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Making Technology Commercialisation Happen Case Study


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Discover how the Spoonfed tech startup worked closely with the Alba Commercialisation Adviser Team in Scotland to deliver results in the UK and Internationally

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Making Technology Commercialisation Happen Case Study

  1. 1. +44 1506 592 100 +44 1506 592 117 Alba Innovation Centre Makes it Happen for Spoonfed with its ‘Virtual Management’ & Commercialisation Advisory Service Organisation Alba Innovation Centre ( managed by Innovation Centres Scotland Ltd (ICS) on behalf of Scottish Enterprise; is a leading technology accelerator, supporting early stage firms spread across Scotland by helping them to commercialise their products, software or solutions as rapidly as possible. Location Alba Campus, Livingston nr. Edinburgh EH54 7GA, Scotland, UK Sector Software as a Service (SaaS) business model targeted at the ‘drop and go’ catering market in the UK and International food and drinks sector i.e. firms delivering buffet lunches and other catering to client premises. The cloud base software app comprises a suite of integrated modules which drive the productivity and growth to the bottom line anytime, anywhere. Challenge The idea for the Spoonfed ( branded solution came from the founders (Willie Biggart and Murray McNicol) developing an in-house desktop PC solution for the Really Delicious Food Company where both were investor directors. Following the sale of RDF, the software IPR was transferred across to Aptus Systems Limited which was incorporated in 2010. Their aim was to develop a cloud based solution and then get to market as rapidly as possible whilst in parallel with completing the software development, seeking grant & investment initiatives and developing their routes to market strategy in the UK and Internationally; to drive market traction. Solution To help do this the Alba Innovation Commercialisation Advisory Team with a breadth of start up, SME and corporate business experience in the UK and International technology markets, worked very closely with Spoonfed The Alba Innovation team is made up of Investment Strategy, Finance Modelling plus, Sales & Marketing Commercialisation Advisors. In this case given one of the founders has Big 4 Accountancy experience Spoonfed didn’t avail themselves of the finance modelling, however this service is clearly of great value to other Alba clients. Together Alba Innovation conducted a thorough business review which helped qualify the suitability of Spoonfed for Alba Innovation in October 2012. Only technology clients are accepted onto the Alba Innovation program and they are segmented by SE as Growth Pipeline with full access to all SE Intervention Frameworks & Product Portfolio and have the potential within a 2 year period of becoming SE account managed and a potential turnover of £1m in 5 years. A major emphasis was focused on routes to market and uncovering opportunities to engage with clients to gain competitor intelligence, market research and the specific pains/needs experienced by clients whereby a solution could be offered by Spoonfed.
  2. 2. +44 1506 592 100 +44 1506 592 117 Spoonfed chose to base their business at the Alba Innovation Centre in Livingston which provided them with the ideal office accommodation in a busy tech community and surrounded by like minded entrepreneurs. During the 1st Quarter of the engagement with Spoonfed, Alba Innovation identified the investment and grant funding required for the technology and marketing initiatives. This included introducing the Founders to an on-site SE Innovation Specialist who assessed the technology objectives and approved a grant which enabled a team of software developers to continue the work, started originally in 2011. Their business plan and financials identified an investment of £250k was required and to be in place by summer 2014 to drive forward the growth and success of Spoonfed in international markets. Valuable introductions by Kevin Lonergan (Alba Innovation Commercialisation Adviser) to a network of his additional investment contacts in the tech start-up community in Scotland were made; in addition to the founders own contacts through Equity Gap and others. In parallel, routes to market one2one workshops commenced and these highlighted the need for greater market research, especially in the international arena, to be conducted. At this stage, introductions were made by Andrew McGee (Alba Innovation Commercialisation Adviser) to 1) SDI (Smart Exporter) which offered an overview of the extensive ‘Preparing to Export’ Programme Workshops 2) SDI International Accelerator Program and 3) to the UKTI Vice Consul for Software in San Francisco which resulted in a conference call and helpful market research data as well as advice/direction on how to conduct business in the USA and the dynamics involved from state to state. In September 2013, Spoonfed took the opportunity to exhibit at the ‘Lunch Exhibition’ in the Business Design Centre in London where they were able to demonstrate Spoonfed to a number of delegates, which resulted in a number of leads being generated. Following this, Spoonfed qualified the prospects using another cloud based software app and offered demonstrations of the software remotely using ‘GoToMeeting’ software. Given the founders knowledge of the catering sector and their ability to provide cost effective solutions to everyday industry problems, sign ups started and the pipeline is already building. In a similar timeframe, Spoonfed applied and was offered a grant for £10k by West Lothian Council to cover the cost of 2 new members of staff who will be recruited once the £250k investment (£125k from Equity Gap and the matched fund from the Scottish Investment Bank) is secured in summer 2014.
