To sell or not to sell? WHEN is the question, says Marion Bernard
The reasons why a business owner might choose to sell are varied but there is usually a clear rationale for doing so. Often it comes down to capital requirements: either that additional financing will be needed to take the business forward but is not readily available, or at least not on terms that are attractive to management; or, that for personal reasons, the shareholders are keen to realise the benefits of their hard work and cash out.
However, WHETHER to sell is not the only critical decision that a business owner needs to make. WHEN to sell is equally important.
Is now the right moment? When you started your business, you had an ambition and a clear vision. Have you accomplished all that you hoped or is there long term potential still to realise? What might your company look like in 3, 5 or 10 years’ time?
Could you double your workforce, treble your turnover? Could you expand out of your home region through organic or acquisitive growth and develop a national or international footprint.
These could be more than just aspirations.
BGF could offer business owners two bites of the cherry – the means to continue building a business now, enhancing its value for the future, as well as the immediate benefits of some cash out. So if you believe that now is not the time to sell all your business, think about selling some of it and raise money and bring in a partner to help ensure the business continues to grow. Then sell the remainder in the future when it may be worth two or three times more.
BGF’s role is to help owners grow their businesses and in so doing look to increase value.
Many business owners fear that taking on external investment will result in a loss of control, but with us, this is not the case. We buy a stake in your company at a fair price, this is always a minority stake.
As equity investors, we take a calculated risk on the future success of your company and as such are focused on its growth potential. This ensures that the relationship is a real partnership. We bring not only capital, but also a book of contacts and broader financial and operational expertise. All of this will benefit your business and should put it in a much stronger position for a sale in the future.
Unruly acquired by News Corp
16th September 2015, London UK
Unruly, based in London’s Tech City and led by co-founders Scott Button, Sarah Wood, and Matt Cooke, is one of the world’s most innovative ad tech companies, getting videos watched, tracked and shared across the open web, increasing viewer engagement, brand performance and publisher revenues. Its platform has attracted top tier advertisers and brands, including Adidas, Dove, T-Mobile, Evian, Go-Pro and Renault.
Amadeus, along with Endeit Capital and BGF backed the company in January 2012, since then Unruly has seen a period of sustained growth, continuing to launch ground-breaking products, making a number of significant strategic acquisitions and international joint-ventures, expanding to 15 offices across the world and winning numerous awards. Revenues have grown to nearly $50m in its most recent financial year.
Unruly founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer Scott Button says: “We have had great support from our three institutional investors and I know that they would have been happy to continue backing our growth, but the opportunities and synergies of being part of a major global media business like News Corp offer us a hugely exciting prospect. We are now looking forward to a completely new phase of development.”
Commenting on the exit, which will produce strong returns for the three investors:
Stephen Welton, CEO of BGF, said: “Unruly is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when entrepreneurs like Scott, Sarah and Matt are given access to flexible funding options, and have the confidence to take calculated risk.
“Over the past four years, growth capital has helped Unruly move into new markets, expand the team, increase revenues and create value for the founders and shareholders. As one of BGF’s first investments and now representing our first full exit, we are truly proud of what the Unruly team has achieved – and we look forward to backing more and more entrepreneurs just like them.”
Amadeus’ Richard Anton commented: “I am proud to have chaired the company through our first year until Mike Kelly joined and to have introduced them to their joint venture partner, Fast-Track, in Asia. We wish them all success under their new owners.”
Martijn Hamann, Partner at Endeit, added: “We have been impressed with Unruly’s founders and their local teams around the world in executing and monetizing the social advertising ecosystem through Unruly’s platform. I am proud to have been able to back and actively support the internationalisation journey of Unruly, especially in Germany with the acquisition of Shareifyoulike, and we wish them a great future as part of News Corp.”
For further information please contact:
Jon Rhodes for BGF, +44 (0)7974 982 334 Jon.firstname.lastname@example.org
Chantal Ligertwood for Amadeus, +44 (0)7976 229 210 email@example.com
Martijn Hamann for Endeit, +31 (0)653 726 743 firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CONSULTING CONSORTIUM
UK’s largest independent regulatory consultancy set to expand with BGF investment
In March 2014, BGF invested £10m for a minority stake in The Consulting Consortium (“TCC”), the UK’s largest independent regulatory and compliance consultancy.
Headquartered in London with an office in Leeds, TCC provides specialist regulatory compliance services to FCA regulated firms in the financial industry. TCC has advised over 250 financial services clients since 2001, more than 140 in the last two years including a number of FTSE 100 and multi-national companies.
