Portfolio Company

B15 front - Copy


Bullitt Group Ltd., global licensee of Cat® phones wins BGF backing

Reading based Bullitt Group Ltd is a company that provides complete go to market solutions for global brands looking to extend into mobile or audio products.

As the worldwide licensee of Caterpillar Inc. for mobile devices and accessories and the licensed manufacturer of JCB mobile devices, Bullitt owns a commanding position in a rapidly expanding ‘rugged’ device category and is quickly emerging as a market leader in the design and manufacture of high quality, high durability mobile phones for both the consumer and industrial sectors. An example of Bullitt’s collaboration with Cat® can be seen in the following video for the Cat® B15 Smartphone.

Bullitt operates a fully integrated model for the brands it works with, from product conception, through to distribution and marketing of the products.  Its channel partners and customers include the world’s leading cellular distributors and telecoms carriers, who in turn sell Bullitt’s products to end users in 50 countries. Bullitt outsources manufacture to a highly regarded Tier 1 supply chain that includes the largest electronic design manufacturers in the industry, such as Compal in Taiwan, a Fortune 2000 company.

The Cat® brand is the 58th most valued brand in the world (according to Interbrand) and Bullitt is the company’s first licensee in the mobile device category, testament to the unique approach and benefit Bullitt offers to extending brands into the mobile sector.  Other brands in the portfolio today include JCB (manufacture of mobile phones) and Ted Baker (audio products).

The global market for mobile phones is large with 1.8bn handsets sold in 2011. The rugged segment is estimated at between $700m and $1bn with c.20m handsets sold per annum (* Source: Strategy Analytics, IDC, GFK).

Bullitt was founded in 2009 by David Floyd, Colin Batt (both previously held senior positions in Motorola); and Richard Wharton, an experienced sales and marketing executive with a background in media and consumer electronics.Operating globally and employing 30 people, Bullitt has offices in Reading, as well as Shenzhen in China, and the US.

In December 2012, BGF invested £3.5m of growth capital in the company to enable Bullitt to accelerate its portfolio of products and brands, as well as supporting the company’s expansion into more international markets.  BGF holds a minority stake in the business.

This was the fourth investment to be led by BGF’s regional team for the South West of England and South Wales.  The investment was managed for BGF by James Austin, Paul Oldham, Ned Dorbin and Alex Garfitt.

This was also the second investment that BGF made in the telecoms sector in 2012, having backed GCI Telecom Group, an independent telecoms and data services provider in February 2012.

Investment Size: £3.5m Number of Employees: 30 Turnover: £30-50m Company Location: Reading Sector: Telecoms Investment Date: February 2013 BGF People: Paul Oldham, James Austin, Ned Dorbin, Alex Garfitt

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