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19th July 2022

Q&A with Bimsense

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Northern Powerhouse Investment FundNPIF - Mercia Equity FinanceHull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund was set up to make a real and measurable difference to businesses across the North West, Yorkshire, the Humber and Tees Valley. It has since led to the creation of thousands of new jobs, fuelled growth plans, and helped to create a more prosperous regional economy.

As part of NPIF’s 5th anniversary, we spoke to eight businesses that have secured investment to learn more about their investment experience.

Bimsense secured £250,000 of investment from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance in 2022. Since then, the business has been able to further enhance its award-winning platform, Operance, which helps building owners and contractors stay up to date with digital building information, creating an audit trail to help comply with regulations and keep on top of safety measures.

We spoke to Ian Yeo, CEO at Bimsense, to ask about the impact of investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund – here’s what he had to say:

Why did you seek out NPIF – Mercia Equity investment?

“After working on building our business for four years, we reached a stage where we needed to secure further investment to deliver our long-term ambition of digitising and ‘humanising’ building information.

“We knew that we wanted to commercialise our system, expand our operation, and hire more staff. We looked at a range of finance options, but we had seen the benefits of working with Mercia through their involvement with C4DI in Hull and how successful that was.”

Why was equity finance the right finance option for your business?

“We looked at a range of options such as using an angel investor. However, we had a clear vision and strategy for our business and didn’t want to give up that up. Equity finance with Mercia meant maintaining the freedom to grow in our way whilst getting the investment we needed.

“At the time, it wasn’t possible to get any debt funding options, so we were limited in that regard. Equity finance lessened the financial burden without having to work to strict deadlines. We also had the utmost trust in Simon from Mercia, as he was really knowledgeable and helpful.”

What difference has NPIF funding made to your business?

“NPIF funding has been invaluable in the growth and development of our business. We had the bare bones of a product that had generated interest, but we knew it would never have been able to truly take off without access to finance.

“NPIF has certainly helped us get things going much more quickly. Their investment helped us to accelerate development, making a significant investment in the market. We were also able to streamline our resources, focusing our energies on our business goals rather than trying to raise capital.”

What new opportunities has NPIF provided you?

“Working with NPIF has meant we’ve been able to grow the business and bring in new people to work with us. The investment meant we could start hiring for a range of roles including bringing on people from outside the construction sector, such as software developers.

“These new hires have helped us to broaden our perspectives and grow as a software business in the construction field. It’s been a real learning curve and challenged us to think of how we can create opportunities that come emerge outside our industry.”

What would you say to other business owners considering NPIF funding?

“Based on our own experience, I would highly recommend working with NPIF. There are many ways to secure finance in your business, but if you’ve got real confidence in your business plan and have thought it through extensively, you will be able to grow quickly with NPIF funding.

“Although we went with the equity funding option, it may not be in your interest to give up a portion of your company – will the benefits of equity financing actually help your business to grow and take off? This needs to be a fundamental part when it comes to seeking external finance.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 183363).  EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 443560).

Editors Notes

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If you would like to meet with one of our appointed Fund Managers to talk in more detail please go to 'Funds Available' to find the Fund Managers operating in your area

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Microfinance

£25k – £100k

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Debt Finance

£100k – £750k

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Equity Finance

£50k – £2m

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