Member Profile: Nick Hynes, CEO, Somo

Nick Hynes has unparalleled experience growing and scaling pioneering tech businesses, some of which sold to the likes of Yahoo! and TradeDoubler in multi-million dollar deals. He is the CEO and co-founder of Somo, a global digital product and experience business operating in the UK and USA.

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Throughout his pioneering career, Nick Hynes has been a serial digital entrepreneur. Since 1995, he has established some of the most successful fast-growth digital companies ever created.

Formerly the founder, CEO and President of Overture Europe, Nick expanded the business from start-up to sixteen countries, $650m in revenue and launched into the Asian market. Overture Inc. was eventually sold to Yahoo! in 2003 for $1.6bn. Nick then created the SearchWorks, Google’s biggest customer in Europe, which he sold in 2007 to TradeDoubler for $112M.

In 2010, Nick co-founded Somo with Carl Uminski, now the largest independent digital transformation business operating in the U.K., with fast-growing U.S.A offices in Washington D.C and Charleston, South Carolina. Somo’s clients include; Audi, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, BP, De Beers, and ŠKODA.

Nick is also a non-executive director, chairman, advisor and angel investor for over a dozen global digital companies, including: SwiftKey (sold to Microsoft for $225M), Adbrain (sold to Trade Desk), Review Centre (sold to eKomi), Reward, Howsy, ResiVue and Tailster and is a founding member of the BIMA Digital Hall of Fame.


What defines a successful leader?
A successful leader has the ability to choose a mission that a team can be motivated to get behind. They’re able to recruit and resource the right team for the job, set the strategy in place and lead the team to achieve their personal goals as well as the company’s mission.

Culture and talent are important to any company’s success. How do you engage and inspire your workforce?
Somo is a values-driven, family-styled business, as is every one of the five businesses I’ve set up since 1993. At Somo, we foster an environment which nurtures highly mobile, high achieving, top talent; attracting people who want to learn, develop and challenge.

We’ve created a family-feel environment at Somo that leaves no one behind and develops people to realise their potential.

Innovation and disruption are reshaping industries every day. What do you see as the number one game-changer facing businesses today?
With customer’s expectations forever shaped by the Amazons and Googles of this world, the ever-increasing demands for immediacy, transparency and ownership are now affecting every business sector. Following the lead set by tech-first businesses, the need for touchpoint innovation has never been more focussed; we’re seeing well-established brands that have been slow to respond going into administration.

At Somo, we help organisations, large and small, to navigate the challenges of innovation and technology-driven change – it’s important to recognise where your business is in that innovation life-cycle and be ready to adapt to change.

Challenges abound in today’s fast-changing business environment. What keeps you up at night?
Staying in touch with the ever-changing business environment in the UK, Europe and North America – across multiple industry sectors and multiple technologies relevant to geography, sector and technology base is what occupies my mind. Most people deal with just one factor; we deal with all three, which are constantly changing. We are currently transitioning all of our market-leading knowledge, technology and experience into the USA market; we have offices in Washington DC and Charleston, South Carolina that are expanding at a phenomenal rate.

Why did you join Bloomberg Breakaway?
Bloomberg reaches our core industry markets, which are forward-looking; connecting us with senior business people and CEOs like myself who are transatlantic. To me, it’s a great way to be in direct contact with our core audience and a key channel for expert knowledge exchange.

Even CEOs need downtime. How do you recharge?
Somo is a business with family values and this understanding keeps our workplace energised. We all recognise that it’s important to spend the right amount of time and attention with our own families, just as it is to focus energy on exciting business. We encourage everyone to carve out space to recharge. I kick back by following football, rugby, motor racing, skiing (watching and participating). But the most pleasure I get is watching my twin boys playing football in any one of the three teams they play for.

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