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

Six-figure Sum to Help Music Festival Organiser to Grow

An events company organising music festivals, private functions and other events near Bude is the latest company to be supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).

The Wyldes, which held its first festival in 2008, has successfully secured a large six figure CIOSIF loan.

The Wyldes hosts a number of music concerts at its farm-based site with its main event, the Leopallooza Festival, having grown substantially year on year with attendance and revenues doubling in the last five years. The event now attracts a line-up of top-quality music and comedy artists.

The Wyldes co-founder, Sam Dunnett, said: “Over the last decade, Leopallooza has grown from a small event for our friends and family into one of the most successful festivals in the region. Obtaining finance for growth is crucial for us to succeed and achieve our goals, but it is not easy in this unique industry. We are thrilled to have secured this CIOSIF loan, which enables us to improve the site, invest in new equipment and increase and upskill our team.”

Tim Williams, fund manager at the FSE Group, said: “It is difficult for any SME to grow without financial support and advice; CIOSIF can make a big difference in providing the funding required, which might not be readily available from traditional finance sources. The Wyldes has a strong team who have gained considerable experience in this niche sector and are ready to take the business to the next level. We are happy to be working with them through this next stage of growth.”

The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is operated by appointed fund managers FSE Group.

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, added: “The Wyldes has established itself as one of the premier events venues in Cornwall, attracting global acts and making a significant contribution to the cultural economy. Their use of local contractors means there is a direct benefit to local businesses from events and we’re pleased the fund has been able to support them.”

Lloyd Brina, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, added: “This loan is helping The Wyldes to invest in their infrastructure and their team, which will underpin future events and future growth. It’s great news for music fans in Cornwall and beyond, and will boost the visitor economy.”

CIOSIF is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Further investment has come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local LEP and HM Government.

For more information about the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund including how to apply, please visit www.ciosif.co.uk or follow the fund on Twitter at @CIOSIFBBB2

£200,000 LOAN TO HELP IT PLATFORM FOR HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY GROW

An IT company that has developed cutting edge software to revolutionise the hospitality industry by providing an innovative ordering payments and E-money banking solution is the latest company to be supported by The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator. Staines based, Cibo Pay who were established in 2015, have successfully secured a £200,000 expansion loan to help them realise their growth ambitions.

Cibo have created an integrated cloud-based food & beverage and retail venue management system, which allows venues to control everything from one platform. This includes features that allow users to manage inventory, staff rotas, purchasing requirements, marketing and a full suite of reporting tools. The company’s platform is already being used by over 100 clients with more being added on a monthly basis.

Cibo Pay’s Chief Executive Officer, Faridoon Qazi said: “Over the last few years, Cibo has grown from a small software company for a couple of clients into one of the most successful hospitality technology companies internationally. Obtaining finance for growth is crucial for us to succeed and achieve our goals in the future. The funding will allow us to expand our operations with the creation of a series of marketing and sales positions across the company, as well as enabling us to purchase new equipment to ensure that we remain as market leaders in this fast-paced sector.”

James Edwards, Senior Fund Manager at the FSE Group, said: “Cibo Pay’s team is made up of highly skilled individuals who have an abundance of experience in the hospitality and payments sector, which puts the company in a strong position to grow in the coming years. We are pleased to be working with them through this next stage of growth and wish them all the success for the future.”

Kathy Slack, CEO, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “We are delighted that our Funding Escalator finance is ensuring Cibo Pay can grow and maintain its position as a trailblazing company. Our vision to deliver prosperity with innovation involves financially supporting innovative companies, like Cibo Pay, to reach their full potential which in turn, supports our vision of establishing our region as a global, hi-tech hub.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator II is a £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which includes an expansion loan scheme, a trade finance loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact James Edwards at james.edwards@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608531.

Senior Ex Natwest Banker joins FSE Group Board of Directors

The FSE Group, the Camberley based fund manager that provides loan and equity funding for small ambitious growing businesses, is pleased to announce that Paul Marston has joined their board of directors. Paul is the former Managing Director of NatWest Bank for the South of England & Wales.  He was also previously the Managing Director at Lombard and was a Board Director at JCB Finance.  More recently, he has been involved with the setting up of two Challenger Bank business divisions.

Commenting on Paul Marston’s appointment Robert Spencer Chairman of the FSE Group said, “Paul joins at an exciting time for The FSE Group, with the recent launch of the Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF) we now have over £140million under management. Paul’s 27 years of experience in lending to small businesses as well as setting up two new banks will prove very valuable as our company continues to grow. We are delighted to welcome him to the team.”

