Limitless Technology raised £5 million Series A investment from Albion, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures

  • Funding round has been led by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures
  • Will allow us to continue disrupting the customer service industry by further developing our SmartCrowd™ technology and expansion across Europe, North America and Asia.
  • Currently used by global corporations including Microsoft, Unilever and Vodafone

We are delighted to announce that we have successfully raised £5million in Series A funding.

The funding is led by AlbionVC, with participation from all existing investors including Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures. It will now enable us to continue successfully disrupting the customer service industry as we further develop our SmartCrowd™ platform.

SmartCrowd™ uses AI and crowd-sourcing to help businesses transform their customer experience by turning their most loyal customers into freelance customer experts and rewards them for providing on-demand support. Since launching in 2018, it now consists of four solutions to help businesses meet their various customer experience and insight needs – CrowdService®, CrowdCoach™, CrowdAdvise™ and CrowdFeedback™.

Limitless enables any brand to connect to its SmartCrowd™ platform in four simple steps:

  1. Build a qualified crowd of powerful Customer Experts, in any language or market through a unique digital onboarding process.
  2. Connect the SmartCrowd™ platform to the brand’s existing digital channels to maintain a single customer view.
  3. Use SmartAI™ to deliver the perfect automated response or route the task to the best Expert for a fast and helpful response.
  4. Rewarding freelance Customer Experts for resolving support queries – with Experts having the flexibility to earn on their own schedule and in their local currency.

Globally, over 100 brands are already using our SmartCrowd™ technology to deliver amazing customer experiences. This includes international and multi-product support for global enterprises such as Unilever, Microsoft, Daily Mail Group, National Express, Wargaming, Northumbrian Water and Amazon.

Brands which adopt SmartCrowd™ have seen a significant reduction in costs by up to 50%. They are also seeing a dramatic increase in customer satisfaction thanks to the benefit from having an ‘always open’ 24/7 customer service operation, in any language, due to a flexible talent pool of Experts.

With the new funding, we will further develop our core SmartCrowd™ technology to help businesses access diverse, agile and flexible talent in any language across the world. The investment will also be used to enhance our machine learning technology, which sits at the heart of our SmartAI™ solution. Limitless also intends to use the capital to aggressively grow our sales and marketing efforts in the UK and US and expand our operations in India.

Robert Whitby-Smith, Partner – AlbionVC comments, “There is an opportunity for brands to transform their customer service by leveraging the power of the crowd. Creating a customer community which engages and rewards customers for helping other customers is the future – it is better, faster and cheaper. However, executing this at scale needs a rare combination of tech savvy and deep domain expertise – which Team Limitless have in spades from the previous business they built. We are proud to support Roger and Megan achieve their exciting vision.”

Stan Sthanunathan, Executive Vice President – Consumer & Market Insights at Unilever says: “Today’s consumers want more insightful and faster responses and Limitless offers us a way to provide this by leveraging the knowledge and enthusiasm of some of our biggest brand advocates.

Today, we’ve rolled out Limitless in 5 of our global markets and we’re on track to expand this freelance service model across 19 of our global markets this year.

Unilever Ventures is passionate about investing in young and promising technologies, helping support their growth by providing access to our global network and expertise. The future looks exciting for Limitless and we are thrilled to be on this journey with them.”

Roger Beadle, CEO and co-founder of Limitless says, “We are delighted to have secured this round of funding with our investors, which will help us take our promise of ‘an on-demand, flexible talent pool of Customer Experts’ to more businesses around the world.

Morgan Stanley predicts that within 10 years 50% of US workers will be freelancers. This growth is being driven by millennials who will account for more than a third of the global workforce by 2020 according to EY, and businesses need to embrace their new attitudes and approaches. Limitless is perfectly poised to help enterprises embrace this change, whilst boosting their customer service efforts. We firmly believe that crowd sourcing, together with AI, will become an integral part of an ecosystem of technologies that will fundamentally change the future of customer engagement.”

