29th August 2023
Mike Tomlin: What is the story behind Rocketmakers and what do you do?
Richard Godfrey: We’re a bespoke tech agency, born and bred in Bath back in 2007 to create ground-breaking, innovative software. We wanted to stand out and combat the trend of low-quality products being churned out at the time.
Today, we work with businesses ranging from start-ups where the owner just has an idea that they want to get off the ground, all the way to well-established firms aiming to be their own disruptors.
Our name came from “The Rocketmakers” book I’d found at the time about a group of people that constructed rockets. I felt it resonated with our desire to be involved with other business’ ‘lift off’ and, to this day, that same book still sits behind my desk as a reminder of that ethos.
Over the past 16 years, there have been so many success stories and we’ve had the pleasure of working on a wide variety of projects, including the original software for the ‘giving platform’ Neighbourly as well as the medical records system for the UK Sports Institute, which was used in Rio and Tokyo Olympics.
MT: What sets Rocketmakers apart from your competition?
RG: I’ve always had a vision that the perfect project for us brings together the fundamentals of innovation, quality and purpose; something new and interesting that is the right product for the job and helps make the world a better place. That mission to have a positive impact on the world was why we became a B-Corp earlier this year.
We enjoy working side-by-side with our customers to create something special that exceeds our collective expectations, and sometimes will make the commitment to invest in their business, which we find aligns us perfectly in focusing on their success.
MT: Have you always been based in Bath?
RG: Yes. We first set up at the University of Bath Innovation Centre before moving to Manvers Street and we have never left. There is a creativity in Bath that is dynamic and strong. It’s also a beautiful place to live and one that is well known internationally.
MT: What are the biggest challenges in your industry?
RG: In the start-up and scale-up space, where investment is a key driver fuelled by interest and appetite, there currently seems to be a lot of hesitancy as people wait to see what happens next for the economy. There’s also a lot of doubling down on keeping existing products going, rather than pushing something new which, when you’re a business that thrives on the new, isn’t that exciting.
As a tech firm, we are also looking at the two sides of the coin around artificial intelligence (AI) as it’s both a challenge and an opportunity. With the world now seemingly fully on the bandwagon, we need to make sure that the digital divide doesn’t grow even wider as a result but instead that everyone is brought on that journey as the technology evolves.
MT: But there are still opportunities with AI in your view?
RG: Most definitely! I consider myself a massive optimist and am always looking at how we can use technology to make what we do better.
Alongside AI, it feels like technology is going to be leveraging 3D in different ways and we wanted to be on the cusp as that happens. We don’t know exactly how or when but, over the past few years, we’ve been spending a lot of time working out how we can bring that world together with AI, effectively bringing ChatGPT to life.
This has been through scanning 3D models of a person’s face, and then incorporating text-to-speech and lip-syncing as well as the far-reaching knowledge of modern AI to create a virtual person that you can converse with. Whether that’s bringing to life an infinitely smarter version of myself, a Roman Centurion who can tell you all about our historic Baths or Elizabeth Bennet to tell you all about Mr Darcy, it’s all very exciting stuff!
MT: What is the future for Rocketmakers?
RG: Our goal has always been to have an impact by creating technology used by millions of people. Our future will be to continue our involvement in new and innovative things that drive purpose and we’re very excited for the worlds we’re yet to explore.