Inoapps on the acquisition trail following £10m investment
– BGF backs leading IT consultancy to support its ambitious growth plans –
Inoapps, one of the leading Oracle Platinum Partners and Applications specialists in the UK, intends to increase the size and scale of its operations significantly, thanks to a £10m investment of growth capital from BGF. This was BGF’s seventh investment in Scotland brought its current Scottish investment total to just over £36.9m.
BGF, the independent company established to help the UK’s growing businesses, invested £10m in growth capital to allow Inoapps to make several acquisitions to increase its customer offering, and to fund international expansion. BGF took a minority stake and BGF investment director Mike Sibson was appointed to the board. Long-time adviser to the company, Bobby Anderson joined the board at completion, and BGF will also be working with the company to appoint a chairman with industry and entrepreneurial experience to support Inoapps CEO Andy Bird in the next stage of the company’s development.
Inoapps is based in Aberdeen with offices in Edinburgh, Derby and Kuala Lumpur, and a team of around 200 employees and associates. It was founded by Andy Bird in 2006 and is the leading Oracle Reseller and Platinum Partner in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The business specialises in providing consulting, implementation and hosting and managed services for Oracle applications, technology and hardware. Inoapps is on a high growth trajectory, and has doubled turnover in each of the last two years and turned over around £20m to year-end July 2013.
Inoapps initially focussed on implementing Oracle applications and technology solutions into the oil and gas industry but has since diversified into other sectors including construction, defence, and the public sector. It delivers robust, resilient and powerful Oracle solutions that support and transform businesses, bringing rapid return on investment. It has recently completed several multi-million pound projects, and now supports major international blue chip clients across the full range of Oracle products. Inoapps’ “50 in 15” strategy lays out a plan to continue to grow to £50m revenue in 2015, through organic growth and acquisition.
BGF investment director Mike Sibson who will be joining Inoapps board, said:
“Andy Bird is a driven entrepreneur who has built Inoapps into a successful business over the last six years. It is on a highly impressive growth trajectory, driven by consistent high quality project delivery, Andy’s strong leadership and the experienced management team.
“The team has demonstrated its ability to lead the delivery of larger projects to blue chip clients, with outstanding results. Andy has a vision for how Inoapps will build on this platform both in the UK and overseas. BGF was established to provide long term capital to ambitious UK companies and we are very excited to become part of that vision.”
Andy Bird, founder and CEO of Inoapps, commented:
“We are very pleased to have BGF’s support during a pivotal period of growth. We had several recommendations of BGF from trusted advisers and we have been pleased with the efficient investment process.
“We have an aggressive growth plan, and having made two acquisitions in recent years, we know that BGF’s investment will give us the platform to increase our capabilities and our resources for international delivery. This will further strengthen our position as a market leader.”
Leading online service developer set for growth with investment from BGF
BGF has invested £2.25m of growth capital in Abacus e-Media, one of the UK’s leading providers of content management systems and audience development platforms for the media, publishing and public sectors.
BGF’s investment will enable the business to increase its sales and marketing activity, accelerate the development of its software platforms, and expand its offering into adjacent markets including B2C publishing, professional institutions and events.
Abacus’ customers include some of the most influential companies in the media sector with key clients including Centaur Media, Thomson Reuters, UBM, EMAP, Christie’s, Condé Nast and The Law Society. The business offers content management solutions, web design and build through Webvision, and audience development and fulfillment services through ADvance.
Abacus was founded in 1997, and employs 70 people across offices in London and Portsmouth and in 2012 generated revenues of £4.5m. E Consultancy / New Media Age has included Abacus in its chart of Top 100 Digital Agencies for nine consecutive years.
Abacus sells a modular content management system called Webvision that is designed for editors and journalists to manage workflows and publish content intuitively, and without the cost and complexity of bespoke technical development. The software manages multi-channel content delivery over the web, mobile devices, tablets, apps and print.
More recently, Abacus has established an innovative audience development platform called ADvance. ADvance enables publishers and other registration and subscription-based institutions to market, package and fulfill both online and print products quickly and in a coordinated fashion.
This is increasingly important for publishers in a marketplace where the ability to change and monetize online content underpins key elements of their competitive advantage.