Paul Marston said, “I am delighted to have been invited to join the Board of the FSE Group. Their role in bridging a gap in funding for small and growing businesses who may not be able to get bank finance is well known and the funding is crucial for the development of these companies. I look forward to helping the business to succeed in achieving further significant growth in the future.”

The FSE Group manages funds on behalf of public and private stakeholders, providing debt and equity finance, ranging from £25k to £2m. The FSE team focuses on business potential and works alongside entrepreneurs and SME business owners to help them achieve their growth ambitions.

For more information about The FSE Group visit: www.thefsegroup.com

£750,000 Funding Secured to Help Technology Company Grow

A Penryn-based software company has secured £250,000 investment from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), as part of a £750,000 funding package, which also includes £250k from Cass Entrepreneurship Fund and £250k from the Chelverton Investor Club, managed by Chelverton Asset Management.

FibreCRM has created a specialist cloud-based Client Relationship Management (CRM) system specifically for accountants. The CRM integrates the different technologies used by accountancy practices, allowing an easier flow of information and ultimately helping make accountants’ lives easier.

The company already has an impressive client list boasting some of the UK’s most progressive accounting firms and is experiencing growing interest in its innovative software. The solution helps firms build stronger relationships by being more productive and proactive with their marketing, business development and operations, in addition to bringing much needed visibility throughout the practice.

FibreCRM founder and CEO, Simon Leek, said: “The investment comes at a crucial time, enabling us to grow the team in Cornwall, build capacity to service increasing demand and continue to innovate. We are thrilled that our product is being so well received by the industry, as evidenced by our recent shortlisting for Accounting Excellence’s software innovation of the year award.”

Ralph Singleton, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, the appointed CIOSIF fund manager, commented: “FibreCRM have created a unique offering which the management team has further strengthened through establishing strategic partnerships with other leading suppliers in the industry. They are now well-positioned to take advantage of the significant opportunities available to them and we are pleased to be helping them achieve their goals.”

Richard Bucknell, who led the investment on behalf of Chelverton, and who will join the FibreCRM Board commented; “Simon and his team at FibreCRM are entering a really exciting period, bringing a genuinely value-adding product to a sector that is now beginning to see the benefits that an industry-specific CRM solution can deliver. We’re very much looking forward to working with Simon and our co-investors over the coming years”.

Linda Coyle, Investment Manager at the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund stated “we are impressed with the industry knowledge of the team, the level of customers and partnerships achieved to date and therefore, are delighted to support FibreCRM in their next phase of growth”.

CIOSIF is a £40m fund providing debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “FibreCRM’s software drives productivity through efficient client relationship management, freeing up accountants to concentrate on providing excellent service to their clients. It’s a great business and we wish them every success.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director at the British Business Bank, added: “This is a great example of an ambitious Cornish company taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the CIOSIF funding to grow and address new markets.  It is companies like FibreCRM that will provide the innovation and growth needed for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly economy to thrive.”

CIOSIF is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Further investment has come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP and HM Government.

For more information about the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund including how to apply, please visit www.ciosif.co.uk or follow the fund on Twitter at @CIOSIFBBB2

CAPITAL INJECTION FOR TOTAL SOLUTIONS GROUP

Welwyn Garden City-based Total Solutions Group (TSG) has secured a growth capital injection from Finance East in a deal supported by Forward Corporate Finance.

TSG was set up in 2014 by managing director Sharmin Akter and focuses on providing facilities and building services, including specialist cleaning, drainage, security and high access work.

The growth capital injection from Finance East enables TSG to invest into its IT systems and connectivity through technician PDAs, attract a new contracts manager and bid co-ordinator, launch a SOLVED365 franchise and retain Jeff Alden as an experienced non-executive director in the facilities sector.

“The growth capital provided by Finance East has enabled us to accelerate the opportunities available to us, whilst keeping the business focussed on the core service delivery to our customers,” said Akter.

Rob Dukelow-Smith led the deal for Forward and said Akter and her team had “a clear vision to provide an exceptional service to customers in areas of facilities and building maintenance that are often difficult contracts to tackle”.

“I know there are more plans in the pipeline for Sharmin and TSG and I look forward to working together with her on those strategies.”

Francis Kenealy, who led the deal for Finance East, added: “From the first moment I met Sharmin, through to completion of the deal, it has been clear to us that her tenacity and desire to grow the business matched the growth capital requirements for Finance East.