Megan Neale, COO and Co-founder concludes, “Limitless harnesses the combined power of brand lovers, marketplace technology and good gig principles to help our clients transform customer service into a truly valued customer experience. Our vision is to completely redefine a multi-billion-dollar industry by delivering exceptional experiences for everyone. We are privileged to share that vision with Albion Capital, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures and look forward to a partnership that will enable Limitless to scale globally in the next 2 years.”

Imagen secured £6.5 million Series B funding from Downing Ventures

London, January 21, 2019 – Imagen, the leading SaaS video management platform business, has secured £6.5 million in a Series B round. The company received funding from an investor pool led by Downing Ventures. The round also included capital from Guinness Asset Management Ltd and participation from existing investor, Cambridge Innovation Capital.

The investment represents a major milestone for the company, following significant growth in 2018 that saw Imagen post an 88% year on year revenue increase driven by clients including Formula One, The Premier LeagueWorld Tennis AssociationBPReutersBBC and IMG, part of Endeavor.

The investment follows a growth trajectory that has seen Imagen establish a significant foothold in the video management sector and become an essential piece of technology for sports, media and enterprise businesses looking to manage their expanding video and content libraries.

Charlie Horrell, CEO of Imagen, comments, “This funding is clear recognition of the value our partners and prospects see in the platform. We have a world class roster of clients across the sports, media and enterprise sectors and have a healthy pipeline going into 2019. We look forward to accelerating our global operations and are thrilled to be working with new investors to continue shaping the future of video management.”

Richard Lewis, Investment Director at Downing Ventures, added, “We are delighted to be backing Imagen and the exceptional management team that has developed a market leading video management platform. We are now focused on supporting Imagen’s exciting UK and international expansion plans.”
Victor Christou, CEO of Cambridge Innovation Capital, adds, “Imagen was one of the first companies into which CIC invested. It has made great progress since our initial investment, transforming itself into a globally leading SaaS video management platform with a greatly enhanced client list. We are delighted to continue to support the company as it expands from its UK base into international markets.”

Malcolm King, Fund Manager at Guinness Asset Management said, “Imagen is an acknowledged leader in video management with an enviable customer base. We are delighted to have completed our growth capital investment into the company and look forward to working with the Imagen team, CIC and Downing Ventures to help the company realise its international growth ambitions. The deal demonstrates our ongoing ability to source and deliver high quality investments for our EIS investors.”

Eddie Harding, Partner at ICON Corporate Finance who advised the company on the round, added, “I’m delighted to have helped Charlie and his team raise this funding from these three highly respected tech investors. The research shows that video continues to grow exponentially, and Imagen’s enterprise grade video management platform is ideally placed to meet the explosive demand of this sector.”

The funding will enable Imagen to expand its global operations and make significant inroads into the US and European markets. Imagen will be establishing a customer led sales and marketing presence in the US, as well as accelerating product development and the growth of its technology division.

###

About Imagen

Imagen is an intuitive video management platform that enables sports organisations, media companies and enterprise sectors to intelligently manage their video content with enhanced functionality, control, and insight. Imagen is being used by global organisations to manage and distribute their expanding video and media libraries – enabling fast, easy, secure and controlled access to content through the highly customisable platform.

Imagen’s customers include Formula One, The Premier League, World Tennis Association, BP, Reuters, BBC and IMG, part of Endeavour. The secure platform is also used by the Ministry of Defence, and preserves archive collections for Imperial War Museums, the British Library and the BFI.

For more information visit www.imagenevp.com

About Downing Ventures

Downing Ventures is a London based evergreen fund investing in seed to series A (and beyond) companies, providing entrepreneurs with a ladder of funding. The fund has backed over 60 ambitious businesses (as at January 2019) across a variety of technology sectors including online marketplaces, enterprise software, and health technology.