Entrepreneur Joanne Smith founded TCC in 2000. With over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, she began her career at the Financial Services Authority (FSA) before becoming a regulatory consultant for KPMG. In establishing TCC, Joanne sought to build a consultancy business that would provide a very different style of service to that of the traditional ‘Big Four’ firms. In what is still a typically male dominated industry, females account for over half of TCC’s staff and Joanne has been credited with a number of awards for her contribution to the industry.
TCC has experienced impressive growth over the last few years and in December 2013, TCC was ranked in 45th place on the 2013 Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100. Its turnover in the current financial year is approaching £12m.
BGF’s growth capital investment will focus on building the firm’s marketing, personnel and infrastructure. TCC is expected to grow revenues on the back of an increasingly active FCA and through capturing market share. The value of regulatory actions brought by the FSA/FCA during 2013 revealed that fines reached a record annual total of over £472 million (source: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer).
TCC has developed a ground-breaking proprietary risk management SaaS solution called RecordSure that monitors, records and analyses near real-time interactions between financial product sellers and customers to provide transparency, consistent reporting and compliance tools to address issues of mis-selling or other regulatory breaches.
Joanne Smith, founder and Chief Executive of TCC commented:
“BGF will provide valuable guidance and contribution in taking our company to the next level of growth. Given the ever changing regulatory environment, with financial services companies needing to remain compliant at all times with FCA regulations, our services are increasingly in demand.
“We have delivered impressive year on year growth without any institutional funding to date, but we wanted the right investment partner to help take the business to the next level. BGF stood out for us because their bank shareholders are the exactly the type of companies that we want to work for. They bring so much more than money to the equation in terms of expertise and a huge network of relevant contacts that we can access.”
Marion Bernard of BGF, commented:
“Our investment in TCC is a very exciting opportunity for BGF. The company has demonstrated its ability to deliver complex regulatory solutions and advice to major financial and consumer companies across the UK. The increased focus on maintaining high regulatory standards following a number of high profile incidents in the financial services industry over the past few years highlights the need for TCC’s expertise.
“We were also particularly excited by the new software product RecordSure, which has the potential to revolutionise the manner in which companies approach and monitor regulatory activity within their firms. We are delighted to be backing Joanne and the team, who are genuine experts in their field.”
Marion Bernard, BGF Regional Director for London and South East, joined the board on behalf of BGF.
Head of Strategic Investment
Marion is a member of BGF’s executive team, sits on the national BGF Investment Committee for both BGF and BGF Ventures, and is responsible for BGF’s strategic investment activity.
Marion has over 20 years’ experience of funding small and medium sized companies across the UK. She joined BGF in October 2011 directly from Northstar, where as Chief Executive she led the successful development of this pre-eminent regional fund management business, focused on making long-term equity based investments in SMEs across the North East and Yorkshire markets. Prior to Northstar, Marion gained debt and equity investing experience with Barclays and 3i in London and has been directly involved in a range of deals covering buyouts, growth capital and early stage technology investments. At BGF Marion initially led the London and South East regional team to invest in over 30 companies, and successfully exit three of these – Unruly, The Exchange Lab and Plastique.
Marion has a BA (Hons) in Economics, lives in Hertfordshire and enjoys tennis, walking and visiting Northumberland.
“It has been an absolute privilege to be backing entrepreneurs across the UK to support their growth agenda, and to work with everyone at BGF to help companies scale up with our flexible and long term capital offering. We will continue to actively listen to entrepreneurs and ensure that BGF is ambitious in its own development to fully support SMEs that form the backbone of UK plc”.
Unruly acquires social ad platform
Unruly pounce on $10 billion social video advertising opportunity
London and New York, 13 May 2013
Video technology company Unruly today announces it has acquired Shareifyoulike, the leading German platform for social video advertising. The acquisition combines Shareifyoulike’s portfolio of high quality media partners with Unruly’s global media footprint and proprietary technology, used by two-thirds of the Interbrand 100 and their agencies. Unruly’s international expansion has been rapid in order to meet growing demand from brands; the company now includes 11 offices worldwide, including five in the US.
With online video advertising the fastest growing category of ad spend in 2012 and predictions that global online video advertising spend will rise to $10 billion by 2015, the acquisition confirms Unruly’s position as the global market leader for social video marketing and supports its mission to deliver the most awesome social video campaigns on the planet.
