Locate in KentA small step to bigger offices has put a Kent software developer on track for future growth, thanks to the help of Locate in Kent.

RailSimulator.com Ltd, trading as Dovetail Games, launched in 2009 to develop simulation products for train enthusiasts and started by acquiring the rights to an existing product called Rail Simulator.

A fast-growing company, it employs more than 60 staff at its Chatham head office, and in Godalming in Surrey, and Stirling in Scotland.

Originally based in the Joiners Shop at Chatham Historic Dockyard, the Kent team had grown to the point where it was using five offices around the building.

“Early last year it became clear that we needed a new base,” said Gemma Johnson-Brown, Vice President of HR. “We had 40 employees and firm plans to add nine more in a short period of time, and even more over a longer period.

“Having the team spread across five offices really didn’t help our need for collaborative working and so we started looking for somewhere we could grow into. We set a search perimeter at 25 miles, taking in Essex and London.

“There was a real desire to stay in the local area as our CEO, Paul Jackson, is from Rainham and was keen to support local talent and suppliers. Many of our employees use public transport to get to work, so we were looking for good links, along with good internet connection as we rely heavily on that for our work.”

While searching for property online, Gemma followed a link to the website for Locate in Kent, the county’s investment promotion agency, that had originally help the company find its Joiners Shop base.

Philip Last, locate in Kent’s Businesses Development Manager, worked with the company to identify suitable premises elsewhere in Medway and at other locations around Kent, and set up and accompanied representatives on site visits and to meetings.

“We narrowed our preferred location down to two areas and Philip provided us with a list of contractors who drew up various office layouts and costs for the properties we favoured in those locations,” said Gemma.

Eventually they found the solution on their doorstep, with a first floor open plan office at the Observatory, Chatham, just 500 yards from their original home.

“It is flexible space which we can adapt as we grow, has plenty of parking and means minimal disruption for our staff,” said Gemma “We have 60 staff now and plan to add 40 more this year as we continue to expand.”

Philip Last said the search for a new base for Dovetail Games highlighted Kent’s high quality offering for tech companies.

“Although Dovetail Games found its perfect solution on its doorstep, the search took in a wide variety of locations including Medway City Estate, Kings Hill and Kent Science Park at Sittingbourne,” he said.

“Farther afield than the area Dovetail Games was searching in, we also have Discovery Park near Sandwich, The Bridge and The Nucleus at Dartford and a number of innovation centres around the county.”

With funding support available through schemes such as Expansion East Kent, TIGER in the Thames Gateway and Escalate in West Kent, and high-speed rail and road links to London and the continent, Philip added that Kent has a compelling package.

“Dovetail Games needed no convincing of the advantages of doing business in Kent, it just needed a thorough search to find them their ideal home,” he said.

To find out how Locate in Kent can help you grow or set up in Kent, visit www.locateinkent.com.


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