“We’re delighted to be able to assist her in the next stages of growth for her business with our capital injection.”

The company was also advised by Mark Stigwood, corporate lawyer at Attwaters Jameson Hill who provided the legal documentation with Finance East and arrangements with other finance providers to TSG.

Creative Photographic and Fine Art Print Studio Completes Funding Round

A West Sussex online platform for storing, selling and printing fine art and photography has received a £200,000 equity investment from The FSE Group as part of a £1.25m funding round. The investment will help the company increase their production facilities in the UK, Europe & The United States.

Launched in 2007 to provide high end printing services to the professional fine art community, Printspace is the leading online fine art and photographic platform in the UK. The platform has attracted over 50,000 users and had 1 million images uploaded. All printing can be ordered from the online platform with 100% colour match ability and allows users to specify the exact size, quality and paper requirements, as well as block mounts and frames, with orders then processed and despatched from their printing facility.

With the online fine art market rapidly growing Printspace developed the proprietary CreativeHub software, as Printspace CEO & Founder Stuart Waplington explains, “PrintSpace is a printing powerhouse with each item receiving a signed certificate of authority whilst CreativeHub is the inhouse software platform for artists which allows for the storing, sharing, networking and selling of artwork. CreativeHub links seamlessly with the e-commerce platform Shopify’s front end, giving artists the ability to earn additional income from their images. As well as focusing on the increase in production facilities, this investment will allow us to scale up the CreativeHub service with the introduction to mobile functionality and AI drive file organisation.”

Avent Bezuidenhoudt, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, comments: “We are delighted to be supporting Printspace as they expand into the European and North American market. When combined, these markets are 14 times larger than the UK and will be the perfect launchpad to drive the business forward. The company already has an impressive client list, including The British Journal of Photography, The Royal Photographic Society, The World Photography Organisation and The Barbican. With the expansion plans in place the company is well placed to continue their growth journey.”

The FSE Group manages funds on behalf of public and private stakeholders, providing debt and equity finance, ranging from £25k to £2m. The FSE team focuses on business potential and works alongside entrepreneurs and SME business owners to help them achieve their growth ambitions.

CIOSIF Loan to Help Ethical Homeware Designer Grow

A manufacturer and distributor of ethical and environmentally responsible homeware products is the latest business to receive funding support from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), with an £80,000 loan made up of £35,000 from CIOSIF and £45,000 from SWIG Finance.

Truro based I for Design Limited produces a range of cork products that is proving increasingly popular with retailers from across the region and beyond, with an existing client list that includes Rick Stein, The Eden Project and RSPB. The business has achieved significant growth since establishing its LIGA brand in 2017; the number of stores stocking its designs has increased from 25 just last year to over 200 currently.

David Elderkin, Director at I for Design, said, “As consumers continue to seek more sustainable, ethical products, demand grows for our designs, which are created in-house at our design studio here in Cornwall. We place a strong focus on our environmental credentials, with products made from recyclable materials wherever possible. With this funding we are able to fulfil these growing orders and take on new bespoke design contracts such as one we have recently secured with RNLI.”

The CIOSIF investment will be used to introduce a new pottery range and expand the wholesale operation across I for Design’s product offering as well as help it increase the number of stores it stocks to 300-plus in the next three years. Another of the company’s long-term goals is to increase its export activity and it is currently building this into its business plan.

The deal was led by The FSE Group, with SWIG Finance managing the process as they deliver the smaller business loans part of CIOSIF. SWIG’s Managing Director, John Peters commented: “I for Design has created a unique product range that connects with its target market, as proven by its rapidly growing client base. This is a team primed for growth and we are delighted to be working with them to help achieve their goals both now and in the future.”

John Acornley, non-executive director of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “It’s so important that entrepreneurs like David can access the finance they need to grow, and I’m delighted the fund has been able to support I for Design’s continued growth across the region.”

Grant Peggie, Director at the British Business Bank, added: “This deal is a good example of how the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund can secure additional investment to provide the level of investment a business needs to achieve its growth ambitions.”

CIOSIF is a £40m fund providing debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

CIOSIF is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Further investment has come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP and HM Government.

For more information about the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund including how to apply, please visit www.ciosif.co.uk or follow the fund on Twitter at @CIOSIFBBB2

Food Tech Platform Secures Funding for Global Expansion

A company looking to bring about a new way for cooks and diners to connect has received a £150,000 equity investment from The FSE Group as part of a £400,000 funding round. The investment will help the two-sided market place sharing economy business, WeFiFo, grow its user base and position itself as the leading platform for collaborative, community-based dining.