“Demand for social video has reached a tipping point now that content marketing has established itself as a must-have marketing medium for every CMO’s strategic priorities and budget,” said Scott Button, co-founder and CEO at Unruly. “This acquisition not only accelerates our international growth but marks the start of consolidation in the market as social video technology is sitting high on the merger and acquisition agenda of large technology companies.”
Unruly’s market-first, multi-award winning innovations, such as Unruly ShareRank™, Unruly Analytics™ and its interactive app-based Social Video Player, helps agencies and brands to create contagious content and get their videos watched, tracked and shared across paid, owned and earned media.
“Unruly is a strong cultural and strategic fit for Shareifyoulike and will help us to leverage the market position we have built in Germany since 2010. Between us, we have delivered over 2,800 campaigns, with a total viewing time of over 979 years, perfectly positioning us to support leading brands and their agencies. Unruly’s data, technology and 360 degree product suite will help fuel our growth in this market and allow us to compete on the international stage,” said Martin Dräger, founder and CEO of Shareifyoulike, who will assume the role of Unruly Managing Director in Germany.
Unruly Launches Analytics Dashboard
World’s Largest Video Sharing Database Now Provides Historical and Real-Time Analytics
Video technology company Unruly today launches a real-time analytics dashboard which allows advertisers to gauge the social impact of their current and previous social video strategies versus their competitors. Released in open beta today, Unruly Analytics™ is based on the company’s proprietary technology, which has tracked seven years’ worth of historical video sharing data across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere. The cloud-based dashboard has been beta-tested by some of the world’s biggest advertisers and measures content from 1,300 brands across all verticals.
“Unruly Analytics is super easy to use, has a sleek user interface and offers beautiful data visualization which updates in split seconds,” said Irène Labus, Analytics Director, Havas, who has been beta-testing the product.
“What’s most valuable about the product is that the real-time data tracks such a broad spectrum of branded video content, across paid, owned and earned media.”
The solution is available in two versions. The Benchmark Edition is used to effectively measure a brand’s social video footprint against its competitors while the Campaign Edition provides real-time insight into a specific campaign’s performance and ROI.
Unruly Analytics provides:
- Cloud-Based Access: Login wherever and get real-time insights into video performance to quickly pull reports, measure success and inform future strategies. The data is collected every 60 seconds so you can always have an accurate picture of what’s happening;
- Enterprise-grade software platform: Robust, stable product based on seven years of research and development;
- Data Visualization: Create a variety of simple and elegant visual representations of vast sets of data in seconds. Present them in an wide choice of classic and cutting edge visual analytics – including pie charts, bar graphs, polar charts and even streamgraphs!;
- Historical and Real-Time Analysis: Capture data from specific timeframes e.g. last quarter, last year and past 24 hours;
- Competitive Analysis: Benchmark a brand’s social video performance to outsmart the competition;
- Granular Metrics: Track a broad variety of metrics, including total shares, shares by platform, views, views by platform, comments and likes;
- Easy to use: The solution is easy to use and requires zero training.
“We are seeing an explosion in the social video market and brands are struggling to keep pace with how to measure the medium and report the success and ROI. Four billion items are shared on Facebook every day and 700+ YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute,” said Matthew Cooke, CTO and co-founder of Unruly. “Unruly Analytics bridges the gap between the big data deluge and the ability to pull actionable insight from video content tracking. Brands can now benchmark the success of their individual video campaigns or calculate their total share of voice versus their competitors.”
Unruly has tracked over 329 billion video views and tracks 1.6 million videos at any one time (in real time). Some of the data used in Unruly Analytics also powers the Unruly Viral Video Chart™, which has been trusted since 2006 by advertisers worldwide to track their video content.
Many platforms don’t begin tracking content until users have identified the content and asked for it to be tracked by entering it into the database themselves. Unruly Analytics is already tracking 1,300 global brands and counting. This is the reason why users are able to access historical data and competitive intelligence as soon as they log in to the dashboard, with no set-up required.
Predictions are that global online video advertising spend will rise to $10 billion by 2015, with internet ad spend expected to account for 59 percent of the growth in total ad spend between 2012 and 2015. In such a fast-paced environment, it is critical that brands have access to up-to-the-minute statistics.
Unruly Analytics is the latest in a line of Unruly™ products released in 2013. It completes Unruly’s capability to provide end-to-end campaign support to its clients, from creative solutions and content evaluation, through video distribution, social tracking and now customizable benchmarking.
To register your interest in trialing Unruly Analytics, please click here.