News

Media Enquiries Please contact Tom Clarke
Tel: 01276 608513
Email: tom.clarke@thefsegroup.com

The FSE Group – Welcomes New CEO

The FSE Group, the Camberley based fund management company, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dean Mayer as their new Chief Executive. Commenting on his appointment Dean said:

“I am very excited to be joining the FSE Group which I see as a unique organisation providing innovative financing packages for ambitious growth orientated SME’s. I look forward to guiding the company into its next chapter – where we will continue to offer our support and knowledge to the start-up and SME community.”

Dean began his career in the Banking & Capital Markets Group at KPMG in London and is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Corporate Treasurer and holds the Diploma in Corporate Finance and Certificate in Investment Management from the Securities Institute. He has also previously held various senior investment roles at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC Private Equity.

Prior to joining the FSE Group, Dean co-founded Fidelitas Capital and has advised various listed and unlisted SMEs on raising debt facilities for companies such as Good Energy plc, Mr & Mrs Smith and Ecotricity.

Robert Spencer, Chairman of the FSE Group, said:

“Dean’s proven track record in financing SME’s for over 20 years, will help strengthen our position as a highly reputable alternative finance provider to the SME and Social Enterprise sectors. The board are looking forward to working with Dean, at what is an exciting time for the FSE Group’s development.”

About The FSE Group:

For 15 years the FSE Group has provided tailored funding solutions and support for ambitious and innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to help them achieve their maximum potential. The FSE Group also provide a wide variety of fund management services, the management of business angel networks, mentoring and training for high growth SMEs. Most recently this has seen FSE provide funding and support to businesses and organisations in the social enterprise sector. For further information about the range of products and services offered by FSE, visit www.thefsegroup.com

Press Contact:

Tom Clarke – tom.clarke@thefsegroup.com

Pincodes Powered by Quikkly

Coast to Capital Growth Equity Fund portfolio client Quikkly have partnered with visual discovery, collection, and storage tool Pinterest to launch Pincodes.

With Quikkly technology embedded in Pinterest, users can scan Pincodes with the camera in the Pinterest app to link directly to a Board or user profile. Brands can generate Pincodes for use anywhere–in stores, on packaging, in magazines, ads, flyers and more.

Since The FSE Group’s initial investment, in 2016, Quikkly have further developed their scannable code solutions, which will now allow their technology to reach 210 million Pinterest users.

Read more here: Pincodes Powered by Quikkly

The Coast to Capital Growth Equity Fund is part of the Coast to Capital Funding Escalator, a £5million initiative funded by Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which also includes an expansion loan scheme, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £500,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Coast to Capital Growth Equity Fund please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/coast-capital-funding-escalator or contact Avent Bezuidenhoudt at avent.bezuidenhoudt@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608526.

Paper Projects Secures £100,000 Growth Loan

The Hertfordshire based designer and supplier of character stickers and accessories has successfully secured further funding from the East of England Regional Growth Loan Scheme.

Paper Projects is the UK’s leading supplier of sticker packs depicting many of the best loved children’s characters, covering the UK’s most popular brands including characters from the latest films, book titles and TV. The Company holds the licences for a multitude of children’s personalities including Peppa Pig, Mr Men & Little Miss, Shopkins and Despicable Me.

The company’s products are sold across a broad range of retailers. These include the country’s largest supermarket chains, a plethora of high street retailers and online only companies, Amazon and Ocado. The UK’s 3-12 year olds can easily spend their pocket money on stickers of the latest popular characters at independent retailers across the country too.

The funding will allow Paper Projects to continue their product development and complete the purchase of licensing for a series of new product ranges. The company will also be focusing on their marketing activity for 2018, aiming to increase visibility and rolling out their newly designed display stands to extend their offering to retailer customers.

Linda Dixon, Managing Director at Paper Projects comments, “Securing this funding will allow us to expand our operations and provide even more children’s character stickers and accessories to retailers across the country. We are incredibly grateful to Stuart and Finance East for their help and guidance. We look forward to implementing our designs on the latest popular characters and revamp some of our classics too.”

Stuart Ager, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, “We are delighted to continue to provide support to Paper Projects. The company first came to us for funding back in 2010 and since then have grown significantly to become one of the market leaders in their sector. This is a great achievement and testament to all of the hard work of Linda and her team, especially as the retail sector is notoriously hard to crack for SMEs. We wish them all the best for the future and look forward to seeing their new designs hit the shelves.”

