Trunki launches bespoke design tool
BGF portfolio company Trunki, the market leaders in the world of children’s travel, have launched a very bespoke service to little travellers across the UK!
Exclusively on trunki.co.uk, globe-trotting tots can hop online and totally bespoke their very own ride-on suitcase. With 9 different parts and 10 different colours ways their ‘made for me’ Trunki will be awash with a rainbow of colour and will definitely create Trunki envy from onlookers.
Children can mix it up ‘Van Gogh’ style with red coloured wheels, purple hubs, pink horns, black trim and green catches, even the fabric straps and handles come with alternative colour options.
Trunkis are made from the same lightweight durable plastic as adult suitcases and is tested to the extreme, ensuring it can take all the wear and tear from any travelling tot. As with all Trunki suitcases the ‘made for me’ Trunki comes with a free five year guarantee.
Best of British – All ‘made for me’ Trunki suitcases will be manufactured in Trunki’s UK factory. Customers can order safe in the knowledge that when their creation arrives it will be air mile free, so all that’s left for them and their family to do is start clocking up their very own Trunki air miles as they hop around the globe!
APSU TWP Limited (‘APSU’), a provider of IT managed services and an IBM Premier Business Partner, announced in October 2014 that it has secured a £7m investment from BGF.
APSU has a specialism in IBM’s Power i range of servers (formerly known as the iSeries and AS/400). Power i (IBM Power Systems running IBM i) is the world’s best-selling mid-range computer system. As an IBM Premier Partner, APSU is IBM’s highest accredited Business Partner in Europe and is the only UK member of IBM’s Global Business Partner Advisory Council. APSU also provides solutions through Cisco, Microsoft, HP and VMware.
The company was formed in 2011 by CEO Steve Morris from the merger of AssurIT with Apex Computers International Limited and is forecasting turnover of £25m next year. It is headquartered in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and also operates its own data centres. In 2013, APSU was recognised as the fastest growing IT company (Sunday Times Tech Track 100) in the south-west of England and ranked number 20 overall in the UK. Steve has over 25 years’ experience in the IT industry. He founded Catalyst Solutions plc in 1994, growing it to over 500 employees and turnover in excess of $100m, and was subsequently CEO of IFTE Limited, taking it from a small UK business to a world leader in its field before floating on AIM.
BGF’s investment will enable APSU to recruit technical personnel in the UK to support overseas customers and build a bigger sales and operational capability to address the US and other overseas markets. Overseas expansion is being driven by existing customer demand. APSU will now be considering selective acquisitions to enhance its service offering, both in the UK and internationally.
The investment was managed for BGF by Ned Dorbin, Paul Brindley and Edwin Davies. BGF was introduced to APSU by Lloyds Banking Group in Gloucester.
Ned Dorbin, BGF Investment Director, commented:
‘We are delighted to be investing in APSU. It is a company led by an experienced management team, at the head of which is Steve Morris, who has a very successful track record of growing businesses in this sector. This is a fantastic opportunity to invest in a highly accredited business that is well placed to grow by capitalising on an increasing trend to outsource IT services. There is also the potential for considerable overseas growth driven by its strong relationships with IBM and other blue chip vendors, its expertise in Power i and its managed services offering.’
Steve Morris, CEO of APSU, commented:
‘APSU has enjoyed significant growth over the last three years, primarily due to our expertise in Power i and the development and deployment of our unique, cloud-based, managed IT services to companies across all industry sectors.
The investment by BGF will provide the platform to build upon our exceptional growth as APSU develops and expands our unique feature-rich, cloud-based offerings for the UK, Europe and worldwide markets.
APSU has an exciting and profitable future ahead and I very much look forward to working with BGF, as well as continuing to work with our customers and partners, both in the UK and internationally, to ensure that we exceed market expectations for both innovation and quality of services.’
One of the UK’s leading providers of sustainable energy systems received £3.6m of investment from BGF in August 2014.
