LoveHolidays, the online travel agency and 6th largest ATOL holder, was recently recognised as the fastest growing UK Tech company (by EBITDA). They are driving disruption in the sector and challenging established incumbents by allowing customers to create bespoke holidays through ‘discovery search’, inspiring customers to filter by the attributes that matter to them, rather than requiring them to start with ‘where’ and ‘when’.
Following the impressive growth of LoveHolidays, Livingbridge made its largest singular investment to unlock further domestic growth and international expansion. Part of this was an expansion and upgrade of the leadership team, notably in the CTO seat, to drive this growth and maturation.
The company had all the hallmarks of an early-stage, rapidly scaling, founder-led venture business. The market position they had achieved, and their ambitions to continue to grow, required a CTO who was strong both technically and from a leadership standpoint; was able to inspire and scale a dynamic team, and refit the platform for the next phase of growth. The successful candidate would also need to bridge the transition from early-stage venture to high-growth private equity.
Erevena conducted a pan-European search for the top high-growth venture and private equity CTOs in the consumer landscape. The result was Michael Jones, the CTO/CPO at uSwitch.com, who had helped turn the business around and had taken it to scale and market-leading position, successfully navigating a series of PE exits. Significantly, Michael brings the experience and maturity required and is able to match that with the dynamism of the LoveHolidays business.
Building a successful start-up is one thing, scaling it is another. So, finding a world class CTO was a pivotal step in strengthening the leadership team we need. Erevena’s review of the candidate market was excellent, and key in helping us define the role and recognise the trade-offs in finding the perfect candidate. The search was not without its challenges and especially as we worked through a strong final shortlist, but Erevena‘s calm counsel, preparedness to challenge our thinking, and attentive managing of stakeholders was key.