Cloud-based consumer insights business to scale-up after PE investment
Fast-growing consumer insights business Vypr plans to strengthen its sales and marketing operations as it invests in its team and expands into new sectors and overseas markets following a £2.5m growth capital investment backed by YFM Equity Partners (YFM) through its British Smaller Companies VCTs.
Founded in 2013 by Ben Davies, Vypr has built a cloud-based data validation platform that enables manufacturers and retailers to save time and costs on new product development by providing insight into what customers want to see on the shelves. Based in Manchester, it has a 15-strong team and expanded its consumer panel into France and Germany in 2020.
The company has developed an industry-leading process that combines research into behavioural science with its own well-segmented consumer panel, putting the client in full control and enabling them to test every aspect of their product innovation, from packaging, pricing and naming to product claims and ranging.
Vypr works with leading retailers such as The Co-op Food and brands like Weetabix and Müller.
In addition to the primary service of providing near real time consumer responses to steers, Vypr has developed a number of additional products such as an analytics tool for profiling multiple products within a given category or classification; a function which assesses consumer value perception of products and models pricing elasticity; and a brand sentiment tracker.
The investment from YFM will enable the business to grow its sales and marketing team as it builds on its strong customer base among food manufacturers, retailers and FMCG brands and moves into new vertical sectors. Vypr will also continue to invest in product development as well as exploring further international markets, building on its European presence.
Chair of Vypr, Richard Law, who is an expert in data and data analytics driven disruption,
commented: “Vypr was set up by our founder Ben Davies to speedily give product developers, marketers and retailers access to accurate, insightful shopper data, enabling them to make more informed decisions about NPD. With ever-increasing consumer demand for interesting products driving innovation, our clients are looking to launch fewer but more successful products as well as optimising their share of the available market.”
“The Vypr platform has proved able to provide them with this valuable intelligence in less than an hour – it eliminates the need for expensive research and reduces the number of failed product launches. We’ve had phenomenal feedback from clients who say it has transformed the way they work.
“The success of Vypr is down to the vision of our founder and the world-leading team of people that we have managed to bring together. I’m confident of Vypr’s long-term strategy and its continued success.”
“Having known the YFM team for some time, we were confident that they would be able to support us as we invest in a first class team to take the business forward, turning a strong product in a nascent market into a global leader in its field. For a deal of this size and space in the market, they are the right partner, particularly given their regional coverage. I know a number of businesses in which YFM have invested and I rate the team very highly.”
Dan Freed, partner at YFM, added:
“Vypr has developed an agile platform which focusses on providing rapid and robust consumer insight and is valued by many well-known clients. We believe that it has a great opportunity to capitalise on increasing digitisation of traditional market research methodologies. We look forward to partnering with the team as the business executes the next phase of its growth strategy, targeting new clients, sectors and geographies.”
The YFM team comprised Dan Freed, Ian Waterfield, Laura Sisson and Andy Thomas.
Robert Ledger provided financial diligence; commercial diligence was carried out by Luminii; management diligence by Catalysis; technical diligence by Jeremy Bygrave and David Gallimore; tax by Alexander & Co; and legal advice by Irwin Mitchell.
The company was advised by Ryan Niblock and Nigel Barratt of Hurst Corporate Finance, and by Gateley (legal).
Ryan Niblock said:
“Vypr has developed a world-leading market research and consumer intelligence platform, and YFM’s investment will enable the company to accelerate its growth plans nationally and internationally. It has been a pleasure to work with the management team throughout the process and we wish them and YFM all the best in the next phase of growth.”
Picture shows: (top row, L to R) Richard Law of Vypr, Dan Freed of YFM, and Ben Davies of Vypr; (bottom row, L to R) Mark Fielding, Tasmin Sibbald and Sam Gilding of Vypr, with Laura Sisson of YFM
YFM Equity Partners are specialist, independently owned, private equity investors. With over 30 years of experience we seek to unlock value and growth potential by providing up to £10 million of equity to fuel the development of established business throughout the UK regions. We do this by helping our portfolio companies grow niche businesses, launch new initiatives, make transformative acquisitions and upgrade technologies and systems. Through our offices in Leeds, London, Manchester, and Birmingham, we are dedicated to working alongside management teams to create long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in and a positive economic impact for the communities in which we work. We manage funds in excess of £300 million which include venture capital trusts and private equity funds.
YFM Equity Partners conducts its investment business through its subsidiary YFM Private Equity Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 122120).