I discovered Open source at University and haven't looked back since.
Whilst juggling a Software engineering degree I started Security Forums with a friend, that became a popular and well respected community covering IT security, and was later acquired by a larger established network. This gave me my first insight into open source contribution and sharing, as I contributed to phpBB from financial contributions to helping others on IRC, and advocating use of the software. During these years I taught myself Linux using every opportunity to use open source software, especially around hosting and networking
My placement year at University was at Liverpool agency Mando Group, to which I returned after graduating. Despite my education being largely based around programming, I quickly found my interests lay in infrastructure. I spent a few years in IT support, progressing to running internal networks and production hosting infrastructures. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my IT career, and learned how important trust and integrity are in business; core values I maintain to this day.
In 2003 I moved to a startup post the Dot-com bubble that wanted to make medical records available online. I set up the cross-platform hosting for the product and ran the internal infrastructure. Everything looked good with a working product, exposure & press with a management team who had previously built and exited medical companies. Unfortunately funding ran out and the company closed (the DH couldn’t solve the problem with billions either).
This gave me the opportunity to startup myself, and I co-founded Ixis. We used Drupal for the first web project and quickly decided to use it for all future builds. We bootstrapped the business with no external funding, doing a mixture of IT consultancy, web builds and hosting. After a few years we focused exclusively on Drupal, and hit a 10 year milestone. Ixis have contributed back to Drupal via a mixture of code, financially, helping others and evangelism.
I took Ixis to a 20 strong technical Drupal agency helping large organisations and companies build, scale and manage their Drupal applications. My role also evolved from being a technical hands-on sys admin to sales, growth and commercials. In 2017 I completed a management buy-out and left Ixis.
I have also been involved building two other communities, that were also both acquired. My involvement was initially around the build and technical side, but then moved into growth and monetisation.
In 2016 I invested in 15 early stage companies, and have continued to invest in further seed rounds including M14 industries and Teacherly. I've also invested in multiple crowdsourced rounds including Monzo, BrewDog & Boulder Hut.
©2018 Chris Haslam