We’re introducing Ambassadors to TableCrowd, who are passionate about their sector or industry.
This means there will be someone with their ear on the ground on the most interesting speakers, as well as a face you’ll recognise at every dinner for that industry. Find out more about Ambassadors here and here.
Today, we’d like you to meet Gary Todd, our GovTech Ambassador! Read on and find out more about him, his business and what he’s got planned for TableCrowd diners…
Explain what you do in a sentence?
I am CEO founder of Famiio, a GovTech startup developing a LocalGov Marketplace for family services across England – think Trivago for family services – which will join-up the 500+ siloed service directories provided by local authorities, empower parents and families to access the family services they need, and save taxpayers up to £3million each year into the bargain.
What were you doing before your current role?
I am an Acoustic Engineer by training and worked in the Defence industry for more than a decade, helping develop cutting-edge submarine sonar systems.
After a career change, I joined Dorset County Council in 2008 as Family Information Manager, leading and amazing team to deliver family information, advice and guidance (IAG) to parents on anything that might help them in their roles, from flexible childcare to debt advice, activities for youn people to ageing care, and play parks to bereavement support services. This was my introduction to Family Information Services (FIS) and I later had the privilege to work as an agent for the Department of Education (DfE) on a national project, the Family Information Directory (FIDy).
This started our journey to find a better technology solution that will empower parents with the information tools they want, need and expect in the modern world.
What’s your biggest hindsight moment?
Looking back, I think my biggest revelation is that when I first started with the seed of the Famiio concept, for a long time I questioned myself – my solutions, my validity, my resilience – in essence, I suffered regularly from what many of us now recognise as imposter-syndrome.
For GovTech innovators (many of whom currently work inside Government as well as in the private sector), this is a daily reality and I would say to each one, ‘Keep going, you are already the expert you hope to be.”
If I had had the confidence in those early days to silence those inner demons, I would have saved myself much self-deprecation and become more robust earlier.
What will the next year bring?
So 2019 has lots in store that’s really exciting, both for Famiio and GovTech alike. We are negotiating a significant commercial investment in our business, which we hope will catapult us forward as a startup. This is the fruition of a long and resilience-building journey and for the sake of others, I hope to see much more prolific investment in GovTech Innovation in the next couple of years.
There’s also some great work happening in central and local government in the UK, particularly MHCLG delivering their first cohort of collaborative LocalDigital projects, and some amazing GovTech initiatives across the world. Now is the time to be at the forefront of this sector.
Not least, I am also excited about GovTech being represented at TableCrowd, and looking forward to meeting a wide range of innovative individuals looking to make government better.
Plus, my eldest daughter is getting married, so all in all it’s going to be an exciting and eventful year.
Can you share one piece of advice for someone starting in your sector?
Simple… get yourself on Twitter and be active. Twitter is one of the easiest places to make connections with GovTech key players in your line of work, as there are few gatekeepers and you can get significant engagement, as long as you exercise common sense, a light touch and don’t harass people. It’s also a great place to share your knowledge and potentially become a key voice yourself.
Another set of suggestions I have to mention is try to attend events as much as you are able, keep your ear to the ground and consider applying to sit on relevant committees or boards. I’ve been on techUK’s Local Public Services Committee now for nearly two years as a startup, alongside the likes of Intel, AWS and BT, and it has been a source of early engagement with Government, providing a host of networking opportunities and the chance to grow significant partnerships. Get yourself ‘at the table’ early on.
What are your favourite businesses in your sector?
The GovTech sector is broad-ranging and intersects with a range of other sectors, and there are some great GovTech startups out there, so it’s hard to pick out just a few. Adzuna is trailblazing and demonstrating to others how it can be done, disrupting the recruitment sector and winning a huge Government contract from a large incumbent supplier. Novoville is revolutionising Government dashboards to help local authorities deliver better services to the public by bringing clarity through multiple datasets. And AutonoMe is helping people live independently, through a simple yet innovative mobile app for those with learning disabilities.
Why are you passionate about building TableCrowd’s Govtech community?
There is huge opportunity for the UK in GovTech, a £400 billion to £1 trillion emerging global market. In the coming years, GovTech will greatly affect the lives of every one of us and I am excited to be part of what TableCrowd is doing to engage this growing community.
I am particularly keen to see the UK maintain its place as a global leader in this space, to hear the success stories of others, and to find encouragement from the many passionate and innovative entrepreneurs in this sector. I would recommend getting involved and bringing your own version of this passion to the table, for the benefit of all.
What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Not sure I have a favourite, but there’s something special about getting together over a fantastic Chinese meal in Chinatown. Magical!
You can connect with Gary through TableCrowd, then come to his very first dinner: