[size=31]Jeff Thomas, 58, chairman[/size]My background was in town planning but in my twenties I had worked as a sound engineer with live bands around the UK and Europe and in technology with a firm in California. After working for a couple of public companies, I started a business called Endata, which was acquired in 1994 by a US firm, Peak Technologies.
Peak had listed on Nasdaq and I stayed and helped to grow the business through 14 acquisitions in seven countries over three years to a market cap of more than $250m. After it was sold in 1997, I came back to Britain, settled in Bath and invested in dotcom start-ups. Finding many lacked the infrastructure needed to scale rapidly, I acquired Hartham Park, a 100,000-sq ft stately home near Corsham, Wiltshire, as a platform for the incubation and acceleration of technology firms. Forty-three companies are now based there.
We also took a lease on former Ministry of Defence land and formed the Corsham Media Park in a joint venture. When most of the media companies we attracted retrenched after the dotcom bubble burst, I had to think what we could do with the site. In 2005 we came up with the world’s first modular data centre, today known as Ark Data Centres.
We acquired another site in Farnborough and after the 2010 election, in the face of austerity, I came up with a disruptive model of selling cloud-computing by the hour to the UK Government. That led to the creation of Skyscape and our partnerships with major technology groups.