13th March 2017

Three innovative North East technology companies have secured considerable investment from a regional investment fund, with the help of business advisors UNW.

Advised by UNW’s corporate finance team throughout the funding application process, ROXOA Group, Fine EquinITy Ltd and Orchidsoft Ltd have all received six-figure investments from the Finance for Business North East (FFBNE) Fund.

Also known as the JEREMIE programme, the fund was launched in 2010 to drive the growth of local companies and support the development of regional entrepreneurship.

E-commerce collective and digital marketing specialist ROXOA secured a timely funding boost from the FFBNE Growth Fund Plus that is managed by FW Capital in November 2016, paving the way for them to launch a hugely successful Black Friday marketing campaign that same month, while plans are also in place to open a further two online jewellery stores in 2017.

Meanwhile, UNW also helped Stockton-based Fine EquinITy Ltd secure a £400,000 investment from the FFBNE Growth Fund, which is administered by NEL Fund Managers, in December 2016 to support the full commercialisation and overseas expansion of its unique equine training and welfare system.

The brainchild of North East race horse owners and entrepreneurs Keith Hanson and Steve Catchpole, the EquinITy device provides highly detailed real-time statistics by integrating GPS, heart rate and stride monitoring technologies, and has been utilised by many top names in the horse racing industry.

December 2016 turned out to be a busy month for UNW, as it also helped Gateshead-based software company Orchidsoft secure a £750,000 investment from the FW Capital-managed FFBNE Growth Fund Plus to accelerate the rollout of its new cloud-based intranet service, Oak.

With new funding opportunities on the horizon in 2017, UNW Corporate Finance Partner Neville Bearpark suggests that all regional businesses, not just those within the tech and digital sectors, should take note of the key success factors that made ROXOA, Fine EquinITy and Orchidsoft so appealing to investors.

“While discussing growth plans during our initial conversations, it quickly became apparent that all three businesses had identified significant opportunities and were prepared to push boundaries and challenge established tradition to take themselves to the next level,” he says.

“In the case of Fine EquinITy, the technology used in its product is truly disruptive, and in just a short space of time has already made a big impact on the horse racing industry.

“In contrast to this, both ROXOA and Orchidsoft have been established for several years and have a proven track record of growth, with great products and services as well as impressive client bases. This, coupled with their robust plans for the future, made them hugely attractive to investors.

“Above all else, the success of the three businesses can be attributed to the credible, ambitious entrepreneurs behind them, who weren’t afraid of the potential risks they may have encountered along the way. It has been a privilege for the corporate finance team at UNW to help them realise their investment aspirations.

“As we move through 2017, the delivery of regional investment funding is changing. In the north of our region a new JEREMIE fund will be launched imminently, and for businesses based in Tees Valley, Yorkshire, the North West and Cumbria, the recently launched Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will be able to deliver both debt and equity finance. These funds will both provide the North East with a real boost to the availability of finance to SMEs.”


Photo: Keith Hanson (Fine EquinITy Ltd), Neville Bearpark (UNW), Jane Siddle (NEL) and Scrum V the horse

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