The RGLS is managed by Finance East, part of The FSE Group, on behalf of Local Enterprise Partnerships in the East of England and British Business Bank. The RGLS is available to established, incorporated businesses based within the East of England that have a minimum annual turnover of £100k, show strong growth potential and have a medium to long-term funding requirement to deliver that growth.

For more information about the Regional Growth Loan Scheme contact Stuart Ager on 07825 699407 or email stuart.ager@thefsegroup.com.

For more information about Paper Projects please visit: www.paperprojects.co.uk

£300,000 Investment for Specialist IT Security Business

A Farnborough based business operating in the security market is the latest to gain funding from the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund. The £150,000 investment has been privately matched to complete the £300,000 funding round.

TriCIS deals with secure IT equipment, TriCIS specialises in the assembly of TEMPEST equipment, which involves adapting standard communications and IT products to remove electromagnetic emissions, making them suitable for both military and other governmental use. The company also specialises in adapting equipment for extreme or ‘rugged’ environments e.g. military field operations.

Having spent a number of years working for big multinationals operating in the sector, TriCIS’ founders, Antony Summerfield, Rob Cook and Tim Luxford, spotted an opportunity to launch their own business earlier this year. Capitalising on their extensive contacts and highly specialised skill set, the trio has already succeeded in winning a number of significant government contracts, which has been helped by a timely change to government commissioning processes.

CEO, Antony Summerfield, explains: “the TEMPEST market is dominated by large corporates with overseas headquarters but recent changes to UK government procurement has led to an increase in the use of SME suppliers. Coupled with a move by the Ministry of Defence towards working with SME British businesses, this presented us with an opportunity to quickly establish ourselves as a preferred supplier in this niche market. As not only do we have one of the country’s few qualified TEMPEST engineers as a co-founder, but we are also the only wholly British company operating in the sector.”

The £300,000 investment will be used to employ additional engineers to service the considerable contracts already secured and to facilitate further growth.

Dr Mike Short, CBE, Chairman of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “Communication security is vital to the business environment we have today. So the need for start-ups like TriCIS, cannot be over-emphasised. The company has grown rapidly since it was established and we are pleased to offer support to drive their ambitious goals, generate employment and further economic growth in our LEP area.”

Ralph Singleton, Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund on behalf of the LEP, adds: “it’s unusual for a new company to achieve this level of traction so quickly but such know-how in the field along with a proactive approach has prompted fantastic results in just a few months. The TriCIS team is looking to expand its TEMPEST and rugged offering into the secure server market as well as exploit further opportunities by offering its professional services for training and consultancy. The company is well positioned to take advantage of the prospects available and we look forward to working with the team to help them reach their goals.”

The Enterprise M3 Growth Fund is part of the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, a £5.5million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which also includes an expansion loan scheme, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £200,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/fund/enterprise-m3-growth-fund/ or contact Ralph Singleton at ralph.singleton@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607307.

Notes to Editor:

“Local Growth Fund”

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

Analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.

Further information:

If you would like some further facts about the Fund, or the wider regeneration work going on across the country, please contact DCLG press office by emailing NewsDesk@communities.gsi.gov.uk in the first instance to request any additional information you might need.

Some additional key facts:

  • There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England
  • The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic growth.
  • LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects informed by detailed analysis of the most pressing economic needs in each of their areas, including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences.

 

Alton Business Secures £200,000 to Fund Further Growth

The FSE Group, which manages a series of funds to support businesses during different stages of their growth, is now supporting Plantwork Systems with a £100,000 Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan, together with a further £100,000 South East Sustainability Loan (SESLF).

The SESLF provides funding to businesses operating in new and emerging ecologically driven market sectors or those contributing to a reduction in the region’s ecological footprint, either by delivering products or technologies that can help achieve this, or by delivering innovation in other business sectors that result in more resource efficient business practices.

Trading since 2010, Plantwork Systems based in Alton, Hampshire has a current portfolio of five products that are able to work in synergy to cater for the various stages of wastewater treatment. With the constant regulatory demands for increased water quality, the Company has invested heavily in R&D which has enabled the Company to offer innovative and propriety solutions. Each of their products offers numerous advantages, whether that is a smaller footprint, ease of use, being more environmentally sustainable or cost efficient. There are over 5,000 sewage treatment works serving populations of less than 200 in the UK and the majority of these are old and in need of replacement. The solutions offered by Plantwork Systems are an ideal fit for these locations.

