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We Are Sweet - The Founders Story



James Haigh & Lou Fargeot of Sweet

What are the founder's backgrounds?


We Are Sweet started out as two tech-enthusiastic founders in a classic story of designer meets developer.


I (Lou Fargeot) spent a large part of my childhood messing around with cameras, video and cracked copies of Photoshop before studying multimedia and interaction design at university. This expertise has evolved and is now considered user experience (UX) in today's digital world.  


James, my co-founder, is an exceptional self-taught full-stack-developer who followed his natural talent and opted out of university early to pursue a fast-tracked career at We Are Sweet, leading the development of bespoke digital platforms for names like IMG Media at just 19 years old. 


What drove you to start?


We love playing with tech. We Are Sweet sees technology as a domain for experimentation and innovation that constantly begs for boundaries to be pushed.


The sport sector has a shiny and exciting veneer, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find outdated systems and a world of opportunity for those looking to create and innovate. We have held exceptionally high standards for our work from a young age and knew we could raise the bar for the industry. 




Image from Sweet website


What key milestones have you achieved so far?


Successfully delivering the first iteration of IMG Replay with just the 2 of us got us off the mark. It carved a niche for We Are Sweet in sport, created introductions to names like ATP and enabled us to begin hiring.

 

The pandemic was a double-edged sword of new contracts and rapid growth offset by the operational challenges of leading a fully remote team. Not just surviving COVID but growing a team culture throughout is a significant marker for us. 

 

A defining moment came when the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) announced We Are Sweet as their preferred agency, signalling our commitment to prioritising quality and innovation. We then launched Belong, the first real step to providing our own scalable software products.



PTO work


What has been the biggest challenge?


Establishing a strong culture is a significant challenge for any business. We Are Sweet was faced with bringing together a newly formed team where nobody had ever met face-to-face, at a time when the world was in lockdown making this an even tougher task. 


We didn’t have road-tested processes in place so we had to build them from scratch, often learning the hard way. We had to balance accountability with empathy and create a supportive environment for the team to flourish. We didn’t always get operations right and we are still fine-tuning as we continue to learn. 


What lessons have you learnt so far?


It’s important that the company consistently communicates its ambitions and vision clearly to the team so everyone knows what they are working towards. It’s not just about what we are doing, it’s why and how we are working towards the vision together.


The importance of true clarity cannot be overstated. Setting clear expectations and ensuring a shared understanding are the foundations of a cohesive and collaborative team. By nurturing the right conditions and providing the right tools, your culture will emerge organically. 


Lowest moment?


There’s no single standout moment, but we certainly endured a period during our growth phase where we weren't consistently delivering the quality we set out to achieve. As founders, we knew how to build great tech, but we didn't know how to lead a team or create an environment where people could collaborate and thrive.


Losing team members is never fun, underdelivering on projects or disappointing clients hurts, and it's also expensive and exhausting to rectify these things. We missed some opportunities with iconic names like FIFA during this period too, although, in hindsight, this may have been a blessing in disguise.


Biggest highlight?


IMG Replay winning an innovation award 6 years after it launched, was a personal testament of enduring quality. 


Finally being able to gather our entire team face-to-face for an Xmas party following a year of lockdown was a more intimate cultural highlight and an unforgettable weekend.  


Externally, our award-nominated live leaderboards supporting broadcasts as a second-screen experience for PTO have gained We Are Sweet recognition and affirmed our industry-leading team. 



Sweet team on an away day


Ambition


Our company vision is to be a leading provider of essential technology for the sport industry. The launch of our first product, Belong signifies a pivot toward a SaaS-centric business model and moves us closer to reaching that objective.


We Are Sweet also aims to be a thought leader in cultivating company culture and community for fully remote work environments.


We want to continue learning, playing, and making cool shit with technology for the biggest names in sport.  


Lou Fargeot is Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Sweet.



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