Bodmin based business, Caterbook, has secured £100,000 of equity investment from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), as part of a larger £200,000 funding round. The round was led by The FSE Group, the appointed fund manager for CIOSIF.
The investment will help the business expand its sales and marketing functions to accelerate growth. Over the next three years, six new jobs will be created within the company to strengthen the sales and customer support teams. The business will also seek to appoint a chief operating officer.
The business has already benefitted from a £150,000 loan made through CIOSIF, which helped it to complete the R&D stage and early roll-out of the software. This debt deal was handled by SWIG Finance who work with The FSE Group to deliver the small business loans part of CIOSIF.
Caterbook was founded in 2005 by Chris and Sally Noon, both of whom have significant experience within the hospitality industry. Having had to use multiple, often non-integrated systems within the sector, they embarked on creating a single, all-encompassing solution for hotels and other accommodation providers.
The resulting cloud-based property management service (PMS) is an innovative piece of software that is able to automate or simplify many of the repetitive tasks that hotels face daily. The system provides accurate data and statistics whilst saving time and money by reducing errors. It also links to many EPOS systems and booking platforms enabling Caterbook users to get everything they need from a single system.
Chris Noon, Founder and CEO of Caterbook, commented: “Since March last year, the UK hospitality sector has certainly been hit hard. During the pandemic, we have kept in touch with and retained our customer base and now the restrictions have started to lift, we are really looking forward to the summer season. This latest investment will enable us to strengthen our team and to grow the business further.”
With around 45,000 hotels in the UK all affected by Covid-19, many will be looking for ways to save money and maximise productivity. This provides a growth opportunity for Caterbook whilst supporting the industry in its recovery. With a growing customer base of over 100 hotel groups, the company is already helping hospitality businesses become more efficient and enhancing the user experience for its customers.
Ralph Singleton, Head of Funds at The FSE Group, said: “It is great that Sally and Chris were able to leverage the full use of the funding options available through CIOSIF. The fund exists to provide funding solutions for start-up and scale-up businesses as well as those more established companies who, for whatever reason, are unable to get the funding they need through mainstream sources.”
Mike Chapman, CIOSIF Business Manager at SWIG Finance, added: “It has been a challenging year for everyone, particularly those working in the hospitality sector. Chris and Sally have worked tirelessly to make Caterbook a success. This innovative software has the potential to save businesses time and money at a crucial point as they come out of lockdown restrictions.”
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).
Sarah Newbould, Senior Manager from the British Business Bank, said: “We’re delighted to see Caterbook progress from its initial CIOSIF loan to securing an equity investment as it scales the business nationwide. The fund was set up to help smaller businesses in the region reach their growth potential and we’d encourage other businesses to consider the finance options available through the CIOSIF.”
John Acornley, LEP non-executive director and chair of the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “Caterbook is continuing the trend of innovative Cornish tech companies harnessing the full potential of cloud-based systems to help their customers become more efficient and competitive. I’m delighted the fund is backing their further growth.”
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
Read more about Caterbook at https://www.caterbook.com/