John de Moraes, Executive Chairman at Plantwork Systems comments, “Our technology combines new wastewater treatment design with existing processes, to offer the industry an innovative solution to all wastewater treatment needs. The funding we have received from the FSE Group will have a two-fold impact on the company. It will allow us to research and develop new products and also significantly increase our employee numbers in order to meet demand.”

Derek Ellis, Fund Manager at the FSE Group which manages the Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), “John and the team at Plantwork Systems have an enormous amount of experience and are well positioned for significant growth. We are excited to be supporting them on this stage of their journey and look forward to seeing them build upon the foundations that have already been put in place.”

Dr Mike Short, CBE Chairman of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “It is interesting to see innovative technology being applied to a vital sector such as waste water treatment to help reduce environmental footprint and optimise cost. Plantwork Systems demonstrates that there is really no limit to how, or where innovation can apply and we are delighted that they have received the funding they need to break new grounds in scientific research and contribute to the economic growth of our LEP area.”

The Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme is part of the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, a £5.5million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which also includes an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £200,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact Derek Ellis at derek.ellis@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607302.

For more information about Plantwork Systems please visit: www.plantworksystems.com

 

Export Growth Beckons with 3rd Regional Growth Loan

As a respected brand with many years of producing award winning stereo equipment, Cyrus Audio has been at the forefront of British manufacturing in the advanced hi-fi sector for over 30 years. Having first sought a Regional Growth Loan (RGL) from Finance East back in 2013, the company has continually looked to innovate, furthering its range of accessible, high quality products, whilst pursuing an ambitious growth strategy.

With two previous Regional Growth Loans being used primarily for product development, Cyrus will use this current £125,000 loan to focus its efforts on the export market. Until now, only 30% of business has come from overseas compared to around 80% as a sector average. Strategic changes have been essential in order to position the business for this expansion, as MD Simon Freethy explains:

“We are extremely proud of our British design and manufacture but in order to meet the capacity demands of an international customer base, we had to accept that changes would be necessary. First, we took the decision to appoint a number of Far East component suppliers. We have put a lot of effort into securing suppliers that can produce parts to our exact specifications, which will then be used in the UK, where product design, assembly and testing will remain for the majority of Cyrus products. Second, we have granted a licensing deal to a Chinese manufacturer for a sub $500 dollar product. Again, this will be made to the high Cyrus spec that our customers have come to expect but will be made, and distributed in China and the USA, by our new license partner.”

In addition the Cyrus team has also appointed a Chinese distributor for its plus $500 range, resulting in a significant increase in 2017 export sales, which are above expectations. The Regional Growth Loan will be used to create new roles to support the Europe and North America distributor channels as well as product development and sales support in China.

Stuart Ager, Senior Fund Manager at Finance East, says: “Cyrus boasts a history of product innovation supported by extensive technical expertise. Following an assessment of the global market opportunity, the management team has adapted its sales and distribution model accordingly and is now able to capitalise on the strong sales pipeline it has developed, placing the business on the road to significant growth and profitability.”

The Regional Growth Loan Scheme (RGLS) is managed by Finance East, part of The FSE Group, on behalf of Local Enterprise Partnerships in the East of England and British Business Bank. The RGLS is available to established, incorporated businesses based within the East of England that have a minimum annual turnover of £100k, show strong growth potential and have a medium to long-term funding requirement to deliver that growth.

For more information about the Regional Growth Loan Scheme contact Stuart Ager on 07825 699407 or email stuart.ager@thefsegroup.com.

Technology Solutions Provider for the Shipping Industry Secures Expansion Loan

Farnborough based shipping technology company, Locus Software Limited, are the latest company to be supported through the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator. The company have successfully secured a £150,000 Expansion Loan to help increase their resources to facilitate the next stage of their growth.

Established 10 years ago Locus Software offers an Enterprise system that acts as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for ocean shipping companies. This pioneering approach to container tracking, operations management and document handling brings the somewhat outdated back-office processes of the shipping industry up to speed and onto the cloud. Locus’s Odyssey platform is already proven to the market, becoming popular thanks to its powerful integration with ecommerce capabilities and collaboration tools. Existing customers and strategic partners alike reap the benefits of working with a company where the management team have in-depth industry knowledge and proven technology business experience. Partnerships with influential members of the shipping sector, WNS and INTTRA, only strengthen Locus’s growing reputation, ensuring that Odyssey is the obvious software solution for the liner shipping industry.

