Business Technology

Paul Walsh: The marketing entrepreneur part of the call tracking phenomenon

6 min read

25 October 2016

Former special projects journalist

Infinity is a company built around the good old fashioned phone call – a call tracking platform that can help businesses identify which campaigns have led to phone calls. We caught up with CEO Paul Walsh to hear the company’s story so far.

Infinity is a company built around the good old fashioned phone call – a call tracking platform that can help businesses identify which campaigns have led to phone calls. We caught up with CEO Paul Walsh to hear the company’s story so far.

Paul Walsh, Infinity

Paul Walsh, Infinity

Call tracking has been around for many years now, but there was a step-change about five years ago when Infinity, and a couple of other companies, invented a new technology simultaneously that enabled them to track a call more effectively.

“Traditional call tracking companies were the ones putting numbers on billboards or TV ads so they could just say how many calls you were getting,” said Walsh.

“Then the next generation came through – what we’ve done is put a phone number that is dynamic to every visitor that goes to your website. We can track the true journey of each user.”

Infinity operates a SaaS (software-as-a-service) model – clients pay a license fee for the call tracking product, which varies depending on the type or size of the business. The data they get back gives them the confidence to invest more aggressively in the campaigns that work and fine-tune the ones that are not working so well.

“We sort of sit across two industries, we sit across the telecoms industry a bit and we sit across the marketing tech industry. Predominantly we are a marketing technology business, we just happen to shift a lot of phone calls around as well.”

Infinity was founded in 2010 and launched in 2011, with the idea born from one of Walsh’s existing companies, Jellyfish. That company is the largest independent digital agency left in the UK – it has around 350 staff and £50m turnover.

“We had clients who had millions of keywords and you couldn’t start giving one phone number per marketing source,” explained Walsh.

“Infinity was born out of that five years ago because we really had to measure this ROI at keyword level. We were a bunch of marketers trying to build a solution for other marketers. The way we show the data and make that data actionable, that’s what makes us unique in our space.”

“The reason we came up with the name infinity is because we can track an infinite amount of keywords.”

Up until very recently, Infinity has been self-funded, but the business has just received a £10m investment from a “renowned venture capitalist” who only makes three deals a year.

The five year-old business has seen a good, steady 70 per cent year-on-year growth. “Now with this external investment it allows us to build a rocket ship and really speed it up,” Walsh added.

Infinity is going to invest heavily in people, marketing and technology over the next 18 months or so. Currently the business is based in the UK and the US, but some of the money will be used to market in the US more aggressively.

Walsh cites this cash injection into the business as one of the biggest successes so far: “There’s been lots along the way, but I guess the more recent one is raising £10m from a business we’ve built from nothing – just an idea five years ago and bootstrapped. Someone external with a lot of experience has come in and said yeah, we believe in your vision.

When asked what he believes is the biggest challenge facing a CEO, Walsh doesn’t hesitate –people. “It’s either finding the right people, motivating people, keeping people informed of everything we’re trying to do strategically and tactically.”

Although this is a big challenge, Walsh believes it is something Infinity does well. It is his personal ethos to build a place to work that he would love to have worked at – and then his staff feel proud to be part of that environment.

“It’s just about investing time in people so then they give back. Always have the mind-set that it’s a two-way relationship.”

Walsh has set himself some pretty big challenges, but as a “tech entrepreneur at heart” he claims it is always best to “set out your vision and then work backwards from that” and believe in your ideas.

“You’ve got to have that mind-set of, I don’t know how to do it today, but that doesn’t matter. It’s not going to stop me. I’ll go out and hire the right people.

“As long as you’ve got an idea, the rest of it can be done. That attitude is really important if you’re going to be an entrepreneur.”