Female-led Scottish tech firm raises £1.2m to tackle global counterfeit goods trade
The funding will be used for further technology development to help global clients fight back against counterfeits
12 August, Edinburgh – SnapDragon Monitoring, an online brand protection business, has raised £1.2m in its latest funding round – bringing the total raised to just over £3m – from ACF Investors, Mercia, and Scottish Enterprise, to help brand owners identify and remove fakes, copycats and online threats, using intellectual property to do so.
The funding will be used to develop the technology and AI/ML to further extend capabilities, to scale the infrastructure, and to continue to build the team to help an expanding base of global clients fight fakes and online threats.
The funding is also a positive for female-led technology companies receiving investment, as according to Crunchbase figures, only 2.3% of venture capital went to female-led start-ups in 2020. Interestingly, when female-led start-ups do get funded, they’re more likely to be successful – delivering more than twice as much revenue per dollar invested.
With fake products contributing over 3.3% to world trade each year, according to the OECD, SnapDragon Monitoring’s ‘Swoop’ platform searches for copies and counterfeits of products and brands, so that they can be removed from sale. Doing so protects revenues, reputations and, most importantly, the end consumer. Current clients include innovative US baby brand 4moms, Australian b.box, AG Barr, producers of the iconic IRN-BRU and Rubicon brands; UK-based Bondeye and global phenomenon StylPro.
SnapDragon Monitoring – which has grown headcount by 25% in the last 12 months to support a significantly expanded client portfolio – has also strengthened its board, with the hiring of Geraldine Kelly as Non-Executive Chair of the Board. Geraldine has previously held senior executive positions with Frame Technology (Adobe); Visio (Microsoft), Gartner Learning Group and Thomson Learning. Geraldine is a Chartered Director with the Institute of Directors and an experienced board chair. Angela Brown has also been appointed as Finance Director. A chartered accountant with over 20 years’ experience, Angela was most recently with Symphonic Software as it scaled to a USD$31m exit in 2020.
Rachel Jones, Founder and Head Dragon, comments:
“Sometimes out of adversity comes opportunity, and SnapDragon is testament to that. We are helping brands to remove fakes from sale online: protecting revenues, reputations and, most importantly, the end consumer. What brands may not realise is that sales made from counterfeits fund organised crime, such as trafficking – and nobody wants a fake of their brand funding illicit trade. In identifying fakes online, and removing them from sale on the pertinent platforms, we prevent their visibility and subsequent purchase, export, import and distribution.
“We are delighted to welcome Geraldine and Angela to SnapDragon. We are pleased to have successfully raised additional funding to enable further business development and growth. We are female-led business, bucking the trend in terms of raising investment and being in the tech space – and delivering outstanding results to protect brands around the world. We are hugely proud of everything the team has achieved to date, not least preventing over £100m of fake goods being sold in the last 12 months, and look forward to future growth and success.”
Tim Mills, Managing Partner, ACF Investors, comments:
“SnapDragon Monitoring is tackling a global counterfeit problem head on by safeguarding and protecting brands of all sizes from online threats and infringements, and we are delighted to support the company through its next phase of growth. The company has also been able to capitalise on the thriving Scottish tech scene, with access to an international workforce shown in its rapidly growing team.”
Tom Pellereau, one of SnapDragon’s current clients and Inventor and Founder of STYLIDEAS Ltd. with Lord Sugar following 2011 BBC’s The Apprentice, comments:
“SnapDragon Monitoring has removed over 6000 copycats of my award winning STYLPRO makeup brush cleaner from Amazon, eBay, Instagram and Alibaba. It’s a colossal number, and something we would never have been able to do on our own. Copycats appearing on Amazon are an unfortunate reality of modern commerce, as an inventor you want to spend your time creating new products not fighting the constant barrage of fakes. SnapDragon’s algorithms constantly scan the net, searching for new infringers and every week they send us a list of those they have scheduled to remove. It’s that simple. I recommend SnapDragon to any innovative business.”
About SnapDragon Monitoring
SnapDragon Monitoring is an online brand protection service for businesses to find and resolve instances of intellectual property (IP) infringement online. SnapDragon Monitoring searches the world’s busiest social media and online marketplaces to identify copies and counterfeits of products and brands, so that they can be removed. Doing so protects revenues, reputations and most importantly, the end consumer. Originality is proven using intellectual property rights, such as trademarks, design rights and copyright, and then processed by either the customer or SnapDragon Monitoring’s team of brand analysts, resulting in a quicker and cheaper process than traditional methods. Using its intelligent Swoop software, infringing products can often be removed from marketplaces in under four minutes.
About ACF Investors
Launched in 2011, ACF Investors (formerly the Angel CoFund) is a privately managed and commercially focused venture capital fund that works alongside sector smart business angels to invest in high potential SMEs across the UK, directly providing funding to support exceptional businesses.
To date ACF Investors has supported close to 100 companies (for example Ebury, Gousto, Creo Medical and Form3) providing more than £50 million in direct investment alongside more than £300m from business angels and other investors, making it one of the most active early-stage investors in the country.
To find out more, please visit www.acfinvestors.com
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 Capital Solution’. 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.
Mercia has a strong UK regional footprint through its eight offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia currently has c.£940million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over c.£106million across its direct investment portfolio.
The Group raises its own Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and manages Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) 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
About Scottish Enterprise
Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s national economic development agency. We’re committed to growing the Scottish economy for the benefit of all, helping create more quality jobs and a brighter future for every region.