Established in 2005, Ecovision installs heat pump, solar panels, biomass and gas boilers in thousands of homes, businesses and community buildings across the UK, from stately homes such as Castle Howard through to single bedroom city apartments. Over 5,000 systems have been installed by Ecovision since 2005. The company operates nationwide with its head office located on The Prince of Wales’ Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire. In its next financial year, Ecovision is forecast to generate revenues of over £20m and in the next three years is expected to install over 30,000 new boilers.
The Ecovision team has already proven its ability to build a successful consumer focused renewable energy offering. In May last year, it sold its Free Photovoltaic business of over 4,000 Solar systems to Aviva, returning the investment and a premium to their investors. Ecovision still monitor and maintain the Solar Panel installations via SIM cards using their own Ecovision Asset Management software.
An additional focus for the business today is Hassle Free Boilers (HFB). Launched in 2013, HFB offers customers a state of the art, energy-efficient, Vaillant gas boiler which saves them up to 40% on their gas bills but requires no upfront cost. This gives the homeowner a saving of £2,000-£3,000 on the upfront cost of a new boiler and further additional savings each year of around £330 from reduced energy bills. HFB aims to compete with the larger, more established energy and utility companies by providing an offering that counters household gas prices in Britain which have risen faster than in any other major European country. Many consumers do not replace inefficient boilers due to the high upfront costs thus missing out on significant savings in their energy bills. With HFB there are no upfront costs and no deposit. All the consumer pays is the regular monthly payments for the service and maintenance plan.
The UK boiler market is the largest in Europe with an estimated 14.8m gas boilers in privately owned households and circa 1.4m new boilers being installed each year.
BGF’s growth capital investment is being used to scale up the HFB offering to create a significant installed base of boilers with contractual revenues, as well as a scaling up Ecovision’s Air Source Heat Pumps (“ASHP”) offering. ASHP can replace energy from oil, LPG and electric heaters and allow a significant reduction in fuel bills and CO2 emissions.
Ecovision is led by successful entrepreneur Peter Randall who, prior to Ecovision, was one of the co-founders of Telco/ISP Telinco which was subsequently sold for $250m in 2000 and then merged with Tiscali. Randall remained as Tiscali’s COO in Milan following the deal.
Peter Randall, CEO of Ecovision, commented:
“We are delighted to be working with Business Growth Fund who are not only providing Ecovision with growth capital but also access to their networks and expertise. Businesses like Hassle Free Boilers need capital to grow rapidly which then means that customers can access much more cost effective energy by buying heating in a smarter way. We are constantly reminded that gas prices are increasing, Hassle Free Boilers makes a step change in reducing energy bills whilst gas prices continue to rise.”
Ned Dorbin, Investment Director, commented:
“This is an opportunity to back a fantastic management team with considerable experience and success already in this sector. There are a number of opportunities in the household sustainable energy market for Ecovision to capitalise on and the team has worked hard to establish themselves in this market and build up their excellent reputation. Our capital, together with the debt facility from Shawbrook, will immediately be invested in the increased marketing of Ecovision’s Hassle Free Boiler offering so that it gains increased momentum and traction in the market.”
In November 2013, BGF invested £2.5m in Sub10 Systems (Sub10), a specialist designer, developer and vendor of class-leading millimeter wave (“MMW”) wireless solutions for mobile telecoms.
Sub10’s products are high speed wireless devices for data transfer across mobile networks where historically data transfer has been slow and unreliable. The company’s customers are primarily telecommunications companies and large network operators. Due to the growth in mobile data traffic, many operators are using wireless to save on radio spectrum usage and thereby increase efficiency. This can be achieved by using products such as Sub10’s wireless links where plenty of data spectrum is available for relatively short, high speed, point-to-point data connections. This is ideal for densely packed communications networks such as urban areas and Sub10’s products will help to improve the performance of mobile networks.
Sub10’s aim is to develop the smallest, best in class MMW wireless solutions which are cost effective and installer friendly. The company exports 90% of its products and currently the majority of its sales are to operators in Eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey with the remainder to the UK and Ireland.
Merger with Fastback Networks
In March 2015, Sub10 Systems agreed a merger with US venture capital backed company Fastback Networks.
