About us


We help you transform your data into action and your people into loyal fans.

Yeah, but John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists. Then we don't have anyone to pillage.

Our history


Cool Timeline

2002
Jan 01

2002

It all started in 2002 with a few people in a tiny office we shared with two other companies in the small village of Watlington in Oxfordshire. River started life as a creative agency designing, building and managing incentive programmes. The hard bit was finding companies to do it for.  

 

Every good story has its turning point moment, often accompanied by a huge slice of luck. In mid-2003 we won a chunky contract with Mercedes-Benz, who liked our proposal so much, they overlooked the fact we had no accounts, no credit history and a county court judgement against one of our key suppliers. That was rare then; it wouldn’t happen today. 

 

BP joined Mercedes-Benz as one of our early customers – both of which are still customers today, connecting, appreciating and sharing stories using Rippl. Others soon followed and we were on our way.

2007
Jan 01

2007

By now we’d moved offices a few times to make room for a growing team. We began expanding our offering to include employee recognition, communication and engagement. 

 

With Jaguar Land Rover joining our other automotive clients, we spotted an opportunity. This was our first foray into Business Improvement and our work with JLR eventually gave us the idea for Loop.

2013
Jan 01

2013

Our CEO, Phil Dunk led a buyout of River from the group that owned the majority share. With software being central to our long term strategy, we also quickly acquired the software company that we’d been outsourcing to since we began. 

 

Having successfully merged the two companies, River became a company with software at its heart, building large scale, custom-built employee engagement and business intelligence solutions.We wanted to make great days at work for as many of our customers’ employees as possible, and quality software gave us that reach.

2017
Jan 01

2017

By now our software was reaching people in over 100 countries and had been translated into 30 languages. 

 

Being spread over two counties and three offices wasn’t ideal, so in 2017 we moved into our current home, the original Walls Ice Cream HQ in Gloucester. The building is a bit like a Viennetta, ugly on the outside but delicious once you dive in. The transition from agency to software company complete, it was time for the next chapter. 

 

Companies were moving away from buying and building software to licensing software as a service (SaaS), so we turned products that provide better value and enjoy a constant feedback loop enabling them to continuously improve.

2018
Jan 01

2018

Our first attempt failed. We made the classic mistake of building a product that sounded good to CEOs, but wasn’t used by the teams it was built for. Don’t build a product because it will sell, build a product because it will be used. Lesson Learned.

2019
Jan 01

2019

Sticking firmly to our roots of employee engagement and business intelligence, we now have two products that better reflect our heritage and our purpose of making great days at work. Rippl brings values and culture to life through recognition and storytelling. Loop transforms data into action and action into business performance improvement. 

 

We’ve always adapted, we’ve always tried new things and we always will. There’s no other way to stay relevant, fresh and exciting and, whilst it has its moments, it always makes for great days at work!  

Some of Our Team

Phil Dunk
Phil Dunk

CEO

17 years running River might sound like a long time. But it’s been a journey of start-up insecurity, a management buyout, pivoting from a creative agency to a software company, going bald, ecstatic celebration, sleepless nights and building scalable software products – all driven by our purpose of making great days at work for as many people as possible.

We may have reinvented ourselves at River, but what was true on day 1, is still true today. Be overwhelmingly positive, work hard, try new things with no fear of failure – and always be learning.

I love what I do, but I couldn’t do this without being healthy and mindful. It’s such a simple hack that helps me deal with anything that comes my way. If I was to give one piece of advice – give yourself a power hour every day and look after body and mind. The return on that small investment in time is significant.

Sam Bayliss

Data Protection Officer

Before River, I worked in a small company for almost 4 years, developing software. Starting at River in late 2017, I joined as a Software Developer. Since then I have worked in both the Employee Engagement and Business Intelligence sides of the business, developing our product platforms and bespoke solutions alike.

I am currently a member of the Operations Team, primarily carrying out work regarding Information Security.

 

Victoria Twigg

Head of Communications

Helping to keep our customers’ employees happy, motivated and engaged is the priority for the comms team at River; providing tailored comms which complement our social, reward and recognition software, Rippl. Before joining River in 2018, ‘employee engagement’ wasn’t something I’d ever really encountered. Employed work was simply an exchange of monthly duties for monthly cash.

 

 

Darren Godding

Head of BI Development

I joined River in 2017 as the technical lead of a development team responsible for delivering a BI offering to Jaguar Land Rover. A large BI offering with multiple stakeholders made it a challenging but rewarding start to my River career.

Now as the Head of BI Development I am responsible for the technical direction of our BI product (Loop) which although in its infancy is really starting to take off with potential customers. As part of my role I also maintain relationships with our other BI development teams to provide support and guidance to them as and when needed.

 

Sara Lewis

Head of Sales and Marketing

There has never been a dull moment in River since I joined in 2017 as a Senior Client Manager looking after JLR Europe. After rolling out their global programme across Europe, I moved to Head of Sales and Marketing where I get to be at the front end of our exciting products and shout about them.

I have a huge passion for people so meeting new clients is an absolute favourite thing to do and mix that with the awesome bunch I work with is just great! I am always game for trying new things, finding different ways to engage with people as well as known as a bit of a chatter box so (fortunately) my role lets me embrace this.

