David Forrest of Compliance Control Ltd, a recent speaker at our Salford Thrive & Survive Access to Finance event, tells how accessing funding has helped him to realise his business dream.
I set up Compliance Control Ltd in 2006, delivering quality, compliance and validation consultancy, but soon realised I had an opportunity to fulfil a dream that I started over 25 years ago, which was to create and launch a global software product. In March 2011 I applied to take part in a fully funded Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business course, which was being run to help 10,000 small businesses to create a growth plan. My plan was to develop and market an electronic document and quality management system aimed at helping small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to manage business critical documents, including processes to ensure quality and compliance at a price suitable for their size of operation.
Most SMEs use SAGE to manage their finance and accounts, and software to manage their SALES/CRM processes, rather than spread sheets, ad hoc, bespoke and custom built databases, because this software is cheap and quick to set up and use. Our software product is targeted at SME’s that still use paper, spread sheets, ad hoc, bespoke and custom built databases to manage their Quality and Compliance documents and systems.
The business plan included a three year profit and loss and cashflow forecast, detailing my funding requirements of £500,000 to develop the software and market this globally. First stop to source the capital needed was the banking sector but, after knocking on a few doors, it was clear this type of early stage funding was not for them.
Then I applied for a Technology Strategy Board Grant and, using the ‘pre-prepared’ growth plan, I was awarded £250k, a 50% ‘matched funding award’. However, this is paid quarterly in arrears. We have to commit and do the work and then the progress gets reviewed with payment typically 45 days after the quarter, therefore a big cashflow hole of nearly 5 months! To fill this gap I looked at a series of other funds from loans to business angels to venture capitalists. I worked very closely with a business mentor, Walli Ullah, who I met as part of the 10,000 small business course, who coached me through this part of the funding path, and I eventually ended up approaching the NorthWest Fund, and was invited to pitch to the investment committee who awarded me £300k.
We have recently released a new version of our software and are now progressing with our ‘go to market’ sales strategy. So my dream is soon to become a reality! Compliance Control Centre is an Electronic Document and Quality Management system specifically designed and priced for SME’s, so they can use software to manage their Quality and Compliance and it is applicable to many companies but in particular those already compliant, or seeking to be compliant to standards or regulations such as ISO 9001, 13485, 14000, 17025, CE Mark, FDA, MHRA, ICH, GxP, etc.
Contact Details: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 01606 871113 www.compliance-control.com