From a young age Piers came to the realisation that he did not want to leave his life to chance. Determined to be financially independent by the age of 30, he set up his first company, an IT consultancy called Stayward, at the age of 15. Unlike many of his contemporaries who were busy being teenagers, Piers spent his teens learning how to run a business and travelling down to London on the weekends to build his client base.
By 19, despite the wishes of his parents and teachers, Piers had resisted the pressures to continue education and go to University, instead choosing to jump into the world of work. It was through his employment at Softcat, an IT infrastructure provider, that Piers experienced first-hand the impact company culture can have on its employees, lessons that would prove significant when founding Internet Service Provider, Fluidata in 2004.
Despite his successes, Piers left Softcat after just two years to once again pursue his own business. A risky move but one that paid off, Fluidata may have begun life in Piers’ bedroom but by the time he departed as Chairman in March 2019, it had grown into a £30m company.
Piers knew that he wanted to create something that was not centred around him as an individual, but instead an enterprise that would be self-fulfilling and long lasting, long after he himself moved on. It was his belief that one of the most important investments a business can make is in their people. Even in the beginning, Fluidata’s culture had a strong emphasis on training and upskilling, creating an environment where staff were able to grow into their roles and develop as individuals. Piers was eager to use the business as a platform to mentor, and for this reason he predominantly hired graduates, many of whom stayed with him for a number of years, moving through the ranks to become future leaders of the business.
Piers believes passionately that anyone can make their own luck and that there is no secret to success, just a lot of hard work, late nights and not being afraid to invest in yourself. He has mentored several young people throughout his career, offering advice and encouragement, especially to those who have chosen a different route to higher education as he himself did. Piers is keen to show that University is not the only path to success and indeed it is often those who allow themselves to explore the alternatives to the well-trodden path, whatever that may be, who ultimately have the most impact.
In the 15 years that Piers spent at the helm of Fluidata, the company went from strength to strength, winning numerous awards multiple times including the Tech Track 100 award, Deloitte fast 50 and being named a Sunday Times Best Small Company to work for three times. It was an award that was of significance to Piers, having placed so much importance on building the culture at Fluidata. Piers himself has also won a number of awards, including Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the Queen’s Award for Innovation which he was presented by the Queen at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2014.
In 2016 The Rigby Group became investors in Fluidata and later that year, the company was merged with One Point, a mobility specialist, to form FluidOne. Combining the services of both companies allowed FluidOne to provide end-to-end connectivity, taking the company to the next level. Piers too was ready to take the next step, becoming Chairman of FluidOne in 2018.
At this point many people would simply enjoy the success of their hard work but Piers has never wanted to become too comfortable. Stepping down as Chairman in February 2019, when the business was sold to a new private equity firm, he has now set his sight on the energy market with Tewke. As well as this he is a founding Director of Oversley, a property company that has most recently built a not-for-profit children’s nursery in Bidford-on-Avon. Oversley is about to about to embark on a ‘grand designs’ style redevelopment of a castle where Piers, his wife Emma and their two young daughters currently live.
Always keen to look at the bigger picture, Piers is launching End of 9 to 5 (#Eo925), a political events company aiming to provide a platform for discussion and give a voice to the business work force in what has become an increasingly turbulent political age.
As he grows older, Piers’ ambitions have grown with him. When he was 15 years old, he set himself a set of goals that he wanted to achieve by the age of 30. Now 37, true to form, Piers has a new set of goals. Where they will take him is yet to be seen but one thing is for sure, it won’t be conventional.