History of Customer Refocus

Customer Refocus offers consultancy in innovation particularly for technically complex products with a high level of scientific input where attention needs to be paid to defining market friendly specifications and selecting the right sales channels. Generally the work is market research led with occasional direct sales support activity.


Vertical markets have been  very varied: electrical energy management, IT, telecoms, various applications of space technology from vehicle electrical systems, waste recycling, farming, distributing time, optoelectronics (solar panels to lasers via liquid crystal displays), adhesives, medical devices from wound management to robotic pills, telecommunications and defence conversion; not forgetting marine weather forecasts.


About half the business has been direct with the client and half as a partner or subcontractor with other brands as below.


Macarthur Stroud International was a major client through which we did many World or European scale assignments for major IT companies providing market research led advice for international product and marketing strategies and marketing due diligence for acquisitions and venture funding. Products ranged from optical tape drives via magnetic tape and disk to microfilm and archive storage of paper with the associated software.


Customer Refocus also worked regularly for Cambridge Consultants as a subcontractor on world leading innovation projects in optoelectronics.

Another client was JRA  Aerospace & Technology. We joined the preparation of  DERA, now Qinetiq, for privatisation by assessing the patent portfolio and the potential of key patents for spin off. Other clients included the National Endowment for Science, Technology and Arts (NESTA) a pre-seed venture capital fund and Yet2.com a technology transfer firm. We also worked to transfer technology from the European Space Agency to civilian applications as well as assessing over 120 inventions put forward by the Russian Academy of Sciences. 

This led to technology transfer work in Russia including optoelectronics (LEDs and SLEDs), seed germination, energy use and software which developed into a new business, Volga Trader.

A trip down the Volga

Volga Trader provided business development support for organisations seeking to trade or invest in Russia. We had offices in the UK and in Saratov, Russia with full time staff and a network of associate consultants particularly strong in the Russian regions. We also worked outside Russia in other countries of the Eurasian Economic Union such as Armemia, Ukraine and Qazaqstan (Khazakstan).


We performed market research, due diligence and business planning for potential investors in Russia. Examples included large investments involving a dairy farm, an oil company and a number of hotel projects in addition to trade activities, typically searches for distributors on behalf of exporters of goods or services. 


There were tech projects particularly integrating optoelectronics in medical devices but Philip Owen’s youth in rural Mid Wales became rather important as more and more of the Russian work involved agriculture and food.