Over the last few years Catalyst Venture Partners has helped a large number of early stage companies in the technology, healthcare, media and telecoms sectors to grow and develop, by introducing non-executive Investor Directors. These Directors provide investment, management support, industry knowledge and senior level contacts. If you want to strengthen your management team and raise finance through appointing an Investor Director, then talk to us!
1. CASE STUDY: Classwatch Story www.classwatch.co.uk
Classwatch® installs audio visual systems in classrooms and other sensitive areas of school and colleges. These systems record all events in real-time video with audio and provide interactive tools to allow staff and pupils to analyse and make use of the content. Use of the content includes: developing best practice teaching techniques; teaching supervision; and protection of students and teachers from false allegations. Classwatch had a comprehensive product development plan designed to advance its strategic and dominant position in the market. To complete the development plan and accelerate sales, Classwatch needed to raise additional capital.
Classwatch was founded by Andrew Jenkins. Andrew had grown the business to an annual turnover in excess of £1m. He recognised, however, that he did not have the management skills needed to take the business to its full potential and joined the Catalyst Fast Growth programme. As part of the process, Catalyst identified that the management team needed to be strengthened by recruiting a CEO and a Chairman.
An investor CEO and an Investor Chairman were secured and, between them, they invested over £250,000. After extensive discussions with possible institutional investors, it was decided that it was preferable not to take funding but develop a strategic partnership with an educational services company. This partnership has proved to be highly successful and Classwatch has achieved fast growth.
2. CASE STUDY: The AssayMetrics story www.assaymetrics.com/
AssayMetrics Limited is a private UK company which offers a new drug discovery and development platform. AssayMetrics technologies can be applied to biochemical testing at every stage of drug development. AssayMetrics has succeeded in getting its PURETIME ® technologies adopted by a major pharmaceutical company, which is converting all of its protease profiling assays to the new technology. Wider adoption of the technology was held back by the availability of a plate-reader instrument, one of the components of the platform. This required additional investment.
AssayMetrics was in discussion with Finance Wales about investment. However, to close the deal, the investor required the company to strengthen its management team and strategic leadership. It was agreed that the best way forward was to appoint a Chairman with the right experience and who was willing to back the project with his own money. Catalyst provided a Chairman, through its “Investor Director Programme”, who had the ideal expertise, having been a successful serial entrepreneur in the health technology sector. He was also able to make a substantial investment. As a result the deal was closed and the company is flourishing.
3. CASE STUDY: Claritum www.claritum.com
Managing Director, James Samuels founded Claritum, a provider of print management software, in Bath six years ago. Previously Samuels had marketed technology products in the UK and Europe for large blue chip companies such as Intel (Europe), Hewlett-Packard (Europe) and Siemens-Nixdorf (Europe). Since setting up the business in 1999 Samuels has successfully expanded the company to incorporate five employees, with plans to grow the management team further.
Samuels first discovered Catalyst after meeting the organisation’s founder Richard Turner, during a First Tuesday networking event. Since that time, Claritum has repeatedly drawn on the expertise of the management team at CVP through regular contact and visits to their Bath office.
Samuels says: “The team has acted as our management advisors. We are able to tap into advice as and when we need it. Their team is able to step back and provide fresh thinking using their knowledge and breadth of experience. They have helped us: revise our pricing model, create a growth strategy and business plan and develop a sales process. In addition they have helped us negotiate contracts with our largest suppliers. We are in process of recruiting a chairman and raising further growth funding.”
Claritum has swiftly become one of the leading providers of print management software in the UK. The Claritum solution enables forward thinking print buyers and sellers to increase efficiency, enhance quality, reduce wastage and improve time to market. The company now has over 850 users amongst corporate purchasing, print management companies and print groups, throughout the UK and Europe.