An online platform which helps regional business owners find buyers for their companies is set to take its brand nationwide with the help of a new investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.
Founded by well-known North East corporate finance expert Barry Gill, wesellanycompany.com uses a range of social channels to quickly share the details of new businesses for sale and is aimed at the general public, rather than traditional corporate audiences.
The five-figure investment, secured through regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers, will support a redesign and relaunch of the website, along with enhanced marketing and technical resources.
Businesses of any size and in any sector can be advertised on the website, with potential buyers that are already registered with the site being matched with new opportunities as they are added.
The brand has been operating in the North East for the last two years and is now set to expand both right across the UK and also into specific vertical markets, with overseas expansion already in its long-term sights.
Barry Gill says: “While there were already similar platforms which focussed on the corporate market, there wasn’t anything that was properly accessible to the general population and I felt that was a gap in the market on which I could capitalise by taking a disruptive, individualised approach.
“We do things a bit differently when it comes to selling a business online, with each one gets its own targeted package of marketing support, so that we are actively promoting it to people we know might be interested, rather than sitting back and just waiting for buyers to contact us.
“The brand makes it very clear what we’re about and using a range of channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to share what’s on offer enables us to reach an audience that we know is actively interested in buying a new business.
“We’ve proven that the concept works over the last couple of years, and we’re now aiming to take it nationwide, as well as to sharpen the focus on particular markets where we feel the type of business is especially suitable for this sort of approach.
“There’s also no reason why the concept won’t eventually translate into overseas markets and we’re already laying the foundations for working outside the UK.
“I’ve worked with the NEL team many times over the years, so understand how they’re able to support growing firms’ expansion plans and the process for bringing in the investment was flexible and straightforward.”
Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.
It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Barry has established a solid brand presence in a lucrative niche market and his proven business model has every opportunity to work successfully on a larger scale.”
The overarching North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.
NEL is also responsible for investing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund, which offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.
A Newcastle-based offshore engineering firm has expanded and rebranded following an impressive 12 months of growth and a management buy-out.
Fabricom Offshore Services, which has a history spanning over 30 years, was a subsidiary of French energy group Engie until it became Quanta Fabricom following its acquisition by director Nick Oates in November 2018.
Quanta Fabricom provides engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services to the oil and gas industry and employs more than 100 onshore and offshore employees. The company, which has its headquarters at Quorum Business Park – Newcastle, recently expanded its Aberdeen operations by moving into new premises in Arnhall Business Park in Westhill. It now forecasts that 30 people will be eventually working from its Scottish base.
Following the recent management buy-out, the business continues to be supported by Barclays bank, while regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers has now made a six-figure investment from the North East Growth Capital Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, in Quanta Fabricom to ensure it has the working capital required to drive its future growth.
The company has been advised on the deal by Muckle LLP, the North East leading independent law firm for business, along with chartered accountants and business advisors Tait Walker.
Quanta Fabricom CEO Nick Oates said: “The management buy-out, the change in name and identity and the opening of our Aberdeen office marks a defining moment for Quanta Fabricom and will help us to improve our operations following a strong year of growth.
“We have built a strong reputation within the oil and gas industry as a leading EPC provider to operators within Europe, and as the business has grown, so too has our service offering. The evolution of our brand and company values have been developed to ensure we can continue to deliver an agile and proactive service within the oil and gas industry.
“We pride ourselves on developing strong relationships with our partners and, together with the opening of our new Aberdeen office and the launch of our new brand, we are looking to the future with ambition and high expectations.
“We engaged Muckle LLP and Tait Walker to help with the management buy-out because of their impressive track record in corporate deal making and experience in the energy sector, and we were delighted with the invaluable advice we received throughout the whole process from all our advisers.”
Corporate lawyers Stuart Grieve, Andrew Davison and Anthony Evans, from Muckle LLP, advised Mr Oates, alongside Michael Smith and Graham Dotchin from Tait Walker.
Stuart Grieve, Muckle LLP solicitor, said: “It was great to work with Nick and his team on this buyout, which is a fantastic development for both the North East of England and the Aberdeen oil and gas industry.
“Quanta Fabricom has been a dedicated specialist in its field for 30 years and I know this deal has already created great growth opportunities within the business. I’m looking forward to seeing them realise that potential and I’m sure it will be an exciting journey for everyone connected with the company.”
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, said: “Quanta Fabricom is a very highly regarded business with a strong market position and our investment will help provide the resources it needs to make even more progress.”
Michael Smith, Partner at Tait Walker, said: “We were delighted to have acted for Quanta Fabricom as part of this important deal. We would like to wish Nick and the team all the best for the future as they move forward from this defining milestone in the company’s history and look forward to advising them in the future.”
The North East Growth Capital Fund has been designed to create around 790 jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the programme and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.
The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.
Software firm Kykloud clinched a contract to work on the largest surveying project in Europe after securing a double round of investment from the Finance for Business North East programme.
The North Shields-based business started life in 2010 when Ed Bartlett, a former project cost director at Balfour Beatty, grew frustrated at the lack of affordable in-field survey software that could provide an intelligent picture of the life cost of infrastructure projects.
He joined forces with tech guru Nick Graham to develop enterprise software that allowed managers of large-scale planning projects to work out the construction costs of a building, the long-term maintenance costs and the environmental impact of the designs.
The idea took off and Kykloud was born. After securing an initial £150,000 from the Proof of Concept Fund to refine and develop the software, they received a further £250,000 from the Accelerator Fund to fast-track growth. Both funds were managed by Northstar Ventures.
Since then Kykloud has gone from strength to strength, winning new business and expanding into a diverse range of sectors including education, hotels and leisure, housing and retail.
Last year the company was chosen to deliver the IT solution for the most comprehensive condition data collection exercise ever undertaken by the Education Funding Agency. The largest and most innovative survey project in Europe, it will see 22,000 schools use Kykloud’s system to view data on the condition of schools across England.
Photo caption: Ed Bartlett (second left) and Nick Graham (second right) with Northstar Investment managers Michelle Cooper and Stephen Price