Fastback, which is based in San Jose, California, delivers innovative mobile infrastructure technology, enabling network operators to deliver enhanced wireless solutions to its customers.
The merger created a group that is able to provide high performance backhaul solutions essential to the deployment of LTE, LTE-A, VoLTE, 4G and 5G mobile networks. The new entity converges Sub10 and Fastback’s powerful and proven technology platforms and intellectual property to enable the industry’s first hybrid – sub 6GHz and mmWave – Any Line of Sight™ backhaul solutions.
The Sub10 Systems operation in Devon became the new European headquarters for Fastback. The combined group is taking immediate advantage of Fastback’s North American sales and marketing presence and strengths, and vice versa for Sub10’s European presence and strengths.
BGF remained as a minority investor in the enlarged entity.
SHS extends breadth of industrial services with £2m acquisition
– Acquisition follows £5.4m investment of growth capital by BGF in September 2012 –
BGF portfolio company SHS Integrated Services, a specialist provider of high specification industrial scaffolding and associated services, has acquired Dixon Pentland Scaffolding Company Limited, a leading provider of scaffolding services to the energy and heavy industrial sectors. The opportunity was introduced to SHS by Grant Thornton Corporate Finance in Cardiff, who also advised on the transaction. The value of the transaction was approximately £2m.
The acquisition will provide Barry-based SHS with a national platform for expansion into a highly specialised and regulated market.
Based in Doncaster, Dixon Pentland specialises in work in the critical services sector, for example providing scaffolding services to the power line and transmission industry. The company’s specialist work for customers such as National Grid is complementary to SHS’s own activities on petrochemical and utilities sites.
With an annual turnover of £5m, key customers of Dixon Pentland include AMEC, Babcock and Balfour Beatty and the company employs 65 people.
Founded in 1998 by Paul Smith, SHS erects and dismantles large scale, technically demanding scaffolding structures for clients in the petrochemical, oil and power generation sectors. It also provides complementary insulation services. SHS’s services are often required by site owners, operators and contractors for essential maintenance and refurbishment work of industrial plants. Offering the highest safety and operational standards, SHS has secured long term contracts with multinationals such as Dow Corning, Murco and Alstom.
SHS financed the acquisition following investment totalling £5.4 million made in September 2012 by BGF.
Dixon Pentland represents the first acquisition that SHS has made using BGF capital.
Finance director, Gavin Payne, who led the deal on behalf of SHS, commented:
“This is an important step for SHS. Dixon Pentland’s reputation and customer base is a great fit with SHS, opening up new markets and enabling us to provide an even more complete service to our customers. We shall be continuing to work with Grant Thornton and BGF to identify potential further acquisitions to complement and extend our offering in what is a highly-specialised market.”
Paul Oldham, BGF’s regional director for South Wales and the South West of England, commented:
“SHS was the first company in Wales that BGF has backed and our investment was made in order to strengthen the company’s core capabilities, develop a broader range of services and expand into new sectors and geographies. Dixon Pentland is a highly complementary acquisition given its reputation in the industry as a well-established, high quality operator and will add considerably to the range of services that SHS is able to offer its clients.”
Ned works in BGF’s investment team in the South West and is responsible for finding and completing new investment opportunities as well as continuing to work with the boards of BGF’s investee companies.
Ned joined BGF in January 2012 from Maven Capital Partners (formerly Aberdeen Asset Management) having worked in their London office since 2007. He has completed more than 20 equity investments and has been involved with the boards of most of these companies. Earlier in his career Ned worked in corporate finance with BDO Stoy Hayward and previously qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2001.
Ned graduated with a BSc in Oceanography with Mathematics from Southampton University. He lives in Bristol and is married with three young children. Ned is an improving golfer, a keen snowboarder and a declining footballer.
- BFF Nonwovens (Board Director)
- APSU (Board Director)
- Ecovision (Board Director)
- Sub10 Systems
- Trunki (Board Director)
- SHS Integrated Services
- Direct Online Services (Board Director)