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Neal Gandhi: On Breaking Moulds and Championing Collaboration

Today’s guest is Neal Gandhi, CEO of Panoply, a world-class creative technology group. Configured as a lean, fluid and ego-aside family of complementary tech-focused companies, Panoply collaborates with brave organisations, both at home and abroad, to ensure their participation in tomorrow—and beyond.

For Neal, collaboration is key to success. It is one of the tenets of Panoply—their team is collaborative to the core. Panoply assembles the right experts from across the group of companies to solve complex business problems. It helps clients challenge assumptions, adapt to change, and activate technology-led innovation that ultimately drives positive and practical outcomes.

Panoply champions autonomy and individuality in its companies, whilst remaining tightly bound by their shared approach at the end of the day.

Join us today as Neal talks about:

  • Why Panoply floated just 2 years after incorporating
  • Why the Panoply M&A journey is atypical
  • What the Panoply vision for the future looks like
  • How Panoply grew so quickly
  • Why Olly Rigby was Neal’s perfect business partner
  • Why Panoply is like a murmuration of starlings
  • Why RPA is the future
  • The benefits of nearshoring

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Today’s guest is Neal Gandhi, CEO of Panoply, a world-class creative technology group, with collaboration at its core. Panoply floated just two years after incorporating, and Neal has shared with us how they achieved this extraordinary accomplishment in such a short space of time.

Collaborative to the core

For Panoply, collaboration is the not-so-secret to its success. They assemble the right experts from across all of the companies in the group to solve complex business problems.

All of the companies are given autonomy and are encouraged to maintain their individuality, but they know they’re stronger when they come together.

Solve 21st century problems with 21st century solutions

Neal founded Panoply because he could see that the consultancy environment was dominated by large, 20th century behemoths that lacked the agility, flexibility and wherewithal to be able to solve 21st century problems.

Neal wanted Panoply to prove that small, newer companies were better placed to handle modern business problems. He succeeded. Today Panoply helps clients challenge assumptions, adapt to change, and activate technology-led innovation that ultimately drives positive and practical outcomes.

Have shared values

Panoply was build on a set of values that Neal uses to guide their decision as to which companies they want to work with.

Panoply values include:

  • Entrepreneurial
  • Creative
  • Ego-aside (not ego-free, because no one is ego-free)
  • Conscious – as in you have to care about more than just money. You have to be aware of society and your impact on society. You have to be able to make decisions that balance the needs of all your stakeholders: clients, shareholders, employees and suppliers, not just focus on increasing shareholder value.

Give people freedom to run

Whilst Neal wanted all the companies in the group to have shared values, he also champions autonomy and individuality in each company, creating a lean, fluid and ego-free family of complementary tech-focused companies.

Choose your business partner wisely

They say that you should employ people who have the requisite skills that you lack, in order to grow your company successfully. Neal knew that he would need a business partner who had been involved in multiple IPOs, in order to guide them through the process.

His Panoply cofounder came in the form of Olly Rigby, who had worked on 10-12 IPO by the time he was just 32.

Have a plan and know how to follow through on it

Neal was aware that they wouldn’t be able to execute on their vision if they were private equity backed. Both he and Olly knew how they wanted to build Panoply—they knew how they wanted it to turn out, and that they wanted to achieve this without any money.

They spent the first month figuring out how they were going to achieve their plan. They adopted different roles and negotiated with each other to figure out how to make it work. They eventually teased out their solution—a conditional shared-purchase agreement. Their fully binding share purchase agreement, run through lawyers—a full-on SPA—was conditional on one thing: it would complete on the day of the IPO.

What Neal wishes he knew way back when

  • Confidence is important; bravado is one thing, but confidence in oneself is essential.
  • Think bigger. The bigger the vision, the more chance you have of success.

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