In addition to funding, BGF has contributed additional support to the company through the introduction of Nick Caplan as a Non-Executive Director. Nick is the former Chief Marketing Officer of Logica plc, a position he held from 2003 to 2008. Nick is also Chairman of Managed Networks Limited, an IT services provider to the SME market.
Enterprise software for content management and user fulfillment addresses a large and growing market. The global web content management market is approximately $1bn in size and is projected to grow at c.14% from 2009 to 2014, twice as fast as the overall enterprise software market according to research specialists Gartner.
Chris Hodges, investment director at BGF, commented:
“Abacus is an exciting UK software company that has had the confidence and ambition to invest and develop its audience development platform. It has grown strongly and serves a host of impressive clients across the public, media and publishing sectors. Webvision, the company’s core CMS platform, provides a robust platform for investment and growth. I am delighted to be partnering with Steve Feigen to fulfill his ambitions for Abacus.”
Steve Feigen, CEO of Abacus, said:
“What attracted us to BGF was the long term view they take on their investments, and the strong sense that they work to support the vision of the business. Their investment will help us to drive the development of our ADvance and Webvision platforms and to extend our client base much more quickly that we could otherwise have hoped to do. It will also enable us to move more swiftly into other subscription-based markets, the recent adoption of ADvance by Christie’s having provided a clear illustration of strong demand from the wider marketplace. This investment will secure the product roadmap for ADvance while allowing us to strengthen our growing customer services and support operation.”
Milton Keynes based software business secures £2.5m from Business Growth Fund
Founded in 2004 by Andrew Anderson and Gary Grant, Celaton was created through the MBO of Redrock Technologies from Netstore plc and the subsequent acquisition of DG Tech Ltd. The Company’s inSTREAM™ software applies artificial intelligence to streamline labour intensive clerical tasks and decision making in a way that hasn’t been possible before.
Delivered as a service, inSTREAM software transforms the way that enterprises handle the unstructured content that flows in every day from customers and suppliers including correspondence, claims and complaints received by email, fax, post & paper. It enables scale and efficiencies that were previously out of reach, minimising the need for human intervention and ensuring that only accurate and relevant data enters line of business systems.
Unique to inSTREAM™ is its ability to learn through the natural consequence of processing information. inSTREAM is relied on by enterprise customers in retail travel insurance and financial service sectors including Asos, Carphone Warehouse, TalkTalk & Virgin.
In December 2012, BGF invested £2.5 million in Celaton. The growth capital from BGF is supporting the accelerated development of a sales and marketing infrastructure and enabling Celaton to drive sales into both the public and private sectors.
Tim Bittleston, Chairman, was introduced to the company through BGF’s Talent Network. Tim has considerable experience at CEO and non-executive levels at a number of IT and software businesses and has raised over £150m in venture capital for various successful enterprises over the past 12 years. Tim Whittard, Investment Director also joined the board as BGF’s representative.
Benefex appoints new Chairman
Benefex, a leading provider of online employee reward and benefit schemes, has announced the appointment of Steve Bellamy as its Chairman. Steve will replace the current Chairman Peter Waller who in turn will become Executive Director in order to continue assisting with the growth of the business and managing on-going client relationships.
Steve’s extensive experience in assisting high growth companies, predominantly in the IT sector, will help Benefex to deliver its strategic objectives as it moves to develop its service offering, build upon its impressive client base and extend its international presence.
Benefex operates in a high growth sector, enabling large organisations to tailor their rewards and benefit packages to individual employees, communicate effectively online with staff, and outsource administration and support of their schemes. As one of the largest online employee reward and benefits providers in the UK, Benefex currently provides services to over 500 clients, managing online benefits schemes for over 1 million employees in more than 40 countries. Its clients include the AA, Coca Cola, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, De Beers, E.ON, Philips, MTV and Centrica. It operates from its head office in Southampton, with a further presence in Marlow and London.
Steve has over 25 years’ experience in both managing and investing in high growth businesses. He has held a number of other Chairman, Non-executive and advisory roles, mostly in the technology industry. He is currently Chairman of Becrypt Limited, a cyber-security technology specialist, a Non-executive Director of Advanced Medical Solutions Group plc, a UK quoted global medical technology company and CEO of Accretion Capital LLP, a specialist European technology fund management business launched to capitalise on emerging technology opportunities in Europe.
