Anthony Main and Ryan Atkin, who both ran their own media businesses in York, came together under the same name last month to form The Distance.

The name is based on the “Going The Distance” as the business cutely describes its ethos on its website: “We want a relationship. Not in a clingy way but in a ‘we want to work hard for you so you grow to love us’ way.”

Anthony and Ryan, who previously worked on projects together after being introduced by a mutual friend, decided to combine their skills to provide a complete e-commerce package.

Ryan focuses on designing and building e-commerce websites, doing the creative design as well as promoting the sites through digital marketing, including integrating products with Google Shopping platforms and using social media, while Anthony can complete the package with mobile apps.

They said the firm offer long-term quotes for the work and then continued to see what it could add to the package.

“It’s all about the relationship and we’re pro-active in how we engage with clients so we can advise them on the next step,” said Ryan.

The business, which moved into the Ron Cooke Hub at the University of York’s new Heslington East campus in March, currently has nine staff, including part-time and freelance workers, and the pair hope to take on three more staff to continue the company’s growth in the next six months and to double in size in 12 months.

The new company’s first integrated project, involving both the web and mobile teams is for a new sculpture park alongside the River Frome in Dorset, called Sculpture By The Lakes. The website enables people to book tickets, as well as download a guide to the sculptures. Anthony has also just completed the iPhone application to accompany the tour.

Ryan has ambitions to make his mark with high profile fashion retailers, although Anthony said mobile was in demand across every industry.

“Mobile commerce is very big work at the moment, with Ebay and Amazon apps finding that there’s a lot of money in people shopping from their handsets. It’s perfectly in sync with the products Ryan is offering on the web,” he said.

In response to the demand, Anthony is developing the company’s own bespoke mobile content management system, which would enable clients to update information themselves.

He said: “An app’s success is all about the quality of the data within it and if it is updated regularly the app is more successful.”

And to help his clients maintain the technology, as well helping The Distance grow new talent, Anthony is talking to the University of York about holding mobile development courses.

He said: “The growth of the business has been restricted due to lack of resource in the mobile space. There are very few people taking on the capability to programme mobile apps and there are very few training courses that teach it. So we’re looking at building our own training courses using the corporate training facilities at the University of York.”

The company plans to train its clients’ inhouse staff in how to maintain their mobile apps as well as providing courses at different levels to help existing web developers convert their skills to mobile.

“We need to get more development resource in the marketplace or in six months there’s going to be a massive skills gap like in web a few years ago,” he said.

They also plan to take full advantage of being part of the university, offering internships and giving students projects to work on as part of their courses, which in turn they hope will provide them with resource they can employ.

“Clients want everything two weeks ago and we’re run off our feet,” he said.

Fact file

Anthony Main, 29, set up Web Dynamics, six to seven years ago, initially developing websites from home, but then trading as Mobile Dynamics when apps for the iPhone, Android and other smart phones became more in demand.

Ryan Atkin, 20, moved to York, aged 16, and worked in a shop selling tropical fish, where he saved up to launch his own business MediaMake. The agency, which was based at The Tannery, started off producing marketing leaflets and small websites for local florists, but as the business grew, Ryan has specialised in e-commerce solutions and digital marketing.