Leanne Bonner Cooke CEO e-Bate

e-Bate secures £950k Seed Follow On Investment from Mercia

Software firm raises £950k in second funding round

A businesswoman whose software platform helps companies to manage rebate and incentive schemes has raised a further £950,000 from investors.

Leanne Bonner-Cooke MBE, who founded the e-Bate platform, secured the money from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), Mercia’s own EIS funds and the government’s Future Fund.

With the pandemic having boosted demand for the e-Bate platform, the funding will allow the Leicester-based firm to create five new jobs and further increase global sales. This latest funding round is the second investment by MEIF and brings the total raised so far by the company to over £2m.

Rebates and promotional incentives are widely used in sectors such as construction, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and automotive, where suppliers offer big incentives to buyers to encourage them to buy more of their products. The e-Bate software platform helps companies to manage and simplify these schemes which historically have been complex and calculated manually using spreadsheets.

Leanne Bonner-Cooke, who also founded Leicester’s Evolve-IT Consulting and was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her services to women in business, explains: 

“Rebates can make a big difference to the net price paid and some businesses depend on them to achieve profitability. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of managing rebates more effectively. A fall in sales volumes will have affected businesses on both sides and some will be looking to renegotiate contracts, which are no longer commercially viable.  e-Bate offers greater visibility of the process and provides the data insights needed to make better commercial decisions to boost revenue recovery.”

Sandy Reid, Investment Director at Mercia, added: 

“Over £100 billion of rebates are processed each year in the UK alone and in industries such as food production they are used all along the supply chain. e-Bate is the only product of its type that helps companies to manage such schemes efficiently. Leanne and the team are making great progress even with the economic backdrop of COVID-19.  We are pleased to be able to continue supporting this fast-growing software business.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director at the British Business Bank, said: 

“It is great to see companies like e-Bate building on their initial support from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.  We saw from The Early Assessment Report into the Fund that investee businesses develop greater confidence in raising further external finance and this investment into e-Bate is a good example of that in practice. Having successfully secured further funding, e-Bate will be able to accelerate its growth.”


Kevin Harris, Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Board of Directors, said:

“Financial services are one of our key industries here in Leicester and Leicestershire, so I’m very pleased that the MEIF was able to support a business that is taking an innovative approach to helping businesses manage profitability. The LLEP is committed to supporting our businesses through COVID-19, so it’s great to see such a streamlined solution to rebates that will be of great benefit to the wider business community.”

Tom Gray, partner at Knights PLC, provided legal advice to Mercia.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

ENDS

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About Mercia Asset Management PLC

Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group’s ‘Complete Connected Capital’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.

The Group has a strong UK footprint through its regional offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia currently has c.£800million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over £96million into its direct investment portfolio. Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC”.

The Group raises its own Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.

Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC” and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries –

  • Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
  • Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
  • EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560

www.mercia.co.uk

About the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF)

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund will invest in Debt Finance, Small Business Loans, Proof of Concept and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.

The MEIF covers the following LEP areas: Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, The Marches, and Worcestershire in the West Midlands; and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Greater Lincolnshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, and South East Midlands in the East Midlands.

The project is receiving up to £78,550,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

The funds in which Midlands Engine Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, the West Midlands and East & South East Midlands.

The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank programmes were supporting £8bn of finance to over 98,000 smaller businesses at end of March 2020. Since March 2020, the British Business Bank has launched four new Coronavirus business loan schemes, delivering tens of billions of pounds of finance to over a million businesses.

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses:

●        The Business Finance Guide (published in partnership with the ICAEW and a further 21 business and finance organisations) impartially sets out the range of finance options available to businesses at all stages – from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. Businesses can take the interactive journey at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb.

  • The new British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to high-growth businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. The new site also features case studies and learnings from real businesses to guide businesses through the process of applying for growth finance.

As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, British Business Bank plc is wholly owned by HM Government and is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, none of which are authorised and regulated by the FCA.

British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.