  3. 3. +44 1506 592 100 +44 1506 592 117 Results The Alba Innovation Commercialisation Service provided Spoonfed the following specific benefits during the 18 month period of engagement… Innovation  SE Innovation Grant Award of £8k for the platform software development and marketing support, including attendance at the Lunch Exhibition in London Exporting  Introductions to SDI and the Smart Exporter initiative and a one2one international strategic accelerator workshop for firms with potential to secure >£500k in revenue from international markets across the next 5 years  Introductions to the SE Global Scot Program and key executives in the US market with links to the catering sector  Range of SDI market research material for the United Arab Emirates, The Americas and Australia  Application for the SE Export Manager for Hire Program which is still to be approved  Review of SCDI trade missions potential inc. a specific UKTI Food and Drink visit Investment  Personal introductions to a range of Scottish investors and the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB)  Information that introductions to the Global Founders Capital Fund in Australia was available, but not yet followed up; a A$150m fund for internet businesses around the world at different stages of funding  Provided a conduit for Investor Ready Business Support Application Grant for legal fees and market research due diligence for investors which is still to be approved Marketing  Valuable sharing of papers and market intelligence inc. “The Rise of the Subscription Economy” which is very applicable to the Spoonfed SaaS model and the “Tax in the Cloud” report from KPMG relating to business in the USA  Introduction to a range of ‘ghost writer’ bloggers with a view to helping drive SEO and traffic to the Spoonfed web site as apart of a strategic marketing plan, which will be followed up post funding.  Application for a Marketing Support Grant which is still to be approved  Offer of help with the Spoonfed social media model and advice on how to address the ‘hidden sales market’ with marketing content / automation and social media posts – all to be started post funding when resource is in place
  4. 4. +44 1506 592 100 +44 1506 592 117 General  Through prudent ‘bootstrapping’ initiatives; Spoonfed chose to flex the option of the AIC Incubation Hub facility as an alternative to an independent office  Unique mind mapping exercise to help brain storm ideas and actions to be implemented To date, in just a few months, Spoonfed has secured 10 customers and a growing sales pipeline incorporating both independents and large multiples. Once the funding is in place, Spoonfed plans to employ a further 5 additional staff before the end of this financial year. Alba Innovation has proven its success by working intimately with the Founders identifying their key pain points of getting to market with a robust Commercialisation process which delivers results, providing a firm base for Spoonfed to be Account Managed by Scottish Enterprise within 12 months of engagement. Innovation driven enterprises are essential to delivering robust sustainable growth in any economy. Scottish Enterprise High Growth Start Up initiatives such as AIC supports the creation and growth of technology enterprises, focusing on providing advice and assistance to high impact entrepreneurs such as the team at Spoonfed, helping them to achieve their potential across international markets. Client Testimonial “The Alba Innovation Commercialisation Service has given us efficient and practical advice, bringing additional marketing resources and general business and investment support to the table at a vital time in the firm’s development. Alba Innovation is a fantastic initiative and driven by proactive, interesting and interested people. In particular the energy and helpfulness of our advisor, Andrew McGee is much appreciated – he has been most supportive. As a result of everyone’s efforts a firm foundation for Spoonfed has been built in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and Alba to drive the business forward. For this we are most grateful - now the challenge is for Spoonfed to fulfil its plans and become a leading Scottish business in a global market.” Willie Biggart; Founding Director& Chairman of Spoonfed If you’re an early stage start-up with innovative IP and a disruptive technology solution seeking Commercialisation and a rapid route to market, then REGISTER TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION by emailing The Alba Innovation team of Commercialisation Advisers are ready and waiting to help you make your start-up a success in the UK and International markets.