Queen's Awards winner profiles: Software from Sunderland to Seattle

Fri 22 May 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham


[The team at WorkCast, a company founded in Sunderland, with offices in Edinburgh and Seattle, providing webinar and online events software]

Continuing our series profiling this year’s Queen’s Awards winners, we catch up with another of the 128 companies awarded in the international trade category, the largest of four sections in the prestigious competition.

Revealed on 21 April, the companies cited in the international trade section of the 2020 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise will surely count themselves fortunate this year.

That is, not just for being recognised by the globally-famous competition but for winning in another, tougher test: managing through the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Profile: WorkCast, provider of software to host online events


From Sunderland to Seattle, with clients ranging from GSK to Sony, webinar software provider WorkCast is finding 2020 a year to remember.

Not only has the firm – founded in Sunderland in 2008, expanding to Edinburgh and then Seattle in 2016 – been recognised in the Queen’s Awards this year. It also finds its product range has never been so in demand.

Chief executive officer Stewart Kibby agrees that the firm is “seeing unprecedented demand as a result of the current situation” but adds that the shift from physical to online events “has been occurring for some time and is likely to continue even as the economy returns to normal”.

Kibby says the award particularly recognised the firm’s growth in the US, four years after setting up an office on the West Coast.

US fit

The WorkCast online events platform, Stratus, allows clients to host webinars with larger audiences. Stratus is “an amazing fit for the US market and now increasingly allows us to expand in all international markets,” Kibby says. “With our US office and international team firmly established, we are well placed to continue this growth well into the future.”

In 2019 alone, the US business achieved year-on-year sales growth of 50%. “Receiving recognition for this [in the Queen’s Awards] gives us the impetus to scale up this programme, which we are doing,” Kibby says.

The firm is expanding the overall WorkCast team, with new sales and support roles being created in the Seattle office to support international growth.

UK roots

Despite the glitz of working on America’s West Coast, Kibby says the firm doesn’t forget its UK roots.

“Our North East England team have been the bedrock on which the business has thrived,” he says. “Adding the US and Edinburgh marketing team has allowed us to excel internationally as well.”

The award couldn’t have come at a better time for WorkCast. “Winning the Queen’s Award has been a boost for staff morale, especially in the current situation,” Kibby says.

“The teams in both the UK and US have been working very hard over the past few months to keep up with increased demand, and to receive recognition like this has put a spring in their step.

“We’re all incredibly proud of this accomplishment and once we are back to some sense of normality, we hope to be able to celebrate together.”