Reimagining the workplace for innovation with Crumpet and TCA Labs

Posted: 05/09/2023

TCA’s Founder Rob McCombie and Software Engineer Tom Titherington discuss how their unique working arrangement promotes innovation & positive change.

Drawing on his recent Bootcamp experience, software engineer Tom Titherington has since started working at TCA, a software and advisory business that offers an internal accelerator program (“TCA Labs”), designed to encourage innovation, support entrepreneurship, and develop its employees’ leadership skills and knowledge. Here Tom and Rob McCombie (TCA’s Founder and CEO) discuss their approach to innovation and driving positive change…


Q: Tom – can you tell us about your journey so far and how you ended up on the 2023 Bootcamp?
Tom Titherington (TT): My passion for programming began when I was a teenager and stemmed from a combined love of design and problem-solving. After tinkering around, it wasn’t long before I discovered the incredible scope for creativity that programming gives you, it doesn’t tie you to any physical barriers or constraints, which feels really empowering. After leaving Hautlieu School, I studied computer science at the University of Groningen before returning to Jersey on a bursary scheme – but I soon started to think seriously about potential start-up ideas.

Ultimately, I ended up pitching my idea for a digital ordering system for the hospitality industry, Crately, to the Digital Jersey Bootcamp. I was fortunate enough to be accepted onto the program – it was an invaluable experience that introduced me to other like-minded entrepreneurs.


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Q: You’ve since turned your focus towards an alternative idea. How easy was it to pivot to something different?
TT: The Bootcamp gave me time to assess the route to market. I thought about my skills and how far I could take Crately. Upon reflection, although I could build the product, I just didn’t have the network or industry experience in food and beverage to take Crately where I wanted and where it needed to be.

In order to give myself the best chance of success I need to play to my strengths. Ultimately, passion and resilience trumps everything. Nothing is as much fun as building a product that you really care about, taking it to market and seeing the impact it has on your customers.


Q: Your new venture is Crumpet – what’s that about?
TT: If a company wants to engage with its customers in a meaningful way, then that means really understanding them – how they are using its products, what’s driving their choices. Crumpet is a tool that allows companies to create hyper-personalised engagements and in-product experiences, powered by customer data. It’s aimed primarily at software-as-a-service companies in the business-to-business space, and it’s a venture that plays so much more to my strengths as a software engineer.

Importantly, it’s a tool that I would use myself, which in theory should give me a good idea of the features required and the type of customer I’m selling to. The wire frames have been completed and so now I’m transitioning to the development stage of the project.

Rob McCombie (RM): Tom’s approach to developing Crumpet is absolutely what TCA Labs is all about – he’s doing some really great work to flex his ideas before setting out on a course that is going to make them investable, scalable and a long-term success.


Q: So tell us a bit more about TCA Labs?
RM: We launched TCA Labs in 2023 as an internal accelerator, designed to encourage innovation and support entrepreneurship. We invest in our employees’ own projects and ideas, whilst also contributing the firm’s resources and expertise to help them succeed. Tom is the first person to take part in the program, and we’re providing him with funding, guidance and support to help him at all stages of the startup journey, from initial concept to product development and launch.

TT: Through the arrangement, I’m able to dedicate up to 20% of my time on my new venture, while still being paid as a full-time employee of TCA Digital. I get the best of both worlds – I retain control of my venture, while getting TCA’s expert support and mentorship. And for the remainder of the week, I’m an employee of TCA Digital, working on other groundbreaking initiatives!

RM: We’re attempting to reimagine the way people work. I believe that teams that invest in their people to help them achieve their goals receive significantly more back in return.


Q: So what’s on the horizon, for Crumpet and TCA Labs?
TT: I want to launch Crumpet in Jersey and tap into the unique digital ecosystem of founders and entrepreneurs that is rapidly growing here. But the plan is definitely to take the product beyond our shores – to the US and UK markets in particular as they are important markets for us and are where some large potential customers are located.

RM: We’re excited to see Tom’s venture succeed, and more widely to see the positive impact TCA Labs can create in our community and beyond. It shows that with the right support, local entrepreneurs can innovate and prosper in Jersey. Tom’s work is an encouraging example of what’s possible for aspiring founders participating in TCA Labs. We look forward to more talented individuals launching impact businesses through the program. It underscores our commitment to developing our people, encouraging innovation, and helping them realise their ambitions.



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