Putting Leeds Tech on the Map with: Steven Haynes, Coact

We caught up with Steven Haynes, Founder and Managing Director of Coact, on how their client reporting software is helping marketing agencies improve client experiences, how Leeds’ collaborative startup culture has helped to get them off the ground, and what the future has in store for the company. 


Tell us a bit about Coact, and your role, in your own words. 

Coact is a SaaS start-up based out of Headingley/ Leeds, our software helps digital marketing agencies resolve their headaches when it comes to client reporting! 

I am the Founder and Managing Director of Coact, I built the software and manage the day to day operations of the business. I’m also very hands on when it comes to supporting our clientbase, and try and share my knowledge of digital analytics and client reporting with every one of our users.


What was the inspiration behind setting up Coact?

Coact was born out of the frustration digital marketing agencies face when producing their weekly/monthly reports for their clients. With a background in data analytics and software development, I went onto work at a large agency, I quickly learnt the huge importance of reporting. I also become very familiar with the problems of getting said tasks completed at the end of every week/month. 

What I quickly went onto learn was the mega costs associated with the more established solutions, and the complexity of these tools which not only priced out the atypical agency but also ‘resourced’ them out due to the skillset required to use said tools. 

From here I set out to build a piece of software that was simple and easy-to-use by anyone with a basic understanding of KPI’s across all the major prominent marketing platforms. I also wanted to address the issue within the atypical agency that there often isn’t enough hours in the day to provide the quality of reporting required, as a result I wanted to include a consultative style support function alongside the software.

This is how Coact really stands out, and is head and shoulders above all the other solutions available on the market.


Why do you think is Leeds such a thriving hub for tech businesses?

I feel Leeds is a great place to start and grow a tech business, ultimately i’d say this is the key. One of the things that stands out to me is the ‘working together’ culture of Leeds, other start-ups and local business leaders seem to be invested in the success of the city, which seems to spill over into support and positivity. With both universities there’s always an abundance of talent available. Mentors and Investors are also very accessible within the city. One thing Leeds has going for it is that it’s a hub for Digital Marketing which has resulted in a handful of successful Digital Marketing focused tech businesses like Force24, Bidnamic, Beacon working out of the city.


From your unique perspective, what role will innovation-led businesses have in the growth of the regional economy?

I think innovation-led businesses will be massive moving forward. Tech companies especially can grow at such a rate that within 5 years they can go for 3 or 4 people to 50 – 100+, with high paying jobs created here and the fallout of even more new tech companies being born on the back of this, fueling exponential growth benefiting the cities inhabitants.


What’s the biggest challenge you face as a Startup currently?

Here at Coact we have ambitious plans for the next 3 – 5 years, we’re hoping to grow exponentially in both client numbers and team size, as a result our biggest challenge is first of all achieving this growth and then managing the aggressive expansion which will be key.


Looking forward, what are your hopes and ambitions as a company over the next 12 months?

I really want to get ‘Coact’ on the map when it comes to Digital Marketing software providers within the UK, we are confident in the solution and service we provide and truly believe we can start eyeing up international expansion in years to come.


How do you personally define success?

Ultimately success is achieving your targets that you set out to achieve, in turn earning fulfilment in your work and life as a whole.


Who, or what, has been the single biggest influence on your working life?

I always wanted to start and run my own business and walk my own path when it came to professional journey, as a result my drives and aspirations were internally defined and were there for as long as I can remember. Whenever I need a bit of inspiration I look at books that document the early journeys of what are now considered as some of the biggest companies and most successful entrepreneurs out there, an example would be the book Shoe Dog, which for anyone looking to start a business should read and realise the early days are often different to what people envision them to be.


If you’d like to find out more about what Steven and Coact are up to head over to their website, and discover more of the city’s leading digital companies on the Leeds Tech Map.




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