About Guinness Asset Management

Guinness Asset Management provides a range of long only actively managed funds to individual and institutional investors. We also offer an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS service) investing in private growth stage and AIM-listed companies. Founded in 2003, Guinness is independent and is wholly owned by its employees. We believe in in-house research, intelligent screening for prioritisation of research and well-designed investment processes. We manage concentrated, high conviction portfolios, with low turnover and no benchmark constraints. Since our establishment we have developed a variety of specialisms in global growth and dividend funds, global sector funds and Asian regional and country funds.

For enquiries regarding Guinness EIS Service contact Shane Gallwey, Tel: +44 (0)20 7222 3475, Email: eis@guinnessfunds.com

About Cambridge Innovation Capital plc

CIC combines a unique relationship with the University of Cambridge with deep financial and industry links to support rapidly growing intellectual property rich companies in the Cambridge Cluster. The company is committed to building leading businesses from brilliant technologies, with the benefit of some of the most influential figures in the sector and a patient capital structure.

For more information please visit www.cicplc.co.uk or follow us on Twitter at @CambsInnovation

About ICON Corporate Finance

ICON Corporate Finance is a boutique investment bank which acts exclusively for technology companies. Its clients are changing the world and ICON helps them secure funding to build great companies and realise maximum value when they come to sell.

Firefly school learning platform raises further £5 million from Downing Ventures

Firefly, a suite of school learning tools used in 40 countries and first developed by co-founders Simon Hay and Joe Mathewson while preparing for their GCSEs, has secured £5 million funding from Downing Ventures, alongside BGF and Beringea.

Firefly has the potential to cut school administration by 50 per cent and connect teachers, students and parents to share lesson plans and assign and review homework directly, both in and out of the classroom. In partnership with other best of breed tools, such as content providers, Firefly aims to create one, simple to manage, school ecosystem.

Today Firefly supports more than a million students, teachers and parents in 40 countries and holds a market-leading position in UK Independent senior schools, where it is used by more than 50 per cent of students. But the idea for the technology was first created by Joe and Simon back in 1999 when they themselves were still at school. The technology was quickly adopted by several schools, with Joe and Simon establishing the venture as a full-time business in 2009.

Firefly is now planning to extend its global expansion while further developing its strong presence in UK Independent and State schools. Education technology is fast-growing, so Firefly plans to invest £3m in research and development to further diversify its suite of products. This will include the launch of new tools to help teachers and leadership teams save time and improve student outcomes, such as giving teachers, management and parents a real-time view on student progress. Additionally, the business will look to strengthen its team and plans to create 20 new jobs over the next year, while also building even more partnerships and integrations with other EdTech products.

The £5 million funding round, led by Downing Ventures and supported by other established funds, is Firefly’s second successful investment round and brings the total raised for the business to almost £10 million. This latest funding marks a new milestone for the business that will support Firefly at a crucial stage of its growth and in its intention to cement its future position as a leading light in UK EdTech.

Simon Hay, Firefly Learning, commented: “At Firefly, our ambition is to supercharge the school experience, so every student can reach their potential. This investment will enable us to move more quickly towards empowering teachers, students and parents, adding to the hundreds of thousands using the tool every day.

“Downing’s experience in the EdTech sector caught our interest, as well as its work with other fast-growing companies that make a difference, and we’re looking forward to working with James and the Downing team on our own expansion plans.  BGF and Beringea have been fantastic partners over the past couple of years, and we’re delighted that they’re also doubling down to further support this next stage of growth.”

James Lewis, Investment Director at Downing Ventures also commented on Firefly’s unique position in the market: “The EdTech sector is an exciting but challenging place. On the one hand, it can be highly competitive, with the UK spending an estimated £1 billion on EdTech. However, at the same time, it’s also a very fragmented market. Firefly’s relentless focus on developing products that can make a tangible difference for teachers, students and parents has secured them a market-leading position among UK Independent schools.”

