Each week we’ll be sharing profiles of the early-stage tech companies that are participating in the DigitalCity Accelerator Programme to give you an insight into the exciting digital products and services that are launching in the Tees Valley – watch this space!
Kick-starting the company intro’s is Matt Sibley, Managing Director of Forward as One.
In a nutshell, can you share an overview about you and your tech start-up?
Forward as One performs all types of 3d visualisation, focussing mainly on architectural and interior design visuals. Based in Stockton, I set the company in July this year after being made redundant due to the pandemic.
I have previously been part of DigitalCity back in the early days (2004 or 2005 I think I first joined) with a company I set up during my studies at Teesside university (Fake Believe Studios). After a few successful years doing that, I took the decision to gain more experience in my field, working in London for a couple of years then settling in Leeds working for many different types of companies from small visualisation studio and Interior design to video production and multinational advertising agencies.
How did the initial idea for your business come about?
I always knew I would set up my own company at some point but never managed to take the leap, so I guess the pandemic did me a favour in some ways and took the decision out of my hands. The name “Forward as one” relates to me on a number of levels – many people believe that it simply refers to me making a go at it on my own (which it certainly does) but I also firmly believe that everyone is better off if we all work together with each other rather than against.
‘Forward as one’ was also the motto on the Stockton Coat of arms and being my home town Stockton (and Teesside) is a place that I truly love and wouldn’t change for the world, yeah it isn’t perfect but no one is and it doesn’t try to be either, we are honest in what we are and that’s why I love it. A lot of my branding revolves around this too.
It’s a pleasure to have you on the Accelerator, what were your main reasons behind joining the programme?
I want the best possible start available to my business. After my experience previously with DigitalCity I know that this is the place to get it – the people here are great and the connections and networking possibilities are amazing.
It’s great to see some original DigitalCity faces still around too – Scott Watson, Cheryl Evans, and Janice Webster to name a few, Also to see Mark South was still recently part of it (I was around when he was part of Onisoft at the very start), to see people like Mark still working with you guys tells me DigitalCity is still as good as ever.
Where do you see your business, Forward as One in 18 months from now?
In 18 months from now I hope to see Forward as one becoming a success and alleviate any financial worries I have had since being made redundant. I’d like to become a recognised name in 3d visualisation industry with clients choosing to work with Forward as One not only for the quality of the work produced, which I strive to continuously improve and adapt in line with the development of current processes, trends and techniques, but also for what we stand for as a company.
The hope in the short term is to get a small studio space and in the long term develop into a thriving architectural and interior design agency offering many more services that utilises local talent and other businesses to become a one stop shop for all architectural and interior design company needs.