Zoonou: Growing the digital sector in Eastbourne.
Zoonou is at the forefront of Eastbourne's growing tech scene. The software testing and quality assurance specialist works with some of the biggest and best-known brands in the world.
Last year, the company moved all its staff and testing facilities into a converted former derelict garage to create the UK's largest state-of-the-art test lab, housing a library of over 300 mobile and tablet devices.
Restoration of the external build was achieved with grateful thanks to a grant from East Sussex County Council.Denise HarwoodCommercial DirectorMistywell
Test lab rejuvenates the local area
In the twelve years since Jonathan Rogers and Nick Turton first formed the company back in 2007, its global client base has delivered over 3,000 projects, earning a reputation for providing a highly reliable service that is in constant demand.
Having already been in four different locations over the decade, the team had grown beyond the capacity of its limited office space and so started to look for options for new premises. This led to a partnership with Mistywell Ltd who own the popular Enterprise Shopping Centre and office spaces in central Eastbourne. Mistywell had identified a rundown former garage on St Leonards Road that had been empty for many years.
In partnership with Mistywell, Zoonou helped to influence the plans and designs for the development. To support the renovation and the company’s high growth prospects, funding from ESI5, East Sussex County Council’s Grants and Loans Programme was secured to help Mistywell convert the exterior of the building, while further funding assisted Zoonou with the costs of the expansion and the refit of its new offices and state-of-the-art test lab. The project has transformed what was an eyesore for local residents and helped support the creation of four new jobs. The company employs thirty people now, with space to add another fifteen as sales grow.
We needed the space to feel modern and fully-equipped for our testing activities. This included housing of our large mobile and tablet device library. But it was important for all involved that the office still maintained the rustic quirks of the near 100-year-old building.
The choice of Eastbourne as the location for Zoonou was initially based on affordability and convenience. The town is also home to a growing population of companies operating in digital and tech. Now two-thirds of the staff live locally and another third travel in from Hastings. Nick’s seen the immediate locality populate with a digital business community, with CoHub, a local coworking space only a stone’s throw away.
It’s a fantastic building, the space is evolving over time – it’s reassuring to know we have the infrastructure to facilitate our planned growth in the next few years.
Being just two minutes from the train station provides easy access to Zoonou’s 50+ digital agency clients based in London as well as an easy commute for staff. Eastbourne’s natural assets, the beach and closeness to the South Downs contribute to the attractiveness of working locally.
The move has enabled all employees to work in two open-plan spaces, on the ground floor and mezzanine level above, with two meeting rooms along the edges of the space on the upper floor. The new open concept encourages collaboration and the cross-pollination of ideas. Focused work and noisier activities occur in the two meeting rooms on the upper floor, adding flexibility to the open workspaces.
The expansion has opened up a whole new wealth of opportunities for long-term growth, with plans to further develop its technical services, Zoonou plans to expand into new markets:
Knowing we can expand in the current space allows us to focus on developing our business and helps underpin our plans for growth.
How we helped Zoonou
The company’s own investment was match-funded by a loan/grant from East Sussex County Council’s East Sussex Invest 5 fund for the redevelopment of an old garage into new office space and test lab in St. Leonards Road, Eastbourne.
Funding was secured to support the relocation of offices with investment into new state-of-the-art IT equipment, fixtures and fittings, and to create a great working environment for staff.
Image credits: Caitlin Lock and Zoonou