Key Facts

Company: Snowflake Software
Location: Southampton, South Hampshire
Sector(s):  ICT & Digital/ Aerospace & Aviaition

"We've always wanted to build a very flexible generic product, and even though our business was very focussed in the UK, we engineered our product to be very generic and flexible so it would give us lots of opportunity to diversify in the future"

Ian Painter, Managing Director, Snowflake Software

Snowflake Software – Technological Innovation in Aviation

The Southampton based aviation data management company established in 2001 continues to extend its reach throughout the world.

Snowflake Software, a successful high growth SME that specialises in data management was established in 2001 when Ian Painter and Eddie Curtis, two tech savvy individuals who were former employees at Ordnance Survey, conjured the idea over a pint at the Guide Dog Pub in Southampton.

With expertise in software, Ian and Eddie decided that Snowflake as a company would sell geospatial management software to local authorities, an ideal move since there was a gap in the market for such invaluable technology

However, as time went on and the demand for geospatial data started to stagnateb the company then pivoted their target audience - transitioning from local authorities to the aviation industry.  This provided the company with an opportunity to use its data management expertise to solve difficult problems in the aviation industry, and in doing so change their status from a domestic company to a global company.

Snowflake Software successfully entered the aviation industry when they were working on the XMAN project with the UK air navigation service provider NATS. Utilising Snowflake technology, the project aimed at reducing aircraft stacking over Heathrow. Since its initial introduction on a trial basis in 2014, over 4,700 tonnes of fuel savings have been made annually, which as a result has permitted airline operators to save £2.5 million a year whilst eliminating at least 15,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.  

The shift in their target audience has also seen Snowflake’s overall revenue grow by 30% in the last year accompanied by the launch of sub offices in Washington DC and Abu Dhabi. Snowflake has worked with aviation companies which include NATS based in Southampton and GCCA, The General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates, a client that catalysed and prompted the decision to establish sub offices in the prosperous Middle Eastern country. Other clients include the FAA and IATA.

As for the company’s culture, Snowflake promotes an open policy literally and figuratively. With contemporary open plan offices that resemble those of Silicon Valley organisations – the company effectively encourages a collaborative yet fun working environment. Complete with a ping pong table and gaming consoles in an area specifically designed for lunching and socialising, the company has also managed to appeal to candidates from all backgrounds and cultures; with a 60:40 male/female split and employees from over 10 different nationalities.  Most of Snowflake Software’s staff are alumni from the local universities.

 In another section of the building, associates sit in the same open plan office and there is no physical barrier between Ian, Eddie and their team, making the idea of hierarchy non existent. Due to a close working relationship with the University of Southampton – the company holds a coding competition every year for students from the University and the winner receives a paid summer placement with the thriving software company.

The award winning start up with a vision to make ‘data available and easy so that air travel is better for everyone’ has certainly made its mark and is truly an asset to Hampshire’s ICT and Digital sector.