E-commerce platform targets global growth with £500k investment
A fast-growing e-commerce platform has set its sights on the US market after securing a £500,000 investment.
Shopblocks has raised funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s GM Investment Fund, its existing investor Dow Schofield Watts Angels (DSW Angels), and members of the management team to support its expansion in the UK and overseas.
The Stockport-based business, which currently employs 20 people, aims to achieve a fourfold increase in monthly revenues in the year ahead in line with its growth in the previous 12 months, and is planning to create an additional 37 jobs for developers, sales and support staff.
Having already established dedicated sites for the New Zealand and Australian markets, Shopblocks is also seeking to expand across the Atlantic with the launch of a US office.
Shopblocks’ platform allows businesses to create their own website, from a simple homepage to a complete online store. Its unique technology – which took five years to develop – offers much greater flexibility than template-based platforms but is simple enough for any online business to manage their own site. The company also offers an optional onboarding service to manage the entire set-up on customers’ behalf.
Customers range from start-ups to major online retailers. Shopblocks also attracts many existing e-commerce businesses which have outgrown other platforms.
Shopblocks was founded in 2015 by its CEO Kevin Jones who previously ran a digital agency. The company received an initial £350,000 investment by DSW Angels in October 2018.
Kevin Jones said: “Shopblocks offers much greater flexibility than other platforms which rely on standard templates. Our technology allows users to achieve a ‘custom-built’ look at a fraction of the cost. As more people discover the benefits, we are continuing to win customers from the bigger platforms. This latest funding round will support us in our mission to become the leading website platform in the UK and build our presence worldwide.”
David Smith, who heads DSW Angels, says: “Shopblocks’ success lies in its unique technology. We recognised its potential with our initial investment last year, and the company has since made rapid progress and started to make a real impact in the market. We are delighted to welcome GMIF in this latest funding round, which will help propel its further growth.”
Cllr David Molyneux, GMCA Lead on Resources, said: “We’re delighted to support Shopblocks in its continued growth and expansion in our city-region. Theirs is a unique product built right here in Greater Manchester, and this investment will in turn allow Shopblocks to continue investing in digital and creative jobs and skills in our area.
“This investment aligns closely with our Local Industrial Strategy for good jobs and sustainable growth, and helps deliver on our plans to become a 21st century global pioneer in the digital and creative sectors, as well as other key industries.”
About DSW Angels LLP
DSW Angels invests in early-stage scale-up businesses requiring venture funding of more than £250,000, primarily under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) rules. It is funded by a growing network of high-net-worth angel investors.
As the first partner in the UK’s £100m Regional Angels Programme, DSW Angels has secured a £10m commitment from British Business Investments, a commercial subsidiary of the British Business Bank. The funding is being co-invested into early stage businesses alongside investment from our network members.
DSW Angels is part of Dow Schofield Watts group, a leading independent advisory and investment business headquartered in Warrington, Cheshire.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority has invested more than £600m since the funds were launched in 2013, and has supported the creation of thousands of local jobs, quality homes, and the best commercial spaces. This includes £150m invested into more than 220 regional businesses, creating and safeguarding more than 8,000 jobs.
Funding from the GM Investment Fund is designed to sit alongside private finance, with GMCA involvement enabling projects for businesses within Greater Manchester which otherwise might not be supported by the private sector. Sectors supported include Digital & Creative, Life Sciences, Advanced Manufacturing and Low Carbon.