Insight Technology has secured a £300,000 loan to expand into new office space and further grow its team. The Bracknell-based firm, which has developed innovative software for commercial property agents, is only the second company to receive maximum funding from the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator.
Run by the father and son team of John and Michael Avery, and fellow director Darryl Friend, Insight Technology was born out of their creative design agency, The Looking Glass Design. The company’s agentinsight software is the brainchild of Michael Avery who identified the need for a system that could connect, modernise and streamline all the processes for commercial property agents. A one-stop solution that centralises property databases, marketing, enquiries and deals into a cloud-based system, the software is already being used by local and national commercial property agencies across the UK.
The Berkshire Growth Hub has been providing advice to the management team of Insight Technology and sister company The Looking Glass Design to enable them to secure funding and progress their growth strategy.
Director Michael Avery explained: “We had clearly hit upon product-market fit, but recognised we needed additional staff and office space to maximise our growth opportunity. For this we needed funds, but we didn’t know exactly what finance options were available to us. Having heard about the Berkshire Growth Hub via HMRC, we approached them for guidance. They were able to provide us with valuable advice and connect us with funding experts, including the FSE Group.”
The team were allocated a dedicated business adviser to work with them on their growth strategy. The Growth Hub introduced them to the FSE Group, which manages the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator – an £11.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to support job creation and economic prosperity in Berkshire.
Avery added: “We didn’t know what to expect before we started the High Growth Programme, but now I can wholeheartedly recommend the Berkshire Growth Hub. The programme was tailored to our needs and has been very effective. Our adviser took time to understand our business and talked us through our funding options. It was refreshing to receive impartial, honest advice with no agenda. This help meant we secured the investment we needed quicker and can now move forward with our plans.
“Our business adviser made us consider hard issues and asked all the right questions to enable us to find solutions. It was extremely valuable to have someone impartial to provide an objective view of our business. They helped us put in place some more structure, which has improved communications and made meetings more productive. For example, having regular off-site directors’ meetings has been a really important practice – and one that we are now continuing."
The Bracknell business has now launched its second product The Agents Society. This latest system helps commercial property agents across the UK connect to each other. It connects over 1,500 agents to their own marketplace, matching requests and formalising what once would have been emails or calls.
“Our technology is the best out there” explains Michael. “However, investing in talented developers and the best support staff is vitally important to service our rapidly growing client base. We have already doubled our headcount since we started working with the Growth Hub, but this investment will enable us to work towards a team of over 15 staff and move to larger premises in order to achieve our goals.”
Cheryl Weeks, fund manager at The FSE Group, said: “We are delighted to add Insight Technology to the portfolio of companies supported by the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator. The company’s innovative software and game-changing technology will really enhance the commercial property sector. We wish John and Michael and their team all the success for the future.”
Having completed the High Growth Programme, the Berkshire Growth Hub is now supporting Insight Technology through its next growth phase via its ScaleUp Berkshire initiative. This specialist support programme is for leaders of ambitious scale-up businesses with an annual turnover of over £1 million and 20% year-on-year growth.
The Business Growth Hub offers fully funded, impartial support services and expert one-to-one advice to start-ups and established businesses in Berkshire. The service includes free clinics and masterclasses on a range of business issues, alongside a special High Growth programme to provide tailored support to SMEs with high growth potential.
Delivered by Oxford Innovation Services, the service is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.