WeFiFo offers a platform where registered users can be both ‘hosts’, providing a dining experience in their home or a community space, and ‘guests’ who can book onto the events taking place in their local area. The company was launched in 2016 by Seni Glaister who co-founded The Book People.

Dubbed ‘Airbnb for the kitchen table’, WeFiFo uses best practice from the sharing economy but offers more than just a marketplace as it has been designed with a sophisticated infrastructure to encourage and empower talented cooks to upskill and earn an income. The platform supports home cooks, Supper Club hosts and professional chefs who don’t want the risk of a bricks-and-mortar restaurant but want to attract a new audience, work flexibly and run their own kitchen.

At its core the model is founded on a desire to help people create and find unique, community building dining experiences, as Seni explains: “research shows that consumers are increasingly looking for something authentic and relevant to them with a personalised feel. WeFiFo fills this niche perfectly; hosts can offer anything from cake and coffee in the local community hall, to a barbecue in their garden, a picnic in the park or a full dinner in their home, giving guests an individual experience that connects with the community around them.”

The funds raised in this round will be used to further develop the product and grow the team to prepare for overseas expansion.

Avent Bezuidenhoudt, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, comments: “Over the last decade the sharing economy has exploded, with some of the world’s best-known companies operating on this model. With Seni at the helm, WeFiFo has the potential to become a globally recognised platform for diners and home cooks; partnerships are already in place with a number of businesses, including Waitrose and WeightWatchers, and discussions are taking place to maximise links with further nationally and internationally recognised brands. We are really excited to be part of the WeFiFo journey and look forward to working with Seni and the team.”

The FSE Group manages funds on behalf of public and private stakeholders, providing debt and equity finance, ranging from £25k to £2m. The FSE team focuses on business potential rather than security available and works alongside entrepreneurs and SME business owners to help them achieve their growth ambitions.

Meet the team that will deliver the Greater London Investment Fund

Last month, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan launched the Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF). The FSE Group is delighted to be partnering with Funding London to deliver the £55 million debt part of the fund and is excited to introduce the fund management team. GLIF will provide debt funding between £100,000 and £1million to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to facilitate growth.

The FSE Group’s London team will be led by Kala Desai. Kala has personally structured many debt transactions for businesses operating across a spectrum of industries. Kala has over 15 years of city-based leverage finance experience working mainly on private equity transactions as a Managing Director at RBS with a particular focus on senior debt, mezzanine and cashflow lending.  In addition, Kala has worked as an active member of investment committees for debt transactions of all sizes, through consulting roles at Newable and previously at RBS. In her role at Newable, Kala advised on lending opportunities that benefitted under-served communities and economically deprived areas. Kala has a BSc Honours degree in Business Studies specialising in Finance from Cass Business School.

Jerry Donohue will be joining the team as a senior fund manager. Jerry has over 20 years’ experience in SME finance and direct lending in the London market. He has previously managed SME direct lending funds at AXA Investment Managers and Cordet Capital as well as middle-market leveraged loans at GE Capital and Deerfield Capital.  Jerry earned an MBA degree in Finance and Investments from George Washington University and a BA degree from The Catholic University of America.  He is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Paul Shadbolt will also be joining the team as a senior fund manager. Paul worked for Lloyds Bank for 37 years, the last 20 years leading teams of relationship managers to look after a portfolio of some 2000 SME clients. In Pauls final years at Lloyds he was an Area Director, SME Banking for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. He has also worked as a Senior Commercial Manager for a team in Cambridge, preceded by Pall Mall St James in London and Ilford in Redbridge. Paul is an experienced senior team leader and a wealth of lending experience to general trading SME’s.

Completing the FSE London team is David Booth. David has more than 35 years lending experience in corporate and commercial banking with major UK and European banking groups. He joined The FSE Group in June 2018 as fund manager for the Coast to Capital Expansion Loan Scheme. As part of the London team, David will focus on the London Boroughs to the South West and South East of London.

Kala Desai, Head of Funds, London at The FSE Group, said:

“GLIF is providing London businesses with a fantastic opportunity to be ambitious in their plans for growth.  With this high calibre team, we are ready to make a real difference to the SME funding landscape across London and are looking forward to completing our first deal.”

