Today on the blog, we’re taking a closer look at the man behind Nimbus, STORM and all the big ideas we bring you – our founder, MD and chief biscuit supplier, Tim Dunton.
Some people just know what they want to do. Right from the get-go. And the day in 1992 when Tim’s dad brought home an old Mac Classic was the day Tim knew. He had to be in tech. He was 12 years old, the internet as we know it barely existed and he was bored at school. But now he had a plan.
He pestered his dad to get him a modem and started experimenting with online communication. Two years later he was ready to go public, starting a bulletin board service (BBS) at school. The precursor to the internet, it was small-scale technology with a big community angle and he charged the other kids for setting up email addresses. He also registered his first domain name for £100.
Dialling things up
By 1995, BBS had pretty much been wiped out by dial-up. It’s hard to imagine the slow beep-whirrs of dial-up wiping anything out now, but back then it was pretty groundbreaking. Tim, now 15, set up his first business, Global Gold, from his parents’ study. He also snagged his first non-school-based client, building a website for the University of Hertfordshire Business School.
He was starting to get some attention. The local paper wrote an article on his career so far and the following year The Times featured him in their online supplement. Both generated some powerful new leads (some are still with us today!) and gave Tim’s business a real kick start.
He experimented with some apps, including an Apple fan site called Always Apple, and started a popular banner network called UK Banners, helping SMEs advertise their websites, long before SEO or PPC. It was a busy time, especially for someone still taking their GCSEs.
One to watch
In 1997, Tim sold a domain to a subsidiary of Microsoft, picking up £5,000 and earning himself a mention in The Times Young Person Rich Kids as one to watch. Soon after, using funds from this and his Global Gold business, he set up 2b.co.uk as a rival to US sites Excite and Infoseek. It made money through affiliate and banner advertising, and enabled Tim to keep on inventing.
Which is exactly what he did. In 1999, he launched one of the first low-cost hosting and domain registration businesses, Global Gold Network Ltd (GGN). With the media hyping the idea of buying up domain names, GGN was instantly busy and – within its first year – hit a monthly turnover of £150k. Tim thought it was time he moved out of his parents’ study.
But the timing wasn’t great. Just months after GGN moved into its first proper office, the dot-com bubble burst. Massively and spectacularly. It was time to regroup and refocus the business, moving more towards hosting, corporate clients and the premium end of the market.
Finding a niche with Nimbus
Over the next 12 years, the business recovered and grew steadily, earning a strong reputation for hosting and customer service. But in 2011, Tim knew it was time to move on. He left GGN as a director, stayed on as a shareholder and started something brand new. Nimbus.
And his big ideas kept coming. While we started out very much as a service-base business, Tim knew our creative customers needed more. So instead of just offering other people’s hosting software, we decided to create our own. It was a huge challenge, but in 2017, STORM was born. It’s been making life easier for agencies and freelancers ever since.
Today, Tim’s still very much the heart of our business. He gives the press expert insights on today’s tech, but he’s not a drift-in, drift-out kind of boss – he’s right here bouncing ideas around with the rest of us. So if you ever want to pick his brains about hosting, don’t be shy. He’s got a whole lot to say on the subject.
If you’d like to find out more about what we do here at Nimbus, head on over to our history of hosting page.