Connected Cities Mission: Richard Howells

What do you currently do?

I’m CEO of Bronze Labs, a software development company based in Shropshire.

Bronzelabs is based around two core elements the first, Research and development and secondly around the Internet of Things. We engage with projects centered around data and technology that engages with communities and citizens.

Who do you admire?

The stand out choice for me would be Elon Musk, he’s not afraid to rapid prototype, to make mistakes and mess things up. It’s an important lesson in business and one that Bronzelabs sticks by, it’s ok to fail, if you’re not then you’re not pushing the limits enough.

What defines your way of doing business?

As a team we have three core values

  • Embrace and drive change
  • Transparency is key
  • Innovate by using cutting edge technology to drive business forward

How did you end up taking part in the Connected Cities Mission?

Digital catapult were looking for companies with the potential to be high growth businesses. As one of the four businesses chosen to work with Digital Catapult we started to look at Smart Cities in collaboration with them, leading to the trip.

What did you want to gain from the trip?

As a company we’ve moved from a consultancy to creating a product, so for us this was really a fact finding mission. I wanted to find out how, as a British startup we would be able to trade and expand. By listening to what people are saying and talking to the other businesses and learning from their experiences as well.

Although you can attend workshops and speak to businesses in the UK, it can never match being on the ground, talking to local businesses and officials that can help us is a brilliant opportunity. Ideally, we’d also like to form tech partnerships with people that want to bring new structures into their business.

Do you think the Connected Cities Mission has been successful?

Yes. It’s been great to talk to other people in the same position. I can learn from peers either through their experience or talking through things we’ve done.

It’s given me the opportunity to sit back, take it in and learn.