MKBAA 2020: The Witan finalists

It’s been an exciting February here in Milton Keynes. Not only was Witan Studios personally mentioned in the Sunday Times’ Best place for business: Milton Keynes article, but three of our resident companies were announced as finalists in the esteemed Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards 2020.

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The annual awards recognise the highest achieving businesses across Milton Keynes, at a glitz and glamour ceremony on 12th March at the Marshall Arena. This year’s theme about “a vision for a healthier city”, focusing on businesses that improve the overall health and wellbeing of our city and its inhabitants, organisations and workforce.

So who in Witan made the cut?

Expandly

Expandly’s multi-channel ecommerce software began life back in 2013 in typical startup fashion - founder Alan Wilson’s garage. Eager to provide a simple way for online sellers to manage multiple sales channels, Alan and Employee #1 built a system that integrated a user’s Amazon, eBay, Esty and Shopify accounts into one simple dashboard. Since then, Expandly has expanded to multiple sales channels, shipping carriers, accounting software and functionality - attracting serious investment, global customers (including one Wilkinson Sword) and some teammates for Employee #1. Its technology makes selling online easier, creating less stress and more profits. Its simple onboarding process reduces customer reliance on the team, creating a happier working environment with more opportunity for learning and development. And, it’s global usage is bringing international income and recognition to Milton Keynes. Expandly and CEO Alan Wilson will be competing in the Technology Business and Entrepreneur of the Year categories, with other finalists including Xero, Pauley Creative and Diane Butterworth.

Immense

With a name like Immense, you’d expect nothing less of this intelligent mobility startup reaching the finals of not one but two awards. Founded in 2016, Immense is revolutionising the way transportation decisions are made across the world, using data science, machine learning, compute technology and a dash of common sense. Users of the Immense solution gain access to competitive mobility intelligence and insights, using digital worlds and activity-based simulation for fleet management, infrastructure operations and regional transportation planning. In just four years, Immense has attracted significant investment, global interest and offices in Milton Keynes, London, Detroit, San Francisco and Barcelona (although we’re sure Witan comes out top.) Immense will be competing in the Technology Business and Small & Medium Business categories, against the likes of Xero, SBD Automotive, Ad Valorem and Smith Jenkins.

Boxx Communications

Founded by James Green and Dean Burgin back in 2011, Boxx Communications have one simple aim: to simplify telecommunications for UK businesses large and small. And that’s exactly what they do. Since then, the telecoms landscape has changed significantly, and Boxx has evolved accordingly, working with multiple vendors to deliver excellence in tech, value and service. And they’re not shy of an award or two either. Last year they won the Comms Business Awards 2019 Mid-Market ICT Solution award and this year they’ve also reached the finals for the SME MK & Buckinghamshire awards 2020. Boxx is competing in the MKBAA Customer Service category, against Mirus IT Solutions, Acorn Early Years Foundation and Pets 2 Places.

Eighteen months ago, they took the strategic decision to work more closely with the thriving business community of Milton Keynes, recognising that by working more locally they could reduce travel and the environmental impact of servicing customers and securing new opportunities.

Their sales managers can often be seen pounding the streets, rather than driving to appointments around the country. Plus, their in-house engineering team are always on hand to visit customers, so many of their journeys can also be made on foot or kept short, reducing their carbon footprint.

With more entries than ever before, 12th March is going to be a hugely competitive evening – we can’t wait to cheer on the Witan-Three.