Sophie Hughes

Head of Customer Success

I joined River in 2011 as a Senior Account Manager and now work with both existing and new customers helping them achieve their business goals. I spend time getting under the skin of my customers’ requirements, understanding their business, often working as an extension of their own team. It feels good to keep on top of multiple projects and play a part in successfully delivering a website or app; it’s great motivation.

Together with a dynamic and brilliant team of people, I have helped deliver projects for companies such as Asda, Clarks, Compass Group, Computacenter, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, Rolls-Royce and Sky.

Chris Orme

Financial Controller

I joined River in 2013 following a management buyout. I oversee the finance team and I am responsible for financial reporting, forecasting, planning & analysis. I enjoy the varied nature of my job and working with a great team who are dedicated to producing informative financial information.

Nadia DiLuzio

Director

I started working with my River team back in 1997; on my first day as an apprentice at a small West London agency, Phil Dunk, Claire West and Nicky Dunk were already in situ and our journey really began all the way back there together. It could have gone very differently however, as MI5 were doing a huge recruitment campaign about a year into my apprenticeship. My bosses needed to be interviewed as part of the application process but they said no! That was the end of my short-lived desire to be the next MoneyPenny.

My apprenticeship led me on to enjoy a varied career path that has spanned most teams across our business; I still retain a close working relationship with one of our original River clients – Mercedes-Benz Vans – which keeps me close to our Rippl product and its success.

Nicky Dunk

Leadership Team

I started working for River before I was really supposed to. When River was a start-up and had its first few small but enthusiastic clients,I would spend my evenings producing performance reports as well as having a day job and newborn baby!

Having worked in every part of River I can support any team that needs help and an eye for attention to detail.

Claire West

Director

My journey with River began in 2003 – I was employee number 2 after Phil Dunk who I’d worked with for 9 years in a London-based agency. At the time I joined as a Senior Account Manager running our first two client programmes. In the past 16 years I’ve held pretty much every role in the business and so when needed can turn my hand to most things (with the exception of software development – we have a large team of talented experts for that!)

Catherine Ursell

Head of Data Team

I work with a great team of data specialists who are responsible for importing, cleaning and transforming our clients’ data to provide accurate figures for our BI platforms. I’ve worked at River since 2012 and it’s great to see the transformation of the business and our software over that time, but the best thing about working at River is the people!

Simon Porri

Managing Director BI

I joined River many moons ago (in 2007!), and initially looked after one of our biggest reward and recognition programmes, for our Jaguar Land Rover Client. My love of software and data led me to focus on the Business Intelligence side of River, and I have helped to grow and develop this side of the business over the past 10 years.

I am now responsible for the Business Intelligence Division at River and together with a brilliant team of people, look after our wonderful Clients, products, and strategy. I love meeting new Clients, hearing about their challenges and discovering ways in which us and our products can help them, which is lucky as this is what I do every day.

Martin Compton

Head of Event Production

I joined River in 2017 after over a decade of supporting the company from an external supplier perspective. My key role is to oversee every element of any event the company produces,be that a live corporate communication experience like a conference or roadshow, or a recognition experience like an awards dinner or a travel experience.

I also manage video production projects for the company, both for live events and the software element of our offering. I love what I do as every day is different and incredibly unpredictable.

Chris Brown

Chief Technical Officer

As the Chief Technical Officer at River my remit is to help guide and support the technical teams at River. I have a passion for helping people work together as the best software is always built collaboratively. The thing I enjoy most about my job is helping people to achieve their potential. Seeing young apprentices take on responsibility and watching them learn and grow has been particularly rewarding.

One of my favourite quotes is ‘strong opinions, weakly held’ which is something I always encourage; it’s great to be passionate about your opinion but your current position shouldn’t prevent you from being open to new ideas.

Matt Williams

Head of Architecture

I joined River in 2017, after nearly two decades building software for a wide variety of businesses, ranging from e-commerce websites to large scale BI and data analytics systems, and quickly found myself working on a broad range of projects. I see software architecture as being the responsibility of all developers, not just someone with “Architect” in their job title.

As such, my role is to work within development teams, helping them to deliver high quality solutions for our clients while sharing best practices and guiding technical strategy across the entire company. Working at River gives me a fantastic opportunity to help solve some tricky business problems while passing on what I’ve learned over the years, and to learn a bit more every day.

Verity Gunn

Head of Participant Care

My River life began in 2003 when the company had only just been created. Joining a small start-up with big ideas was both exciting and daunting in equal measure! I developed my role over the years and soon became Head of Participant Care. I enjoy managing people and encouraging them to have faith in their abilities and the decisions they make.

The job also involves juggling more balls in the air than any entertainer I’ve ever seen and I thrive on this aspect of my work. Having a good memory and an eye for detail is key in what I do and I achieve job satisfaction every day.

Our products


Our 2 amazing platforms

Track the right data from one dashboard & improve your business.

Explore Loop

Employee reward & recognition for happier, more productive teams.

Explore Rippl

Easy to turn lots of data, from multiple systems into distilled insight. Now we can understand our data, we act on it and business has improved massively!
View client story

Blog & Resources


Advice, insights & resources


Helping you help your people and improve your business

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A social network of people
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Engage your employees & improve business performance

Want to find out more about how we can help you track the right business data and transform your people into loyal fans?

Contact us today