IT Firm Accelerates Growth and Profitability
Breakthrough funding has enabled a successful software technology company to accelerate both its growth plans and profitability.
- Turnover: £2.5m-£25m
- Sector: Technology
- Berkshire-based IT software company TDB Fusion was founded in 2002 and has been consistently profitable.
- The company needed growth funding to accelerate its development, but despite a robust business plan, it got a negative response from its incumbent bank. It began the search for a lender with a more innovative strategy to SME funding.
- TDB Fusion was introduced to Santander’s Breakthrough programme and to Relationship Director, David French, who took the time to investigate the connection between the company’s funding needs and what it wanted to achieve. He had a deep understanding of the industry and got to know the business inside out.
- Santander understood that TDB Fusion’s balance sheet did not provide the full story. It structured the finance based on achieved cashflow, not on apparent assets, providing the company with both £500,000 Breakthrough Growth Capital funding and a £350,000 revolving credit facility.
- TDB Fusion is now investing in product development, has brought forward the recruitment of new staff members and has accelerated growth by over 30%.
Berkshire-based TDB Fusion is an IT software company, founded in 2002. Keen to accelerate the business’ development even further, CEO Colin Aurelius put together a robust business plan and went in search of growth funding. They were keen to fund third-party software licences to extend their managed service capabilities, expand their management and operational teams, and invest further in their software. “We had released the product, Federos™ but we pride ourselves on a policy of continuous innovation,” explains Colin.
But despite the company’s successful track record, the business received a negative response from its incumbent bank when approached for long-term funding. “We’d been established ten years and were consistently profitable,” says Colin. “But we also had quite specific needs. It quickly became clear we needed to find a bank with a more innovative strategy to SME funding”.
Time for change
A switch to a new bank became a priority and Colin went to great lengths to find the right financier for his business. While scouring the market for funding options, they were introduced to Santander’s Breakthrough programme. “We researched it and from the very beginning our experience was drastically improved,” says Colin. “Our Relationship Director, David French, took the time to investigate the connection between our funding needs and what we were trying to achieve.”
The TDB Fusion team was pleasantly surprised by the level of engagement from Santander and David’s level of understanding of the IT industry. The company received finance in the form of a Breakthrough Growth Capital Loan. “We structure our finance based on achieved cashflow as opposed to the assets that people happen to have lying around,” explains David. “Being a software business, TDB Fusion’s £3 million investment in software development was discounted by standard funders, and the balance sheet was consequently asset-light. From a traditional banking perspective, the balance sheet did not provide the full story.”
It’s not uncommon for a successful company like TDB Fusion to challenge a bank less willing to take the time to understand the company’s business model. “There’s a lot of jargon and intangibles,” explains David. “So, to get a clearer picture, we ran a course of internal and external due diligence.”
“The external due diligence focused on customer and supplier interviews, which returned the overwhelming view that customers would recommend the products and would buy again,” says David. “Taken with all the other information at hand we knew it was a good prospect.”
Forging ahead with funding
Santander and TDB Fusion agreed a Breakthrough Growth Capital loan of £500,000, as well as a revolving credit facility of £350,000. The funding is being spent on refinancing, product development, and a recruitment drive that will create 14 new jobs at its base in Bracknell, Berkshire. The company also transferred its day-to-day bank account to Santander.
David believes the funding has also left TDB Fusion in a much stronger position to negotiate major new contracts. “Before now, TDB Fusion was focusing on the management of working capital, which restricted the commercial options available to their customers,” says David. “Due to the nature of the business, they are focused on large three to five-year term contracts, which makes cashflow quite uneven. Now they can negotiate contracts based on the long-term needs of the business and their customers.”
According to Colin, the funding package has allowed his business to accelerate growth plans. “We’ve grown over 30% year-on-year, and we’re expecting that to accelerate,” he says. “We have added significant resources, both in service delivery and in the development team,” he adds. “The finance from Santander allowed us to bring those people in six to nine months ahead of when we otherwise could have done it, which in today’s market is a significant competitive advantage.”
Lending is subject to status.
What is Breakthrough?
Breakthrough is a programme of funding, business support, events and consultancy to help high-performing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) leap to the next level of sustainable growth. Taking part in Breakthrough does not guarantee access to all elements, as each programme is tailored to meet the individual requirements of the business. To find out more, register your interest, and to see if you are eligible, visit the Breakthrough website:
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Relationship Director Comments
We structure our financings based on achieved cashflow as opposed to tangible assets, which is especially relevant to a company such as TDB Fusion, which does not have significant tangible assets.