Hi, my name is Matt Hopkins.
I grew up in Texas but have been living on the South Coast of England since 1992. I graduated from Texas A&M in 1988 with a degree in Economics (Agricultural) after changing course from my lifelong ambition of becoming a veterinarian to pursue my passion for business.
From paper-routes to firework-stands, I was always interested in starting and running my own business when growing up. At A&M I belonged to the Society of Entrepreneurship and New Ventures (ENVE) and worked my way through college running a photography business that employed more than a dozen part-time photographers and a handful of full-time office staff.
It was at the photography business where I discovered my love for computers and programming; creating a comprehensive software program that become an essential management tool and ultimately contributed to the company value when it was sold towards the end of my senior year.
I’ve now been working in technology for more than twenty years and have consulted, advised and managed engagements with many of the world’s top companies.
After college, I worked for a software consulting company in Dallas where I was frequently promoted and recognised for contributions to both clients and the business.
I love Dallas, but I wanted the experience of working overseas and so in 1992 I was hired by a small software consulting firm on the South Coast of England. In 1994 I invested in the business and in 1996 was appointed Managing Director. The business grew to its peak of £3.5M in 2001 and was engaged by Borland to build their professional services organisation (PSO) for Europe with an option to acquire. I left the company in 2007 and fully divested in 2012 to make room for other interests.
In 2001, I started a search engine marketing company called Vertical Leap and introduced a new concept into the market called Managed Search Engine Marketing. Since then we have evolved and innovated in an ever-changing industry. We achieve better results and are 4x more efficient by combining intelligent algorithms with smart people; combining all those years of search marketing and digital experience with some amazing technology for medium-sized businesses in the UK. We have over 50 employees, sales of £3.6M, and have achieved sustained growth every year – even during slower economic conditions.
In July 2016, I sold Vertical Leap to the Sideshow Group. Collectively, we are now one of the top ten independent digital agencies in the UK. I have remained with the company and am excited about what can be achieved in a larger, more diverse group.
I believe that most people will have at least three different careers in their lives; for me, that means three primary businesses. I have built and sold two now and so I have one to go… watch this space.
Along the way, I’ve started other smaller businesses including an online real estate agent selling Spanish properties and an online sweet/candy store satisfying both B2C and B2B clients; with successful exits from both.
My passion is in combining business and technology and in identifying future trends that will impact both. I am also a gadget-addict, an AI enthusiast and I, for one, welcome our robot overlords. If you have similar interests, then I hope you’ll find this blog useful and interesting.
Thanks for visiting.