Simon Calver, Head of Venture Investments at BGF who sits on the board of Firefly, said:“Firefly has built an effective, easy-to-use tool that connects teachers, parents and students and ultimately enhances the education experience for young people. The team continues to drive growth on an international scale since BGF’s original investment and we’re looking forward to being part of this exciting next stage of their global journey.”

Stuart Veale, Managing Partner of Beringea and board member for Firefly, commented:“Firefly has demonstrated its ability to build a platform that transforms the educational experience of thousands of students around the world. Beringea has supported this latest round of funding to enable the business to build on this success and accelerate its growth as a global leader in education technology.”

ENDS

For all press enquiries, please contact:

Pamela Morris, the lang cat

0131 202 6037

07712 515 503

pamela@langcatfinancial.com

Jean Birrell, Downing LLP

07799555353

jean.birrell@downing.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

In 2016, Firefly secured the largest Series A funding for an EdTech company in the UK, from BGF and Beringea.

ABOUT DOWNING VENTURES
Downing Ventures is an evergreen fund investing in seed to Series A companies, with the possibility of follow-on investments. It invests in a variety of technology sectors including consumer internet and mobile, enterprise software, defence and security technology, financial technology and health technology. It works alongside a number of investment partners and accelerator programmes and incubators, including the London Co-Investment Fund.

Downing Ventures is a division of Downing LLP, an FCA authorised (Firm Reference No. 545025) and regulated investment manager based in London, which has over 30 years of experience and has raised funds from 35,000 investors.

ABOUT BGF

BGF was set up in 2011 and has invested more than £1.8bn in over 260 companies, making it the most active investor in the UK and globally by number of transactions. On average, BGF invested in one company per week in 2018.

BGF has £2.5bn to invest in UK SMEs and in Ireland, and an additional €250m to support Irish businesses. Earlier this year, Canada launched its equivalent – the Canadian Business Growth Fund – based on BGF’s funding model, and Australia is now actively exploring the approach as well.

BGF is a minority, non-controlling equity partner with a patient outlook on investments, based on shared long-term goals with the management teams it backs.

ABOUT BERINGEA

Beringea is a highly active growth capital investor with $715m under management and offices in the UK and US. It supports high-growth businesses with annual revenues of more than £1 million, investing between £1 million and £20 million to help companies scale. 

With a successful track-record of investments spanning 30 years, Beringea has more than 60 portfolio companies across its US and UK offices. The company has a history of strong partnerships with management teams, often reinvesting in its successful entrepreneurs.

Its core areas for investment include digital media, business software and services, and consumer industries. With an extensive range of expertise across the team, and an ability for spotting and following opportunities, Beringea’s portfolio includes companies in a range of sectors, and its team continues to be at the forefront of emerging trends.

http://www.beringea.co.uk/

Beringea Leads £6.5m Investment in Exonar Alongside Downing Ventures

January 21, 2019/in NewsPress Activity /by Dan Welberry

Sector leading data discovery and governance platform, Exonar, a vital tool for the modern data age

London, 21st January 2019: Transatlantic venture capital investor, Beringea, has announced that it has led a £6.5m investment in Exonar, a leading data discovery and management software firm. Downing Ventures, the early stage investor, has also participated in the round alongside notable existing investors, Amadeus Capital Partners and Winton Ventures.

Enterprises are facing a fundamental change in the way they process and store information. An exponential increase in data volume means organisations must find new ways to understand the risk as well as the opportunities in their data. Driven by new regulation, cyber threats and competition, organisations who use data they hold effectively will survive and thrive.

Exonar discovers an organisation’s most sensitive, valuable and personal information. By simply plugging Exonar into a network, an instant view of all structured and unstructured data is provided, enabling the creation of inventories, security of sensitive data and regulatory compliance.

Recent research by EY found the UK’s largest firms spent over $1.1bn to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) before it came into force in May 2018, while the same research found that Fortune 500 companies had spent $7.8bn.

Data discovery technology is proving vital to businesses that can easily hold petabytes of data across their entire information estate. The significant growth of data value has led to industry analysts estimating that the global data governance software market will grow 22 per cent annually over the next five years to a value of $3.5bn by 2023. Exonar is well positioned to provide the technology needed to support this extensive growth.

