LDC Top 50 2022
Founder and CEO
“I started dabbling in web hosting in my teens. I hated school and couldn’t wait to leave,” says Scottish entrepreneur Euan Andrews. By the time he was 17, he’d sold his first business for £5,000. A year later, he started xDesign, growing it from a “scrappy start-up” into a digital development agency working with big-name clients such FanDuel, MoneySuperMarket and Tesco Bank.
“I’ve spent my entire adult life building xDesign and now I get the biggest buzz out of watching other people fly.” Andrews’ number-one priority is employee wellbeing and this year, xDesign earned a place on the first ‘UK’s Best Workplaces for Wellbeing’ list.
I’ve spent my entire adult life building xDesign and had to go from doing to leading. Now I get the biggest buzz out of watching other people fly.”
Why did you start xDesign?
It started with a chance meeting with a Spanish media mogul. I emailed him about some potential work but, when he didn’t write back, I assumed he was messing me around. It turned out that his entire email server was broken. I worked out what the problem was, found a guy on a forum who could help fix it – and landed a £39,000 annual contract to maintain the company’s web hosting systems. Six months later, he gave me another £50,000 contract to build their websites.
What was the turning point for the business?
For the first seven years, every day was about trying to get to the next. It was arguably pretty scrappy, and it was chasing the wrong thing – money. Then we won deals with PayPal, World Health Organisation and MoneySuperMarket, all in the same year. That was the moment I thought, “We’re a real company now. We have to do things properly.”
What sets your company apart?
xDesign has a very different personality to other companies. We empower our team with a high level of autonomy and encourage them to act as if they own the business. Our number-one priority is employee wellbeing and we have a huge number of activities, people and tooling to support and verify that. This year, we earned a place on the Great Place to Work list 2022.