Wednesday, October 28, 2020

VC fund invests £1m in Leeds tech company

Praetura Ventures, the VC fund that targets high-value sectors in the north of England, is investing £1m in a Leeds-based tech company that helps businesses defend themselves against customer-focused cyberattacks and improve the digital experience their websites offer to consumers.

The funding secured by RapidSpike will allow it to enhance and scale its product and expand its client base to add to its stable of blue-chip customers that includes William Hill, Npower and major US brand retailer Helen of Troy (owner of Revlon, Braun and Honeywell among others). RapidSpike has almost 300 customers, with a third of revenues generated outside the UK, including from customers in the US, Japan and South America.

The business has been boosted by a global spike in website traffic following COVID-19 lockdowns, with consumers increasing the amount of time and money they spend online. Nasdaq has predicted that 95% of transactions will take place online by 2040.

RapidSpike was founded in 2015 by Andrew Mason and Robin Hill, and the business is now led by CEO Gav Winter, the founder of IT consultancy The Test People. He joined in 2018 to drive the company’s growth.

The £1m investment by Manchester-based Praetura Ventures was led by Guy Weaver and Sim Singh-Landa.

RapidSpike CEO Gav Winter said: “The online retail market has been supercharged this year, sharpening the focus on both customer experience and security. Today’s online consumers are sophisticated and have high expectations of transactional websites, meaning companies must ensure an outstanding user experience. At the same time cybersecurity threats are increasing all the time and businesses are recognising that they must invest to protect themselves and their customers.

“The team at Praetura Ventures have proved that they understand our business and our market. Their funding and the experience and expertise they bring to the table will allow RapidSpike to continue to improve our suite of products and grow our blue-chip client base.”

Sim Singh-Landa, investment manager at Praetura Ventures, added: “RapidSpike is one of the most exciting young businesses in the North’s tech scene, with a unique platform that allows businesses to build safe, reliable and secure ecommerce websites. We have all seen the huge financial and reputational impact cyber breaches can have on businesses. RapidSpike is well-placed to support the growth in ecommerce and help to protect against the rise of cybercrime and particularly the Magecart threat.

“We’re confident that the investment, along with the value our knowledge and experience add, will help RapidSpike to become one of the world’s leading tech companies specialising in website performance and security at a time when there is huge demand for these services.”

3volution (for RapidSpike) and Gateley (for Praetura Ventures) provided legal advice on the transaction. PMSI provided commercial due diligence and Beyond MA provided technical due diligence to Praetura Ventures.

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