In order to keep up with growing demand Locus Software will be using the funding to expand the development team and enhance their working facilities. Thus allowing them to quickly and efficiently implement the system for new customers.

John Squire, Founder & CEO at Locus Software comments, “Our Odyssey Platform is currently the only cloud based solution available in the ocean shipping sector. So many other sectors have made the transition to cloud based databases and management systems and now the shipping industry is ready to embrace this upgrade too. Odyssey can deliver fantastic features in a much more cost effective and speedy process than traditional software with the added bonus of not needing to maintain multiple versions and the disruption of major upgrades.”

Derek Ellis, Fund Manager at the FSE Group, “The Odyssey platform is a complete game-changer in the shipping industry. It already has users in more than 40 countries across the world and the potential is there for rapid growth. These are really exciting times for the company and we wish John and his team all the success for the future.”

Dr Mike Short, CBE Chairman of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “This is a great timing for Locus Software and a testament to the recently released Science and Innovation Audit for the South of England, which demonstrates our regional economy’s strength in applying innovative technology to the Marine & Maritime sector. We are excited that the company has secured the loan they need to expand, drive efficiencies in the maritime sector and create more jobs for our LEP area.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator is a £5.5m initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. It includes a growth equity fund and provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding of £50,000 to £200,000 for activities delivering high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-funding-escalator or contact Derek Ellis at derek.ellis@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607302.

For more information about Locus Software visit: www.locussoftware.com

Growth Funding for Customer Service Platform Helping Companies Manage Social Media Enquiries

A business specialising in software for customer contact centres is the latest company to receive investment from the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund. The Farnborough based venture has secured the funding as part of a £900,000 round which includes £195,000 angel monies facilitated by The FSE Investor Network, alongside institutional investors.

Sentiment’s offering focuses on providing large businesses with an effective platform to deal with the increasing amount of customer contact that is made via social networks and messaging apps. Within the next few years it is anticipated that social media and messaging apps will overtake phone and email as the primary method for customer service interactions. However, the majority of contact centres do not believe their technology is fit for purpose and are looking for better ways to manage these exchanges.

Leon Chaddock, Sentiment Founder, CEO and CTO, explains: “our software allows large enterprises to manage enquiries and complaints on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, from within their contact centres – currently this is mostly done separately as it requires different skills and technology. By bringing these functions together, our clients benefit from significantly reduced spend in this area along with a facility to integrate their contact with other areas of the business and improve their customer relationships – a large retail clients has, with our software, become one of the fastest social media responders in the UK.”

With a platform offering a solution unmatched by its competitors, Sentiment has a strong and growing pipeline adding to its list of existing clients, which currently includes several top 20 retailers, a global online marketplace and a parcel delivery company.

The funds raised will be used to scale up sales and marketing both within the UK and overseas, particularly the US where it is already growing traction.

Ralph Singleton, Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund, adds: “this is a sector experiencing huge growth that is set to continue; spending on social monitoring and management tools is expected to grow nearly tenfold in the 5 years between 2014 and 2019, which will see global spend reach around £18 billion in that time. With its superior product offering, growing blue chip client base and first mover advantage, Sentiment is well-positioned to take advantage of this upsurge and we are delighted to be supporting them on their journey.”

Dr Mike Short, CBE Chairman of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “We are excited that the growth ambitions of Sentiment can be supported by the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund. Our LEP area is a powerhouse for digital enabling technologies and we are always keen to support businesses like Sentiment that demonstrate strength in this important sector.”

The Enterprise M3 Growth Fund is part of the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, a £5.5million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which also includes an expansion loan scheme, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £200,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/fund/enterprise-m3-growth-fund/ or contact Ralph Singleton at ralph.singleton@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607307.

2nd Regional Growth Loan for Innovative Veterinary Information Service

Since its first Regional Growth Loan from Finance East in 2014, Cambridgeshire based Vetstream has continued to provide detailed online clinical information services to the veterinary sector, worldwide. In that time the company has extended both its product range and geographical reach and is now ready to invest in significant growth. A second Regional Growth Loan of £150,000 has been secured to aid this expansion.

