Will Gunaratne, Avius Managing Director and co-founder

Meet The Avius Team is our regular blog series where you can get to know the members of the Avius team, learn about their work, thoughts on the wider VoC industry, and lives after 5pm.

This month, we’d like you to get to know William Gunaratne, Avius Managing Director.

Will is a passionate technology enthusiast who has to stay on top of the latest tech trends and gadgets. He cycles, sails, and gyms. He’s also a car lover with a dangerous addiction to Japanese cuisine.

In 2006, he co-founded Avius together with his university friends, Luke Williams and Ben Story.


How did the idea of Avius come about?

It was pretty natural really – Luke, Ben and I were always working on developing (sometimes crazy) ideas with technology. We enjoyed what we did and so it was an easy transition from a beer-money venture to a business venture. Our first product was virtual queuing for theme parks, which we sold to another business to bootstrap a gap in the market we saw to provide in-the-moment feedback.


How do you see Avius grow in the next few years?

This year has demonstrated how agile and innovative we can be when challenged – SmartCode and Gestures were developed from scratch in under six months, and we’re all very proud of that achievement.

We will continue to place our main focus on research, development, and innovation. As we collect a huge volume of high-quality feedback on behalf of our clients, it feels natural that our route to growth is to continue to increase the channels by which feedback can be provided. And provide richer, faster, smarter, and more actionable insights from the data we collect.


How do you see the customer feedback industry changing in the next 5 years?

Customer feedback exists within the wider world we live in, so its future depends a lot on societal trends and how experiences are delivered.

Feedback is becoming native; more and more people expect to be able to provide feedback and often want to. We’re seeing feedback integrated into the experience at multiple steps and correlated together, and similar consolidation of data from multiple sources within businesses to provide cohesive insight.

Things like artificial intelligence will play a greater role in both gathering and providing insight from feedback. I think we’re still discovering new ways to capture feedback from people. Things like Gestures are an interesting first step.


What would you say is the most important to ensure a successful Voice of Customer strategy?

It needs to be thought about as a cultural shift rather than a services procurement exercise. Becoming customer-centric is really the key to a successful voice of customer strategy. The products and services you pick will help support that goal, but will be less effective without the top-down commitment required.


What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy adventure, exercise, and travel. I like doing strength training at the gym – I find it’s a great way to switch off, relax, and relieve stress. I also like cycling, and I’ve recently started getting back into sailing. We’re also renovating a 100-year-old house so there’s plenty to occupy my spare time!


What’s the funniest gift you ever received?

Secret Santa at Avius has yielded some excellent gifts, including a purple fluffy steering wheel and gearstick set, and a Christmas light headband.


Strangest thing you bought on Amazon?

Giant Adhesive Wiggly Eyes for my robot lawn mower and robot vacuum.


You have a reputation in the office for having a love of cars, what’s your dream car?

If money were no object: A Mercedes-Benz SL Pagoda from the 1960s for weekends, and a Porsche Taycan for day-to-day driving – until self-driving cars are available.


If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?

Bento B  from Bentos in Bournemouth.


Would you rather go to space or the bottom of the ocean, and why?

Space. I’ve always been fascinated by the vastness of the universe and our place in it. I can’t imagine a better way to get perspective than looking back at Earth from space.


What piece of technology would you like to see developed (that isn’t at the moment) that would make your day-to-day life easier?

I’m surprised we don’t yet have tiny robots to do most jobs. I think nearly every job would benefit from one.


And lastly, what’s the craziest thing you did as a kid?

I must have been around 11 years old when I rigged an electric motor to a door lock on my bedroom, connected it to my BBC Model B computer, and cut a hole in a wall in my parent’s house to install an access control keypad. Thankfully, they were very supportive of my creativity!


Keep an eye out for more interviews with our team members in the near future.