Quantemol transform through the London Business Accelerator during COVID-19.
Founded in 2004 by University College London Professor Jonathan Tennyson and Dr. Daniel Brown, Quantemol is a leader in plasma chemistry, having worked with some of the biggest semiconductor companies in the world.
As a scientific software company, Quantemol provide quantum-level solutions for plasma modelling, used extensively in the manufacturing of microchips with multiple other industrial applications, from air purification to medicine.
As the CEO, Anna Dzarasova has helped Quantemol break into the industrial market and expand with new products and disruptive technologies. However, as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, Quantemol faced a state of uncertainty about the future impact:
“We were seeing other companies collapsing like houses of cards. We saw our pipeline reducing, but it was hard to tell if this was just a seasonal change or already a COVID-19 impact”
Futureproofing in a time of crisis
The business needed to quickly make a decision about their London office during the lockdown and devise a strategy to keep afloat and retain their highly qualified staff – “I wanted to do something, but lacked a clear vision of what would be most helpful.”
The London Growth Hub’s Business Accelerator is offered to 30 of the best and brightest SMEs across London. Delivered by Cass Business School, one of Europe’s leading business educators, and ranked amongst the best business schools and programmes in the world, Anna was accepted onto round one of the 2-month programme in February 2020.
“I was attracted by a very hands-on approach and a practical plan as an end outcome. The lectures focused on business strategy, financial planning, innovation, digital marketing and leadership. The final seminar created a practical six-month business plan. It was a valuable opportunity to talk to experts and gain support from fellow entrepreneurs facing different challenges which inspired me beyond my usual perspective on our business.”
During the programme, Anna reviewed Quantemol’s products and sales process. She reframed the company’s target audience after a number of qualitative interviews with market experts and prioritised digital marketing after hearing a key lecture from Cass Business School –
“Even before the course ended, I revised the main page of our website: www.quantemol.com, giving it a more modern look and analytical tools. I created a business plan for new product development and liaised with companies about potential funding.”
Leading and engaging employees through COVID-19
The programme helped Anna tackle multiple lockdown challenges, including making a critical decision to keep their London office open. Initially planning to close the office, she took her learnings and engaged her team in the process.
“The course empowered me to be authentic with my team about the challenges we were facing and make key decisions. With these rapid changes, where so many aspects of people’s lives have turned upside down, having a usual “pre-COVID” place was a symbol of safety and stability. Together we worked on decluttering and transforming this space to be COVID-safe and a nice place to come to. It was a great opportunity to reconnect as a team, make shared decisions and have agency in our work lives during the pandemic.”
Quantemol’s next objective is to expand beyond the semiconductor market into clean energy industries including plasma-assisted combustion, commercial fusion and ecological plasma applications. “We continue building partnerships with other software companies and are currently an official partner of Siemens PLM. I am looking forward to our company’s growth and to contributing more to this wide field of plasma applications via our innovations.”
Anna’s advice to other small businesses
”Allow time for reflection, ideally with someone external to your business, who can challenge your perspective. I recommend reaching out to the London Growth Hub’s experts in various fields and their well-developed programmes offering practical help. I firmly believe that a wide network of support is an essential component of any business leader’s success. It further helps to be genuine and transparent about the situation with employees. It is something which can transform your corporate culture and make your company even more resilient to external factors.”
London Growth Hub offer free one-to-one support and advice from a team of expert advisers – to book an appointment, please click here.
If you are an ambitious London SME and would like to express interest for the London Business Accelerator, please email email@example.com.