"Airports Deserve Better" - George Richardson, AeroCloud CEO by@aerodan

"Airports Deserve Better" - George Richardson, AeroCloud CEO

George Richardson is the CEO of AeroCloud, a cloud-native software platform for airports. He was a professional race car driver and competed in the European Le Mans Series. He says he wants to build AeroCloud into one of the few tech unicorns in the North West of England. Richardson: "I love the buzz of business and challenging an existing industry with an approach more focussed on customers. I love building teams and solving problems" He says: "If we're building a platform that airports want and good relationships with our customers, then they’ll pay for it"
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HackerNoon Reporter: Please tell us briefly about your background.

I’m George Richardson, and I’m AeroCloud’s CEO. I am a serial entrepreneur, and pre-AeroCloud, I was involved in several different businesses. I aim to build AeroCloud into one of the few tech unicorns in the North West of England.


Before my career as an entrepreneur, I was a professional race car driver and competed in the European Le Mans Series.

What's your startup called? And in a sentence or two, what does it do?

We’re AeroCloud, and we believe airports deserve better. For too long they’ve not had the focus on their needs and pains from the technology companies in the aviation space. We’re giving them cloud-native software that uses technologies like AI and machine learning, at lower costs than they’ve been used to.

What is the origin story?

I met my co-founder, our CTO, Ian Forde-Smith, at a coffee shop. We became friends and told each other about our backgrounds. Ian had run/owned and sold an airport software business before that was acquired and had ideas for doing it again but using modern technology. My focus was the commercial side - working out how to package and sell the platform to airports in the most effective way. It was clear that our skills complemented each other, so we started working on the business that would become AeroCloud.


We went over to the US to some trade shows and met people from airport operations teams. We worked in a co-creation model to develop the platform - building something that airports needed that addressed their problems. And we’re still working like this - listening to what our customers want.

What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?

After our seed funding round, I set our Head of People the challenge of finding special and amazing people. It’s as simple as that. We’re constantly looking for candidates who can add value to our clients. We have a real mix of people who are comfortable speaking up and contributing to help our customers be successful. We’re up to 17 now, and continuing to grow!

If you weren’t building your startup, what would you be doing?

Starting another one! I love the buzz of business and challenging an existing industry with an approach more focussed on customers. I love building teams and solving problems.

At the moment, how do you measure success? What are your core metrics?

It’s all about ARR and ARR growth - if we’re building a platform that airports want and good relationships with our customers, then they’ll pay for it and keep renewing.

What’s most exciting about your traction to date?

We’re forming partnerships with airports; they’re not just customers to us. We regularly hear from them about how our platform is making their lives easier and solving their problems. They tell us they really like working with our team too, which is fantastic! Most of our early growth has been through word of mouth - which shows the buzz we’re creating.

What technologies are you currently most excited about, and most worried about? And why?

We’ve already got AI and machine learning in our platform. We’re excited about other use cases for them in the airport space - that’s what our technology team is working hard on at the moment. The potential for drones and new vehicle technologies like AVTOL is exciting, too - there are both threats and big opportunities for airports in these developments.

What drew you to get published on HackerNoon? What do you like most about our platform?

Hackernoon is a great place to get interesting, relevant developer news. As a technology company, it’s a great resource for us.

What advice would you give to the 21-year-old version of yourself?

Enjoy the racing career as much as possible and learn as much about the commercial side as you can. Be prepared for an equally exciting career once it’s over and you’re too old, and your back is shot, and you’re fed up of flying around the world so much!

What is something surprising you've learned this year that your contemporaries would benefit from knowing?

We’ve been successful despite the pandemic. Airports have been looking for better technology - and especially for anything that can reduce their costs. In the early days of coronavirus, we gave away a free stand planning tool to help airports that suddenly needed to park aircraft for long periods. There are always opportunities, even when it looks like everything is slowing down and the economy is taking a hit.


LINK to Startup of the Year City Award Page with your company listed.

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