Exonar was founded by Adrian Barrett, a visionary with substantial experience in data, analytics, and information security who has previously worked for Cisco and Lumeta, a global network data specialist. He is supported by an experienced management team with decades of leadership experience in global cyber security and technology companies such as BT, Fujitsu, Veritas, Symantec and EMC.

Adrian Barrett, CEO and Founder, commented: “These are exciting times for Exonar. To receive significant backing from Beringea and Downing Ventures reinforces our belief that the Exonar platform has a significant role to play in enterprise-level data discovery and management. We have a clear vision for future development and the investment will enable us to further enhance our product, enabling our customers to meet current and future data demands such as GDPR and CCPA swiftly, simply and at scale.”

“Data is the backbone of modern business. And yet, it also poses an existential risk, which has traditionally required substantial resources and investment to manage. Exonar transforms this dynamic with a platform that maps and understands petabytes of information in seconds.” Stuart Veale, Managing Partner of Beringea, commented: “Beringea has backed Exonar’s leadership and pioneering technology to create a cornerstone of data governance.”

James Lewis, Investment Director at Downing Ventures, commented: “Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about the importance of accessing and making better use of data in all our businesses – Exonar is at the forefront of shaping and solving this challenge and we’re delighted to be part of the journey with Adrian and the team.”

– ENDS –

Notes to editors

Media contacts:

Henry Philipson, Head of Communications, Beringea

Email: hphilipson@beringea.co.uk

Mobile: +44 (0)7837162546

About Exonar

Exonar is a data discovery software company based in Newbury, Berkshire. Founded in 2013 by Adrian Barrett (CEO), Exonar discovers an organisation’s most sensitive, valuable and personal information, therefore providing the answer to an all-too-common statement – “I just don’t know what I’ve got”.

By simply plugging Exonar into a network, an instant view of all structured and unstructured data is provided, enabling the creation of inventories, security of sensitive data and regulatory compliance.

For more information, please contact Exonar: Tellmemore@exonar.com

About Beringea

Beringea is a highly active growth capital investor with $715m under management and offices in the UK and US. It supports high-growth businesses with annual revenues of more than £1 million, investing between £1 million and £20 million to help companies scale.

With a successful track-record of investments spanning 30 years, Beringea has more than 60 portfolio companies across its US and UK offices. The company has a history of strong partnerships with management teams, often reinvesting in its successful entrepreneurs.

Its core areas for investment include digital media, business software and services, and consumer industries. With an extensive range of expertise across the team, and an ability for spotting and following opportunities, Beringea’s portfolio includes companies in a range of sectors, and its team continues to be at the forefront of emerging trends.

http://www.beringea.co.uk/

About Downing Ventures

Downing Ventures is an evergreen fund investing in seed to Series A companies, with the possibility of follow-on investments. It invests in a variety of technology sectors including consumer internet and mobile, enterprise software, financial technology and health technology. The fund has a portfolio of around 45 companies as of October 2018. Downing Ventures work alongside a number of investment partners and accelerator programmes and incubators, including the London Co-Investment Fund.

Imagen secures £6.5m in Series B funding round from Downing Ventures

London, January 21, 2019 – Imagen, the leading SaaS video management platform business, has secured £6.5 million in a Series B round. The company received funding from an investor pool led by Downing Ventures. The round also included capital from Guinness Asset Management Ltd and participation from existing investor, Cambridge Innovation Capital.

The investment represents a major milestone for the company, following significant growth in 2018 that saw Imagen post an 88% year on year revenue increase driven by clients including Formula One, The Premier LeagueWorld Tennis AssociationBPReutersBBC and IMG, part of Endeavor.

The investment follows a growth trajectory that has seen Imagen establish a significant foothold in the video management sector and become an essential piece of technology for sports, media and enterprise businesses looking to manage their expanding video and content libraries.