Its core ‘Vetlexicon’ offering contains a range of species based modules providing vets across the globe with peer reviewed material, which is updated on a weekly basis. The information, which is available on a subscription basis, contains thousands of articles, images, videos etc. in numerous categories, to support vets in their clinical practice. Since 2014 the Vetlexicon suite has expanded from its original four modules – Canis (dog), Felis (cat), Equis (horse) and Lapis (rabbit) – to now include Exotis (covering a range of species from Guinea Pigs to “exotics”) and soon Bovis (cattle) will also be added.

Vetstream Managing Director, Dr Mark Johnston, says: “As well as developing new modules, we have concentrated heavily on increasing our traction in new markets. We have established a relationship with the World Small Veterinary Association (WSAVA) which has resulted in Vetlexicon now being available in all of their 82 country members, with licences currently secured in 21 countries. We have made good progress since our first loan from Finance East – there have been some challenges to overcome but we have learnt from them and are in a stronger position to step up our expansion and really take advantage of the global opportunities now open to us.”

The funds will be used to support the overall growth strategy. In terms of product this will initially focus on launching the Bovis module and extending the Exotis module then, over the next four years, see the development of Suis (pig), Ovis & Capris (sheep and goat) and Piscis (fish). This will be accompanied by an investment in marketing and the creation of new roles including an advertising sales manager and a business development manager.

In addition to the core Vetlexicon product suite, further opportunities are being exploited in the provision of Vetacademy, an online CPD management system, and Practis, an online support tool for practice managers as well capitalising on advertising revenue potential.

Stuart Ager, Senior Fund Manager at Finance East, adds: “The Vetstream team has developed a clear product development and enhancement strategy, supported by new personnel and marketing investment, designed to achieve considerable growth across the business. The global animal health market is on the increase, having gone from $13billion to $15billion since our last loan. Vetstream has established itself as a leading provider of quality information and, with no obvious competition in the sector, is well-positioned to build on its early success.”

The Regional Growth Loan Scheme (RGLS) is managed by Finance East, part of The FSE Group, on behalf of Local Enterprise Partnerships in the East of England and British Business Bank. The RGLS is available to established, incorporated businesses based within the East of England that have a minimum annual turnover of £100k, show strong growth potential and have a medium to long-term funding requirement to deliver that growth.

For more information about the Regional Growth Loan Scheme contact Stuart Ager on 07825 699407 or email stuart.ager@thefsegroup.com.

ATP Projects Receives EM3 Expansion Loan

A Hampshire company is set for growth with the help from a £90,000 loan from the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme. Based in Bentley, near Alton, ATP Projects provides bespoke manufacturing, branding, laser marking and technical support services, helping companies across the country to stand-out from the crowd.

The company was founded in 2013 by Managing Director Andrew Pennington, who has extensive experience in the engineering and audio-visual sectors. As well as providing customised services the company also offers a wide range of standard manufactured products geared towards the theatre and entertainment sector.

Andrew Pennington commented, “We are a small but growing firm focused at giving a personal service to our customers. Everything we produce is carried out in-house and we pride ourselves on the quality of our work. This funding will allow us to expand our team with the recruitment of a new manufacturing technician and also help us with the development and roll-out of our new eCommerce platform. The platform will include a custom panel builder, allowing clients to design their own panel work on-line, which will enable us to reach businesses of all sizes.”

James Edwards, Senior Fund Manager at the FSE Group, “Andrew has a great deal of experience in the engineering sector and in a short space of time has developed an impressive list of clients across the entertainment and sporting industries. We are looking forward to working with the team at ATP Projects whilst they achieve their full potential for growth.”

Dr Mike Short, CBE Chairman of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “We are pleased to see ATP Projects benefit from our Expansion Loan Scheme. The investment will help them overcome the financial barriers to expansion, create new jobs and thrive. Small and medium scale businesses contribute significantly to our regional economy, so a key priority in our Strategic Economic Plan, is to support this important sector by delivering the infrastructure that enables businesses to innovate, improve productivity and drive sustainable economic growth in our LEP area.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator is a £5.5m initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. It includes a growth equity fund and provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding of £50,000 to £200,000 for activities delivering high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-funding-escalator or contact James Edwards at james.edwards@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608531.

For more information about ATP Projects visit: www.atpprojects.co.uk