Slingshot Simulations – how we’re getting on during the lockdown

In the second of our catch-ups with Nexus members on their key projects and tips for survival during the current lockdown, Dr David McKee, CTO and Founder of Slingshot Simulations, tells us about the challenge of recruiting key talent remotely and missing playing pool (badly).

Our two newest recruits – web developers Imogen and Alex – were shortlisted, tested and interviewed remotely, their first day at work was actually at home, and they’ve been introduced to the rest of the team virtually: getting to know us, our clients and our projects on Microsoft Teams.

Quite a challenge for the team, who were themselves adapting to the world of lockdown, but something we embraced thoroughly and enthusiastically, to make sure we found the right fit for us, from a truly outstanding field of over 50 applicants from across the Leeds and the City Region including Northcoders (network & school of coding). We’d initially planned to recruit one new person, but these were candidates not to be missed.

We recognize how lucky we are, that as we all try to navigate our way through and beyond this devastating public health crisis, the expertise and skills of computer scientists and software engineers is very much in demand.

Some 25% of our current projects are related to the COVID-19 crisis either directly or indirectly, as businesses and organisations seek to adapt to the current situation and plan for what comes next.

A collection of selfies, in a grid format showing the Slingshot Simulations team making up a remote team photot

Business models must pivot and innovation plans accelerate if companies are to survive this new world and we’re working with public and private sector clients to help them plot critical paths and identify vital efficiencies.

We also completed an analysis of COVID-19 cases in just 18 hours – using 40 days of data from the World Health Organisation and the World Fact Book to assess demographic and economic data on GDP, population density, age, water and air quality, climate, food and sanitation.

For us, lockdown came before the Prime Minister’s announcement, with Sophie, our Business Manager, leading an extensive contingency planning project, assessing every relevant Government website and data source, working out all the practicalities of working from home and issuing vital training and well-being resources to the team.

Start-ups are used to working at a phenomenal pace because of the intense and small nature of the company, but we also look out for the team and take care of each other.


My top working from home tips:

  • Create as much normality as possible – make sure people don’t feel isolated
  • Communicate as much as you can – we have a video conference call open on Microsoft Teams all day (9 to 5), every day, so it’s just like we’re in the office together; we dip in and out and share coffee break chats and lunchtimes
  • Maintain relationships – our virtual pub night and quiz for fellow Nexus members, their partners and families, is a great way for us all to keep in touch

But I do miss the actual meetings, the shared ideas, debates and chats with other members – Nexus is very much a family and we’re all looking forward to getting back together again.

I’m even looking forward to being able to be really bad at playing pool again…


As always, we love to hear from all of our Community, get in touch if you’d like to share your story with us.


Find out the latest information to help guide you through the advice and support schemes available in response to COVID-19 on our hub.