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Image caption: Katie Bennett, Amy Bennett, Mark Bennett, James Robson, all of Florisoft with Rachel Smith and Keith Charlton of FW Capital and Sally Bennett also of Florisoft at their headquarters in Hurworth. Photo: John Millard/UNP.

24th March 2022

Strelitzia expands operations following NPIF – FW Capital investment

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Northern Powerhouse Investment FundNPIF FW Capital Debt FinanceTees Valley Combined Authority LEP

Software company Florisoft, trading as Strelitzia Software Ltd, secured a £175,000 investment from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, which is managed by FW Capital and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Darlington-based Strelitzia is a Software as a Service (SaaS) company that provides innovative software solutions for floristry clients. Servicing both UK and international clients, the software is a unique technology solution that manages the day-to-day running of floristry businesses.

The software incorporates tools such as order taking, delivery schedules, accounts, contracts, reporting, marketing and EPOS, allowing the user to turn their tablet or computer into a cash register.

Established in 2006, Strelitzia is owned and run by husband and wife Mark and Sally Bennett and their daughters Amy and Katie who were keen to find and develop a technology tool after taking over the family business ‘Flowers by Nattrass’.

‘Flowers by Nattrass’ was founded in 1959 by Sally’s father Ron, after he purchased land in Hurworth to grow his own flowers and vegetables and sold them from the front gate. The business soon went from strength to strength and is an integral part of Strelitzia’s journey to date.

NPIF – FW Capital’s investment will provide the funding needed to further develop the software system and allow Strelitzia to expand and develop their routes to market. The investment has safeguarded seven jobs and will create a further eight over the course of the investment.

The deal was facilitated by FW Capital Deputy Fund Manager Keith Charlton, supported by Investment Executive Rachel Smith.

FW Capital Investment Executive Rachel Smith said: “Strelitzia is led by a credible and highly experienced management team who are well-known and respected in the floristry industry. Their vast experience and expertise make them best placed to develop a compelling software offering that customers will want to purchase. We are delighted to be able to provide this investment and look forward to continuing to work with the Strelitzia team into the future.”

Mark Bennett, Strelitzia Managing Director, said: “Strelitzia was created because of a need for software to run our family floristry business. There was nothing on the market, so we created our own. Our mission is to make business management successful for every florist, with the best customer service at the heart of everything we do.

“This investment from FW Capital will allow us to further expand our software and bring forward some exciting new features to make the product even more attractive and open up new routes to market. We are grateful to FW Capital for the support.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Strelitzia’s not only a brilliant business adding value to our growing digital sector, but its story shows real ingenuity and innovation by identifying and filling a gap in the sector, spurring it on to further success.

“This shows how our funding is helping our brilliant small businesses to evolve, adapt and grow, giving them even more opportunities. It was great to hear of Strelitzia’s ambitions first-hand and it’s great to see them go from strength to strength.”

Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank, said: ‘’Strelitzia demonstrates important innovation within the floristry industry through its digitalisation, which helps to keep the already well renowned family business ahead of its competition. The digital economy is a key sector for the Bank’s regional funds as they support the growth plans for local businesses that continue to adapt intuitively. We are pleased to support regional businesses in their growth trajectory and look forward to helping Strelitzia maximise even more opportunity.”

FW Capital provides loans of £100,000 to £750,000 to businesses based in the NPIF region with a focus on the North West, Cumbria and Tees Valley.

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.

FW Capital Limited is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a small authorised UK Alternative Investment Fund Manager under firm reference number 506719

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