Croud at 10.
A decade of Croud
In 2021, Croud turned 10, and what an incredible journey it has been. Ben Knight and Luke Smith, our co-founders, started the business back in 2011 in order to change the way things work in digital marketing – both in terms of leveraging a unique business model to provide clients with superior service and results, but also to change the way people work in digital.
What started in a loft, with a developer as the first employee, quickly blossomed, and we now have a fantastic team of 350+ in-house staff, five offices, a host of amazing clients, and 2,900+ Croudies!
We spent 2021 celebrating our 10th birthday all year round, and wanted to share the history behind Croud, key moments from our journey so far, as well as some of the celebrations and fun we had by everyone at Croud.
Q&A with Ben & Luke
To kick things off, we sat down with Luke Smith and Ben Knight, our co-founders. We discussed everything – from key moments over our first decade as a business and what motivates them to keep driving the business forward, to what advice they would give to aspiring marketing folk, and what the future looks like for Croud.
Plus, we also did a quick-fire – Ben versus Luke – to find out the important things, like who would survive on a desert island, and who is right most often…
How would you describe Croud?
“Passion, imagination, integrity”
“Always party ready!”
“Fun, sociable, caring”
“Ambitious, fast-paced, fun”
“Passionate, hardworking adaptive”
“Best in class”
“”Welcoming, supportive, collaborative”
“Inclusive, caring, ambitious”
“Brilliant, fast, inspiring”
“Enjoyable, fun, challenging”
“Ambitious, perfectionists, caring”
A quick trip down memory lane
Lots of incredible things have happened within our first decade – so much so we had to pick the key bits! Below is a quick trip down memory lane.
Croud is born
In April 2011, former Head of Search Ben Knight and ex-Googler Luke Smith launched Croud in the UK.
A growing team
One year in, we had seven employees, a rapidly expanding network of Croudies, and a fast-growing client base.
Croud opened its doors in Australia in 2013, and was recognised as Google’s fastest-growing search agency in the UK.
Space to grow
In 2014, we moved into bigger offices in both London and Shrewsbury, to accommodate our growing team of 40+ staff.
In 2015, we expanded our range of digital services to include programmatic and paid social, alongside PPC and SEO.
Five years in, we set up our office in New York, bringing our digital expertise to the US market for the first time.
As well as welcoming our 100th global employee to the business, Croud picked up a multitude of industry awards.
A great place to work
With our client base and employee numbers continuing to rise, Croud was named as one of the Sunday Times’ Best Companies to Work For.
A new era
Croud became a Google Marketing Platform reseller, which saw the launch of Serpico, our dedicated technology division, and received £30m in funding from LDC to drive growth.
In 2020 we welcomed our 200th employee and lots of new clients, as well as bolstering our ecommerce and data solutions offering.
The founders’ story
Our people sit at the very heart of Croud; we wouldn’t be where we are now without them. From driving forward internal initiatives and cultivating the renowned Croud culture, to working with our Croudies and across our client accounts to produce excellent results, our people are the beating heart of the Croud business.
As part of our ten year celebrations, we asked everyone at Croud a few questions on their favourite moments of their time within the business, what they really think about Ben and Luke (it was all positive!), what they think Croud will look like in the next ten years, and more! We had so many responses that we couldn’t share them all – but you can see a selection of the responses below.
What has been your most memorable day at Croud?
“The day we launched our D&I SteerCo & started our diversity & inclusion journey. I appreciated the honesty of our founders in acknowledging where Croud is lacking in terms of diversity within the business. It is also motivating to know that Croud shares similiar values to me around building a more inclusive culture that represents all communities big and small.”
“Sailing into Corfu harbour with Bohemian Rhapsody on full blast in the evening sun, ready for a very big night out. Classic Croud… But poor Corfu.”
“After a Covid start to my employment, it was the day I was able go into the office. A day of brainstorming with the CRO team and Ditch – just an exciting day full of idea sharing and getting excited for the the future of CRO and where I fit in it!”
“On my last day in the US in 2019, we won the Drum award for Digital Agency of the Year. But more importantly, we won the award for Wellbeing. Such an important win. I was so happy I cried!”
How would you describe working at Croud?
“Rewarding. It is tough as days are just so busy, too busy at times. But you also constantly get reminders of why it’s worth going through the pain barrier with the work we do as we have been able to build something amazing – and everyone contributes to that success. It’s the “opportunity to succeed” that the Croud culture underpins and reinforces that makes it so rewarding to work here.”
“Amazing culture and the best team in AU!”
“You will make real friends working at Croud. The work is tough sometimes but you always know what you’re working towards which makes it easier. You won’t ever have a dull day. “
“It’s not only a job, it’s a great experience learning new things, having the support needed and meeting amazing people. Friends for life.”
What do you love most about Croud?
“That everyone who works here believes in Croud and is happy/ understands the decisions that are being made. Or if they don’t fully understand the why, still trust the decision.”
“Definitely the people. Without them, it’s just another business, another agency.”
“The people, the integrity of our approach to clients.”
“I love that the company structure is flat and that we all work toward the same goal. I love that Croud really value its employees, works hard to grow the culture, and is willing “
“What I love most about Croud is that we are passionate and willing to make incremental changes to grow and better the people in the company. When you invest in your people, you invest in long-term growth for your business.”
The Croudie Network
Launched in 2011, the Croudie Network was created to help us deliver work at scale, and drive better performance for our clients. Made up of over 2,900 on-demand digital experts across the globe, from Russia to Azerbaijan to Vietnam, our Croudies work across 188 markets and 86 languages.
Our Croudies have become an extension of the Croud team and play a pivotal role in helping us create successful and innovative digital marketing solutions for our clients. We want to say a massive thank you to all of our Croudies who have played such a huge role in Croud’s success and growth – we couldn’t have done it without you!
Being on the Croudie Network
Hear from some of our esteemed and long-standing Croudies on how joining the network has changed the way they work for the better.
New York at five
As well as turning 10 in 2021, Croud’s New York office also turned 5! Our first five years have been incredibly exciting, with Kris Tait at the helm. There have been awards and recognition aplenty – from winning Digital Agency of the Year, Biddable Team of the Year, and an award for Wellbeing, to being included in the Great Places to Work list for three years in a row. Shoutout to our incredible team and amazing clients, who have made Croud NY what it is today!
Kris Tait, Croud’s MD in New York, recently wrote an article on the seven lessons he has learnt since launching Croud’s NY offering. You can read it here.
Young artists of Croud
It is always important to gain an outsider’s perspective of things, and therefore we set the children of Croud a VERY important anniversary challenge – to draw Ben and Luke. We think they did a fantastic job, well done everyone!
Suthuni, age 6
Kiara, age 10 & Luke and Jasmine, age 7
Esme, age 4
Imogen, age 4 & 3/4
Sofia, age 9
Rebecca, age 8
James, age 6
Dan, age 4
Alice, age 6
João, age 6
Amelie, age 5
A snapshot of the past decade
Finally, a big thank you!
Thank you to everyone who has made our first 10 years as a business so incredible – to our internal teams, our Croudies, our clients, partners, friends and families.
Here’s to the next 10!