CitNOW (see it now), the video software solution for the automotive industry, has secured £1.2 million in growth capital funding from Santander’s Breakthrough Programme. The funding will support the creation of 50 new jobs, allow for new product development and provide for further capital expenditure ensuring the continued rollout of CitNOW in the UK and overseas.
CitNOW, the trading name of Zype TV, is a personal video presentation tool dedicated to the automotive sector, with applications for sales and servicing. The video app enables sales execs to make and send video presentations of cars to potential customers. In addition, technicians can send videos to customers to evidence parts that need replacing when cars are brought in for servicing. This increases the conversion of vehicle sales leads and aftersales work for dealerships.
Established in 2008, CitNOW has expanded rapidly and now works with 75 of the top 100 automotive dealership groups in the UK as well as a host of manufacturers, including BMW, Volkswagen and Nissan. CitNOW has benefited from the continuing migration of the automotive sales process to online channels, which has reduced the number of car dealerships visited before purchasing a car from 5 to just over 1. As a means of winning or retaining clients in an online environment, CitNOW technology has become increasingly attractive to dealers.
Commenting on the Breakthrough funding, Alistair Horsburgh Chief Executive of CitNOW, said: “Winning the majority of our 1,000 plus accounts in two years has meant fighting hard to keep business planning and cash aligned.
We've moved banks twice to maintain our aggressive forecasts, having to cope with UK bank bureaucracy, which appears largely averse to growth. That all changed when we met Santander.
“Their Growth Capital Fund has allowed us to raise seven figures in debt funding to expand our business in Europe.”
The Growth Capital loan is part of Santander’s Breakthrough programme, which aims to support fast-growth small businesses, to help them fulfil their potential. As well as funding, Breakthrough offers companies access to trade missions, business master classes, networking events and support in areas such as finance and marketing.
Philip Mason, Director of Growth Capital at Santander UK, said: “As the importance of the online sales channel increases for the automotive market, both dealers and manufacturers are searching for ways to maintain strong customer relationships and enhance customer experience. The quality of the CitNOW product, as well as the financial value it brings to its clients, is demonstrated by the rate of growth the business has achieved to date.
“The provision of our Breakthrough Growth Capital loan will support the business through the next phase of its development, delivering a considerable pipeline of further sales opportunities in the UK and overseas.”
Santander was represented by Philip Mason and Richard Hennity, Liverpool Corporate and Commercial office. Legal advice was provided by Patrick Keown from Freeths Cartwright.
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Notes to Editors
The Breakthrough programme is aimed at businesses with a turnover of between £500,000 and £25 million per annum with demonstrable growth in turnover, profit or employment. Breakthrough aims to help these businesses fulfil their growth potential to create jobs and stimulate supply-chain demand and a private sector led recovery via a programme of both capital and support. Breakthrough is part of Santander Corporate & Commercial.
Santander UK is a leading financial services provider in the UK and offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 30 June 2014, Santander UK serves around 14 million active customers with c. 20,300 employees, almost 1,000 branches and 52 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.
Jonathan Woodier, Santander, tel: +44 2077564848, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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