Meet the dyslexic entrepreneur who is solving logistical problems for businesses

Matthew Dunne saw his dyslexia as a ‘superpower’ and his different way of thinking about problems helped him to set up his own software company, writes Ismail Mulla.

Matthew Dunne never imagined himself running his own pioneering software company that employs around 45 people and has a base in Turkey as well as here in Yorkshire. But that is exactly where he finds himself over a decade and a half on from leaving school.

“I struggled at school a lot,” the technology entrepreneur says. “I was severely dyslexic.”

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Despite this, Mr Dunne doesn’t view dyslexia as a disability but says it is a “superpower”.

Matthew Dunne started Despatch Cloud in 2015.

“While I struggled academically at school, it really helped me think about things a little bit differently so I’m very good at problem solving,” Mr Dunne said.

After leaving school, Mr Dunne went to train as an electrician but didn’t like it and ended up fixing fruit machines in an arcade.

He may not have found his calling at that point but he had developed a knack for solving problems.

That is what led to him establishing Despatch Cloud, a software as a service company that helps e-commerce firms simplify their order flow.

The entrepreneur started off his career fixing arcade machines.

Mr Dunne started off writing plug-ins and met Solomon Drury, who was running an eBay business selling baby bibs and needed help with a plug-in. Mr Drury is now operations manager at Despatch Cloud.

Mr Dunne said: “I graduated with a first class honours in web design and development from Hull in 2013.

“While I was at university, I ended up having a child. I needed to make money and I kind of fell into making these plug-ins for e-commerce. I started using the skills I was learning to build things.

“I’m very good at problem solving. When people come to me with a problem, my real ability is to think of dynamic solutions for their problems. My toolbox is code I suppose.”

Matthew Dunne: “Yorkshire is one of the best places to start a tech business”.

The entrepreneur wanted to go to university because he felt that people with degrees “know a lot”.

Having struggled at school, he did a foundation course to enable him to achieve his ambition of obtaining a degree.

Mr Dunne said: “University was the best thing I ever did but not for the reasons that you would think. The thing that university did was teach me how to research and teach me how to find information.

“It also introduced me to a lot of friends, who are like-minded, who you could bounce ideas off. Although the actual course content at university was good, I think it would have been good at any university.”

There was also a different approach to learning at university compared to school.

“What I’m good at is problem solving and the schools system isn’t really set up for problem solving,” Mr Dunne says. It’s set up for reading and writing. That’s why people like me struggle at school.

“My experience at university was different. It was more a case of ‘here’s a problem, come up with a solution’.”

In 2015, the young entrepreneur reached a point where he had to decide how serious he was going to be about Despatch Cloud.

Mr Dunne said: “There comes a point in all businesses where you think is this a hobby or is this a career?

“That’s what happened with me pre-2015 when I was at university. I was writing these plug-ins. I ended up writing what was the first version of Despatch Cloud.

“I ended up getting a few clients. I ended up having customers paying me money every month.

“Then you get to a point where you think this is good, I want more of this but can I turn it into a business? There’s a risk there, especially when you have got a new child.”

While learning the ins and outs of running a business was challenging, Mr Dunne need not have worried.

With e-commerce taking off, the Driffield-based software company’s services have been in demand. The pandemic has only just supercharged the online shopping trend.

Coupled with Brexit creating more complexity when it comes to paperwork, Despatch Cloud finds itself in a good place.

Mr Dunne said: “We can actually make that paperwork unnoticeable for them.

“We can make it like it was pre-Brexit because we fully support and have worked with the relevant couriers and agencies to make sure that we can produce courier labels that automatically send all the data to customs, do all the clearance and basically make it easy for people to get stuff into Europe.”

Despatch Cloud has also launched a project to help its clients measure and offset their carbon footprint.

“We have an amazing opportunity,” Mr Dunne says. “A lot of people probably would offset their deliveries if they knew how.

“We have the data. We know where they are delivering parcels to and from. We can calculate the cost of that and then we work with carbon offset companies to offset that.”

Despatch Cloud ultimately hopes to become the leading innovator in the warehousing technology space. It has also started bolting on some of its services to existing services, recognising that not every customer wants to make wholesale changes.

“That has proved really popular for us because it means we can be a partner that works with their existing infrastructure to give them additional services rather than replacing everything,” Mr Dunne says.

He adds: “It’s quite a lot of money if you’re a warehouse to shut down and change your system over. Whereas if you can just bolt something on, that’s much more attractive.”

Mr Dunne’s message to other people who suffer from dyslexia is to think of it as an ability and not disability.

“Everyone wants their business to have an edge,” he says. “Dyslexia can give you that edge.”

He also believes: “Yorkshire is one of the best places to start a tech business”.

“I would actively encourage anybody who wants to start a business to come to Yorkshire and do it,” he says.

Mr Dunne may have taken an unconventional route into coding but using this tool has enabled him to put a start-up at the sharp end of e-commerce.

Curriculum vitae

Title: Chief technology office and founder of Despatch Cloud

Date of birth: 21/04/1988

Lives: Driffield, East Riding of Yorkshire

Favourite holiday destination: I will always remember an amazing holiday I had with my daughter to DisneyWorld, which, given her age, was a magical experience for us both

Last book read: The Power of Positive Thinking: Dr Norman Vincent. Running a business can be challenging and you have to keep positive.

Favourite film: A Christmas Carol

Car driven: Polestar electric car

Most proud of: My daughter, a frequent inspiration to me

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