Steve has also held a number of executive roles in his career, including Chief Operating Officer and Finance Director for Sherwood International plc, a UK listed global technology business focused on the Insurance industry and UK Central Government. Prior to joining Sherwood, Steve was a UK Investment Director of Brierley Investments, a global investor in undervalued quoted companies and before that worked at Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) in New Zealand and New York. He trained as a Chartered Accountant in New Zealand.
Steve was introduced to Benefex by Business Growth Fund (BGF), a company established to help Britain’s fast growing smaller and medium sized businesses by providing long-term equity investment. In October 2011, BGF marked its first deal when it invested £4.2m of growth capital in Benefex. As part of its investment offering, BGF seeks to contribute guidance and operational support to its investee companies and identified Steve as a highly regarded individual who would be a significant addition to Benefex’s Board.
Matt Waller, the CEO of Benefex commented:
“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Steve as our new Chairman. As a result of BGF’s investment and our own excellent reputation within our industry, we have secured a first rate Chairman and we look forward to making the most of Steve’s extensive experience of high growth, exciting and entrepreneurial IT companies going forward. It is exciting to have Steve on board whilst retaining Peter, who will remain actively involved in the business in sales and client management. It’s the best of both worlds!”
Steve Bellamy commented:
“Benefex is exactly the type of business that I enjoy working with and also the sort of company that will help drive the UK economy forward. It was a start-up just eight years ago and is now one of the UK’s largest online employee reward and benefits providers with an exemplary client list and range of products and services. I look forward to working with Matt Waller and the rest of the management team to maintain Benefex’s impressive growth path.”
Benefex hat-trick at 2012 Employee Benefit Awards
Benefex has won 3 accolades at the 2012 Employee Benefit Awards for their work with Kraft Foods
Benefex have won three accolades at the 2012 Employee Benefit Awards for their work with Kraft Foods. The announcement was made at a ceremony held at the Royal Artillery Gardens on the 31st May in London. Benefex, who were nominated for 4 awards at the ceremony, were named the winners in the following categories;
- Best use of a Flexible Benefits Plan
- Best Communication Strategy for an organisation with over 5,000 employees
- Benefits Team of the Year (Kraft Foods Team – entered by Benefex)
In addition, Benefex received a Highly Commended in the Best Communication Strategy category for their work with E.ON.
Matt Waller, Benefex CEO, commented:
“The team here at Benefex are absolutely thrilled to have won not one, but three awards this year. It is a pleasure to work with both Kraft Foods and E.ON and it is great to be recognised by our peers in the industry for everyone’s hard work and innovation”.
In October 2011, BGF made its first ever investment when it backed Benefex, a leading provider of flexible, online employee reward and benefit schemes. BGF initially invested £4.2m for a minority shareholding in the business.
Benefex enables large organisations to tailor their rewards and benefit packages to individual employees, communicate effectively online with staff and outsource the administration and support of their schemes.
Since BGF invested, Benefex has continued to expand, doubling turnover to £10m in 2015. The business has also trebled its headcount in the period and now employs over 160 staff across its two offices.
BGF’s investment has enabled Benefex to continue the development of innovative solutions, expand its product and service lines and invest in its new auto-enrolment tool for businesses of all sizes. In July 2012, BGF also introduced Steve Bellamy as Non-Executive Chairman to the business, bringing with him over 25 years’ experience in both managing and investing in high growth businesses.
Due to continued growth in the business, BGF committed a further £1.3m to Benefex in December 2012.
The company is led by Matt Macri-Waller, a 37-year-old entrepreneur, who started the business from his own home when he was just 25, and he has grown it to become one of largest online employee reward and benefits providers in the UK. Its clients include the Marks & Spencer, Mondelez, AA, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, De Beers, E.ON, Philips, MTV and Centrica. It operates from its head office in Southampton, with a further presence in Marlow.
The market in which Benefex operates is enjoying rapid growth. Many employers are looking at how best to attract, retain and motivate their staff and recognise the value of flexible rewards and benefits packages that can be tailored to the needs of the individual. These arrangements are often complex, particularly for large companies, which in turn is driving demand for outsourced services.
Service providers which offer technological support are outperforming the market, growing at twice the rate at some 20%. This is due to an increasing need for technological support, use of online and intranet services and imminent legislative changes.