A Hiraeth for Home – Why I wanted to create world-class jobs and opportunities in Swansea

Written by:

matte warren

Founder & CEO

Veeqo

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In 2021, my company Veeqo was acquired by Amazon. Just over a year later, we’ve teamed up to announce the opening of Amazon’s first Global Developer Center in Wales. These new premises, which now house Veeqo and some of our Amazon colleagues, are based at SA1 Swansea Waterfront. For me, there was never any question that we would be based elsewhere.

Love what SA1 has to offer – we see the area quickly becoming a hub for innovative tech companies, with homes and restaurants close by, and a fantastic new campus for the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, with whom we continue to work closely.

12 years ago I was living in London and felt the need to be home. Hiraeth doesn’t have an English translation, but the closest would be a combination of nostalgia, nostalgia and nostalgia for Wales.

From a lifestyle perspective, my young family’s return to Wales has gone well. We now take the kids to the beach after school and escape to the mountains on weekends.

When we came to Wales, there wasn’t really a tech ecosystem or industry here. But I truly believed that tech companies could help bridge that gap with high-paying, high-quality jobs that would help the country retain its homegrown talent that often flocks to London.

Around the same time, I was also selling products online. I found the e-commerce process tricky at times, so I started thinking about how I could solve some of these problems for other small businesses.

My desire to help other entrepreneurs, combined with the dream of starting my own tech business in Wales, led to the birth of Veeqo, software that helps e-commerce businesses succeed, making selling online easier and more automated. Helping small businesses grow was the reason I wanted to start the business, but my main goal was more personal.

I wanted to start a tech company that would create high quality jobs and play a small part in creating a stronger tech ecosystem in Wales.

At first, Veeqo grew rapidly. We have raised over £5m in funding from investors and with this major boost we have grown our team here in Wales, as well as our local and international customer base to over 1,000 clients.

This success allowed Amazon to acquire Veeqo, and it was a very proud moment for the team. It was amazing that one of the biggest companies in the world wanted us and the software we had built. And it was the first time that one of the world’s technology companies had acquired a Welsh company.

Since then, and thanks to investments from Amazon, we have hired 50 additional people, mainly from the region. Today, our team has more than 100 people. Last September, we relaunched Veeqo at Amazon’s annual seller conference in Seattle in front of 25,000 people. At the event, we announced that our software would be completely free for small businesses, and since then thousands of sellers have signed up with us.

While it’s great to grow our customer base globally, it’s so important to me that we also support businesses in our community. Luckily we work with some fantastic businesses across Wales, including two successful ones in South Wales.

Naissance, a Neath-based skincare retailer, specializes in naturally produced oils and natural ingredients, as well as bath bombs, salts and kits. Jem Skelding started the business in 2005, inspired by a combination of years of traveling around the world and growing in Zambia.

From its base in South Wales, the company now sells to customers around the world via Veeqo and Amazon. Naissance uses Amazon’s various seller services, including Fulfillment by Amazon – where Amazon stores and ships products directly to customers on behalf of small businesses, alongside our technology, to reach customers around the world.

We also work with Walrus Apparel, an online retailer of golf apparel based here in Swansea. Brand founder Huw Morgan was an early adopter of ours in 2014 and is currently using Amazon and Veeqo’s reduced postage rates to grow his business in the US and meet a growing number of customer orders.

With the opening of Veeqo’s new site as part of Amazon’s fourth UK-based research and development center in Swansea, we have the opportunity to grow the team and further invest in creating the best software for online sellers.

With a new home, a growing team and an expanding customer base, the future has never looked brighter for Veeqo.

If you are reading this and experiencing your own hiraeth for home, then pack your bags and come back to Wales. The possibilities here are endless.

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