‘Uber’ of service and transport sectors planning to raise £2m
5th April 2016 - Serial entrepreneur Martin Port has launched a second round of fundraising for his Leeds-based technology business.
BigChange helps companies plan, manage, schedule and track mobile workforces and transport operations.
The tech business’ JobWatch app-based system replaces paperwork and keeps offices seamlessly in sync with staff on the road.
BigChange, which developed the technology and owns the intellectual property, achieved sales of £2m last year and is on course for £4m in 2016. It is expected to break even later this year.
Mr Port is forecasting earnings of up to £4m and turnover of £20m by 2020.
The company has built a base of more than 300 customers, including names such as HSS, Baxi Commercial, Ringway Jacobs (Transport for London), Serco, Morrison Utility Services and Elliott Hire as well as many SMEs. Subscriptions cost £49.95 a month.
Impra-Gas, the plumbing company co-owned by Lord Sugar and Joseph Valente, winner of The Apprentice 2015, signed up earlier this year.
Mr Port is planning to raise £2m via a sale of a 5% shareholding and bond issue, which are eligible under the tax-efficient Enterprise Investment Scheme. The Series A fundraising is based on a company valuation of £20m.
Mr Port said the fundraising is attracting “a great deal of interest” and the company is in talks with a number of potential investors and financial institutions.
He added: “Some people could say we are the Uber of the service and transport sectors.“
The fundraising will allow BigChange to invest its technology and increase sales and marketing.
Mr Port said the company is developing a “disruptive” new technology for the fleet insurance market to increase health and safety for drivers. He said he wants British businesses to be as well run as possible.
BigChange is also developing a new app focused on collaboration between service providers, subcontractors and their customers. The company will have direct access to a market of 300,000 businesses through the new app.
Mr Port is the founder of Masternaut in the UK and led the telematics business through a series of acquisitions. He was also named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008.
In 2011, Mr Port merged Masternaut with a rival to create a £100m European market leader in a deal backed by Francisco Partners, a US private equity firm.
Mr Port raised £1.1m in seed capital to launch BigChange in January 2014.
Backers include Mark Adlestone, chairman of high street jeweller Beaverbrooks, Frederic Dupeyron, managing director of Aeroport De Paris International, and Martin Lee, former chief financial officer of Crown Eye Glass plc.
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