – 40. In the next 5 years we want to scale-up our support across the Public Sector to 3,500 service users including vulnerable Children and Young People, Care Leavers, employment and more.

Do you have any advice/tips for founders considering raising investment at some point?

You first really need to understand why you want investment, what will it enable you to do with the Business. Do your research to understand where your investment proposition sits in the investment market – what stage you are at and whom would be looking to back companies at this stage. What can the investors offer the company beyond just capital and what do they want in return. A key thing for me has always been to find investors and/or funds that share our passion and vision.

Who or what has shaped who you are?

My journey through life has shaped me; the friends I’ve made, the people I’ve met, the jobs I’ve had and my experiences. I’ve always been fortunate enough to have really supportive parents and was lucky enough to find something I was really passionate about at a young age.

Can you recommend any useful tools/networks /services to someone looking to start a technology business?

One of the best decisions I made was joining the Bristol SETsquared high-growth Business incubator. The Entrepreneurs in residence, the mentors, the networking opportunities, the workshops etc really played a key part in laying the foundations from which I wanted to grow the company from. I would strongly recommend joining an incubator and/or an accelerator programme for anyone looking to start a technology business. I would also recommend getting involved in networking events, many of these can be found on eventbrite or Meetup or hosted by groups such as TechNation. I’ve also found the FoundersNetwork Slack channel really useful.

What’s the one event you make sure you attend every single year?


What are your success tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Have a good idea with a clear vision, get some customers that can see your vision and happy to come along for the ride, get yourself a good mentor/support network, get together a good founding team, join an incubator, don’t be afraid to fail, spend time on your elevator pitching abilities and try enjoy the journey. 

In your opinion, what’s the number one thing founders need to look out for when growing a business?

Focus on growing your communication skills. To be able to explain your vision to investors, the market, clients, employees etc you need to have excellent communication skills. Spend time to really think about what you’re saying, how you are communicating and how your communication is being digested by others.

What have you learnt about yourself during your business journey?

The journey has really helped me realise where my strengths and weaknesses lie. The key for me is to play to my strengths and address my weaknesses.

Thanks, William! Where shall we go to find out more about you and AutonoMe?

My LinkedIn can be found here:

Our company website can be found here: