James Sampson, Founder of FileInvite
From architecture student to following an early love for being in business, James had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. Having successfully exited a few earlier businesses, the idea for FileInvite was born out of a frustration he faced in one of these earlier companies. James is passionate about building a culture that helps people grow and his business continues to grow strongly. Thanks for sharing, James.
How would you explain to a five year old what it is that you do?
FileInvite makes it easy for companies to get documents and information off their customers when doing business together. We work with companies all around the world and help hundreds of thousands of people do this.
My job as CEO is like being the captain of the football team, looking out for all the other players, making sure everyone is having fun, playing their best, and we all work together to win the game!
“My job as CEO is like being the captain of the football team, looking out for all the other players..”
Was building a tech company something you dreamed about doing as a kid, and If not, what was?
I always wanted to be in business for myself. Even as a kid I remember buying old skateboards off friends, fixing them up and selling them to the local skate shop for a profit.
I liked technology, so it was inevitable that the two passions would merge, but tech companies weren’t what they are today and the world was far less interconnected, so it wasn’t really in anyone’s vocabulary to start a tech company from NZ back then.
Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and what inspired you to start FileInvite?
I actually studied Architecture (the house type, not the computer type), but halfway through my degree realised it wasn’t the career path for me. I had spent too much time and money to walk away with nothing so I knuckled down and completed my studies.
I started my first company in the last year of my degree before graduating. Following on from that was a string of companies and some exits of varying sizes. This eventually led to FileInvite.
The idea for FileInvite grew out of one of the earlier companies Zyber, an award-winning web agency I co-founded in 2009. We grew rapidly and had to get text/photos/video content from our clients to build their websites for them with up to 200 websites in production at any one time.
Keeping on top of all this information we had requested off our clients became a real problem, so we built a tool to track it and make it easy for our clients to know what we needed and get it to us. It worked so well that we rebuilt it and commercialised it so others could use it too. FileInvite was born.
“You always have something to give back, and helping others to be successful in their journey whilst you are on your own journey is the best way to achieve true success in business.”
Who have been your greatest role models and what have you learnt from them?
My biggest role model is not a celebrity CEO, or bestselling author, he is not a flashy business communicator, but a humble Kiwi businessman named David Kent.
He was the first accountant I ever had when starting out in business and he had a passion for mentoring and helping young people succeed. He spent hours of time and energy to help encourage and guide people to be successful entrepreneurs, never asking for anything in return.
On Christmas eve 2012 David passed away and his Facebook page was flooded with hundreds of tributes from people whose journeys he had impacted. The biggest thing I learnt from him was that people and relationships are everything in business.
You always have something to give back, and helping others to be successful in their journey whilst you are on your own journey is the best way to achieve true success in business.
Where do you hope FileInvite will be five years from now?
Our Vision Statement is to be “The Global Standard for Information Sharing”. We will see this vision become a reality when we achieve our Mission Statement which is to be the “Simplest Most Secure Way to get Information to Professionals”.
FileInvite has been a global business since day one and is making a huge impact around the world already. In five years, we hope to be closer to seeing this vision fulfilled as we expand into all countries around the world and see the adoption of our software rapidly increasing.
How does FileInvite build and develop talent to be at their best?
I believe that growing great companies is done by growing great people. At FileInvite we invest a massive amount of time and money into people and their own personal journeys.
This is done any number of ways from annual individual training budgets for all staff, to best practice management frameworks, to mentoring catch ups and even company volunteer days.
If the company structure is aligned with employees personal career goals, skills and motivations and everyone is constantly improving and upskilling, the company will follow suit.
What does culture mean to you and how do you ensure this culture is maintained with everyone at the FileInvite?
Culture means everything to us at FileInvite! People and relationships continue years after today’s deals have been done, products have been built, and value has been created.
The connections built and memories created will last for years to come. Again we invest massive amounts of time, energy, and capital into our culture to ensure a strong, vibrant, and inclusive environment that everyone will thrive in and love.
Starting with communicating a clear set of people-first values, we build the culture with dynamic working environments, flexible work/life balance, regular feedback loops, staff surveys, manager check-ins, social events, birthday cakes, BBQ’s, training days, snow trips, the list goes on!
“I can’t tell you how to stand out, you’ll need to figure that one out for yourself ”
Lastly, as FileInvite continues to evolve, what kind of talent do you want to hear from in the coming months, and what creative license do they have to get your attention over an above CV’s?
We want to hear from anyone who is hungry to succeed, have a great attitude, awesome skills and wants to be part of a fantastic team that is kicking goals and making a difference globally.
We are regularly hiring across all areas, but would be particularly interested in talking to staff who have honed their technical development skills, or executive members with years of experience looking to get involved in the fast paced excitement of a younger company that’s going places.
I can’t tell you how to stand out, you’ll need to figure that one out for yourself.