GLIF is a £100m initiative to help address the SME finance gap in Greater London, promoting economic growth through enterprise and an inclusive and sustainable economy. £55m of debt funding is available, via loans between £100,000 and £1m, to early-stage and established SMEs looking to scale-up and realise their growth ambitions. GLIF is financed through the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), London Waste & recycling Board (LWARB) and Funding London’s Legacies.

Notes:

The funding will come from a number of sources:

£35 million of European Regional Development Fund;

£50 million from the European Investment Bank;

£7 million from the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB); and

£11 million in returns from previous investments made through Funding London (on behalf of the Mayor).

The fund will be administered by fund managers MMC Ventures and The FSE Group and allocated through three sub-funds:

Venture Fund: £45 million (investment from £100,000 to £2 million) (MMC Ventures)

Small loans: £27.5 million (£100,000 to £500,000) (The FSE Group)

Large loans: £27.5 million (£500,000 to £1 million) (The FSE Group)

To apply to the fund, SMEs should contact the fund managers directly:

Venture Fund: https://www.mmcventures.com/contact/

Small Loans and Large loans: http://www.thefsegroup.com/

Funding London

Funding London was established in 2004 to provide venture capital and loans to SMEs which has previously found it difficult to secure such funding, on behalf of the Mayor. So far, the organisation has invested more than £51 million invested into 607 SMEs, secured £286 million in outside investment for small businesses, and created or safeguarded more than 4,300 jobs.

European Regional Development Fund

The GLIF will receive up to £35 million from the England European Regional Development Fund (EDRF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. In London, Greater London Authority is the Intermediate Body responsible for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regeneration.

European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the lending arm of the European Union and the world’s largest multilateral lender. The GLIF will receive £35 million from the EIB.

FrontM completes £750K VC funding to accelerate go to market

FrontM, a UK based AI software platform startup announces the completion of £750K equity funding raise led by Green Shores Capital alongside Jenson Solutions, The FSE Group and angel investors. The financing will be used to accelerate their go-to-market and to expand the teams in their London, Berkshire and Bangalore offices. This coincides with FrontM securing additional funding from Innovate UK to lead their £0.5 million research project in a consortium with Nick Lambert Associates and Inmarsat PLC. Deepak Ahuja, partner at Green Shores Capital joins the board as the investment director, alongside Kiran Venkatesh the co-founder CEO and Guillermo Acilu the co-founder CTO.

FrontM enables efficient communication, automation and customer experiences for airlines, cruises, shipping, fishing, remote enterprises and other frontier markets. While businesses around the world now thrive on Cloud-based software services, lack of continuous access to the Cloud is a significant constraint. FrontM’s patent-pending Edge Intelligence technology enables creation of business and customer applications that work offline and need 70% less satellite data when connected.

“Most people believe ubiquitous unlimited internet is a reality as we head towards 5G. But the truth is the opposite for remote spaces and the disparity in digital experiences is ever increasing. We are addressing this. From making flying un-boring, through to enabling higher crew productivity, the range of use cases our platform enables is proving to be compelling for our B2B clients. As we hit global markets, the smart money and the active participation from our investors is invaluable”, said Kiran Venkatesh who has previously helped satellite companies develop new digital products for the same markets.

FrontM offers customer branded apps or APIs to enhance existing customer channels. For 4 billion people who fly every year, the apps leap-frog from static content based inflight entertainment to continuous and personalised inflight engagement, e-commerce and content marketing. Similarly, for companies serving the 28 million cruise passengers and 15 million crew & fishermen, FrontM’s programmable SDK turbo-charges offline interactions and value exchange.

Deepak Ahuja, partner at Green Shores capital, the lead investor and now the investment director, said “Deep Tech start-ups such as FrontM embody the creativity and innovation much needed in the Legacy Industries such as Maritime and Airlines. The founders of FrontM have a visionary and long-term view that most people may not take. Green Shores are delighted to have led FrontM’s funding round with a future view of topping in the next series of fund raises and in assisting the team drive a step change in the markets”

Sarah Barber, Jenson Funding Partners CEO commented, “We are really excited to be working with Kiran and the team, this is a fantastic opportunity and we look forward to helping the business grow”.

Simon Labahn, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, who manage the Thames Valley Berkshire Growth Fund, said, “We were immediately impressed by FrontM’s current client base, the strength of their partnership with Innovate UK and the level of experience of their management team. They have created a multi-use platform that benefits some of the fastest growing sectors in the world. We look forward to working with Kiran and his team and seeing the company expand into new markets, whilst developing their suite of products.

For more information, visit www.frontm.com or email info@frontm.com