Charlie Horrell, CEO of Imagen, comments, “This funding is clear recognition of the value our partners and prospects see in the platform. We have a world class roster of clients across the sports, media and enterprise sectors and have a healthy pipeline going into 2019. We look forward to accelerating our global operations and are thrilled to be working with new investors to continue shaping the future of video management.”

Richard Lewis, Investment Director at Downing Ventures, added, “We are delighted to be backing Imagen and the exceptional management team that has developed a market leading video management platform. We are now focused on supporting Imagen’s exciting UK and international expansion plans.”
Victor Christou, CEO of Cambridge Innovation Capital, adds, “Imagen was one of the first companies into which CIC invested. It has made great progress since our initial investment, transforming itself into a globally leading SaaS video management platform with a greatly enhanced client list. We are delighted to continue to support the company as it expands from its UK base into international markets.”

Malcolm King, Fund Manager at Guinness Asset Management said, “Imagen is an acknowledged leader in video management with an enviable customer base. We are delighted to have completed our growth capital investment into the company and look forward to working with the Imagen team, CIC and Downing Ventures to help the company realise its international growth ambitions. The deal demonstrates our ongoing ability to source and deliver high quality investments for our EIS investors.”

Eddie Harding, Partner at ICON Corporate Finance who advised the company on the round, added, “I’m delighted to have helped Charlie and his team raise this funding from these three highly respected tech investors. The research shows that video continues to grow exponentially, and Imagen’s enterprise grade video management platform is ideally placed to meet the explosive demand of this sector.”

The funding will enable Imagen to expand its global operations and make significant inroads into the US and European markets. Imagen will be establishing a customer led sales and marketing presence in the US, as well as accelerating product development and the growth of its technology division.

###

About Imagen

Imagen is an intuitive video management platform that enables sports organisations, media companies and enterprise sectors to intelligently manage their video content with enhanced functionality, control, and insight. Imagen is being used by global organisations to manage and distribute their expanding video and media libraries – enabling fast, easy, secure and controlled access to content through the highly customisable platform.

Imagen’s customers include Formula One, The Premier League, World Tennis Association, BP, Reuters, BBC and IMG, part of Endeavour. The secure platform is also used by the Ministry of Defence, and preserves archive collections for Imperial War Museums, the British Library and the BFI.

For more information visit www.imagenevp.com

About Downing Ventures

Downing Ventures is a London based evergreen fund investing in seed to series A (and beyond) companies, providing entrepreneurs with a ladder of funding. The fund has backed over 60 ambitious businesses (as at January 2019) across a variety of technology sectors including online marketplaces, enterprise software, and health technology.

About Guinness Asset Management

Guinness Asset Management provides a range of long only actively managed funds to individual and institutional investors. We also offer an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS service) investing in private growth stage and AIM-listed companies. Founded in 2003, Guinness is independent and is wholly owned by its employees. We believe in in-house research, intelligent screening for prioritisation of research and well-designed investment processes. We manage concentrated, high conviction portfolios, with low turnover and no benchmark constraints. Since our establishment we have developed a variety of specialisms in global growth and dividend funds, global sector funds and Asian regional and country funds.

For enquiries regarding Guinness EIS Service contact Shane Gallwey, Tel: +44 (0)20 7222 3475, Email: eis@guinnessfunds.com

About Cambridge Innovation Capital plc

CIC combines a unique relationship with the University of Cambridge with deep financial and industry links to support rapidly growing intellectual property rich companies in the Cambridge Cluster. The company is committed to building leading businesses from brilliant technologies, with the benefit of some of the most influential figures in the sector and a patient capital structure.

For more information please visit www.cicplc.co.uk or follow us on Twitter at @CambsInnovation

About ICON Corporate Finance

ICON Corporate Finance is a boutique investment bank which acts exclusively for technology companies. Its clients are changing the world and ICON helps them secure funding to build great companies and realise maximum value when they come to sell.