Joel Stobart of Custodian Solutions: Why brand protection is important

Published on: 12 February 2016

Joel winning the SETsquared Entrepreneurship Programme pitching session at the Exeter Science Park.

Joel Stobart is Chief Technology Officer at Custodian Solutions; a novel brand protection company that uses cloud-based software to re-think and re-design the way brand protection is carried out.

Having recently won the SETsquared Entrepreneurship Programme held at the Exeter Science Park and with a wealth of experience in IT and communications, Joel has high hopes for the future of his company.

What is your business about?

We are helping companies create anti-counterfeiting and brand protection solutions that work. For consumers we are trying to prevent some of the 18,000 annual deaths from counterfeit medicines. We are also trying to work with food manufacturers to prevent counterfeit, tainted, or hazardous products.

What do you think the future holds for brand protection?

Brand protection is a niche activity that should be mainstream. Companies will start to realise that brand protection offers a real chance to materially affect the bottom line of their business, show their respect for consumers and deliver the consumers’ expectation of products. Effective brand protection can cover its costs, but also provide insight and improvement to the wider business.

How can a member of the public understand the impact of your work?

I guess when they understand that without effective brand protection they or their children might be using counterfeit soap, toothpaste, shampoo, medicine or food. People who are willing to push the boundaries of legality on designs and copyright aren't afraid of the ingredients used.

How has your background helped to shape your business?

I'm from a consumer IT background, working with brilliant developers building consumer websites for Ford, Vodafone, Sony and the British government. I guess I have learnt that simplicity of user experience. I've also learnt about internet security and communications. I guess the best thing I've learnt is to work with great people.

What excites you about working in a software development company?

I think that being creative is the most interesting part of being in any company. Software development has a kind of instant creativity; you can see and resolve problems quickly. It has a short feedback loop compared to other kinds of engineering. As long as you aren't doing the next space shuttle, you can give people good results by gradually improving things. I also really enjoy that I get to work with people of the same mindset.

What are your aspirations for the future?

We would like to become what Sales Force is for salespeople, for Corporate Investigators, IP legal teams, and brand protection teams. We also want to work in partnership with Trading Standards and public authorities to make are real impact on crime.

What makes you tick?

I'm trying to build a space, community, and environment that I enjoy around me. I like to walk to get a good breakfast. I take a few photos if the world is showing off. I talk to the team, trying to think of anything that we could do to make things better. Usually, things that can make us feel better. I enjoy positive feedback, both giving and receiving it. I want to work where work is a thing I like to do. I go to lunch at the same places, and drink coffee from the same shops (Lutzys, NgNg, Taco Macho). I get to walk home along the river.

I like to succeed (I'm competitive) and have an inbuilt motor to make me want to keep trying. I guess I've always wanted to make my own business work.

I really love science and technology. I like reading books and articles on science, psychology, start-up companies, as well as anti-counterfeiting, fraud, and detection, and food. I like food and wine - I also like wine and whisky!

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