Matt Reaney

Take risks and follow them through. Seeking advice from others will maximize your chances of success and decrease your bias.


Matt Reaney is the founder and CEO of Big Cloud; a global data science recruitment start-up based at a UK office in Manchester. With the demand of technology ever-growing, Matt seeks to build bridges between businesses, budding data scientists and engineers through innovative recruitment strategies across the UK, Europe, the US and the Asia Pacific regions.

Originally from Sheffield, Matt enrolled in Hull University and received his BA in Law and Business. Following this, he travelled the world and met someone in Australia who thought that a role in recruitment would be a good fit for him. His return to the UK landed him a recruiting role in the heart of Manchester. Fast forward to 2013, Matt decided to go solo and founded his own specialist recruitment company. Until last year he engaged in hands-on recruitment. He now oversees Big Cloud, ensuring his staff are provided with the right tools to do an outstanding job.

Matt enjoys working with innovative companies, unique people and giving excellent service. Where better a place to find that motivation than the emerging trends of Data Science! For Matt, he is motivated to help the data science community find jobs they are passionate about with his expanding team of 20 recruiters.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

Following my work as a director for 10 years at a business called JAM Recruitment, I helped the business grow from 10 to over 100 people. When I left JAM, I knew that I wanted to do something for myself. I wanted it to be global, tech-driven and something that I found really interesting. One night I was sat around a dining room table with two close friends and we decided Data Science was the route we wanted to take our recruitment company. Inspired by the notion of Big Data and all it has to offer; we came up with the name Big Cloud.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

A typical day consists of my kids waking me up, then I’ll go to work and get stuck in. I don’t like to overcomplicate things, so I write lists and prioritise. Every quarter I organise a strategic meeting. We discuss visions for the business moving forward and set key objectives we want to have achieved by the next quarter. Ultimately, recruitment is very much a people business and things are always changing. We are constantly kept on our toes and have to find the balance. Between managing staff, screening candidates and seeking out new companies, my typical day is certainly not boring.

How do you bring ideas to life?

When I have an idea, I always seek advice from others first. I’ll take on board any suggestions and go away to do my research. Once I’ve exhausted that avenue, I’ll return to my advisors/experts in the field and ask them for further advice based on my findings. I can do this over and over until I’m confident I’ve got the full picture and I can run with the idea.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Anything that changes the world for the better is something that excites me. Trends in machine learning and artificial intelligence are opening all sorts of doors ranging from smart farming to advanced healthcare.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Acting on something. Whether it’s big or small, I can’t knock something till I’ve tried it. Accepting that there will be possible trips and failures encourages me to be even more productive. If I fail at something, I can choose to either move on or regroup and try again. Working as a team where you can share ideas and build on them is what really makes the difference.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Start your own business sooner!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Going with your gut isn’t the last resort. It should be a priority. We come across all sorts of scenarios throughout our lives that will test us. It’s important to trust your gut and follow it, even if it’s not right all the time. Taking risks is how you learn valuable lessons, and you don’t know what could happen until you try it.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I don’t believe in playing things safe. Taking educated risks and having strength in your conviction is going to set you above your peers. I could have simply chosen to work for someone else and not start this business. It would have been the easy option, but where’s the fun in that?!

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

For the first six months that Big Cloud was up and running, we limited ourselves to the confines of the UK. Going global and focusing on expansion has opened so many more doors for us, both in terms of the people we meet and the fantastic jobs available. Currently, we cover the Asia Pacific, Europe, and the U.S.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

For me, one of my greatest failures has been hiring people that aren’t the right cultural fit for the company. Recruitment is a person-centric field; therefore, my own staff have to deliver on a few things. They are all in their own way, bubbly, outgoing and bring something exclusive to the table. When you put a bunch of bright, intelligent minds in a room together, that’s where things really start to take off. Everyone has a positive influence.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Sustainable water. Let’s say goodbye to plastic and glass, why don’t we try importing water in cardboard packaging?

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I would have to say a coffee machine. I love a good coffee as much as the next person, but I was pleased to discover how much joy it brought to other’s lives too!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

It might seem a bit of an obvious one but honestly, the Notes app on my iPhone is my favourite piece of software. I have 268 notes in my phone, ranging from book and film recommendations to shopping lists or schedules for my kids and family. I can use it in every aspect of my daily life whether it’s business or personal. The interface is simple and helps me stay organised, enabling me to have all my lists in one place.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Principles by Ray Dalio. Everyone has something to gain from this entrepreneur. The book is all about the unconventional principles he follows in order to create great results in both life and business. We all have aspirations and this book will help you achieve them.

What is your favorite quote?

I will always remember these wise words once said to me: ‘Always stop eating when you can eat some more’ – Uncle Frank at 94.

Key Learnings:

• It’s good to have time to reflect on yourself and your business.
• Take risks and follow them through. Seeking advice from others will maximise your chances of success and decrease your bias.
• Spending quality time with colleagues when you can help strengthen relationships and opens you up to more opportunities. Get to know each other and help each other out.