A specialist North East software developer is looking to expand both at home and overseas after bringing in a six-figure investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.
EvaluAgent designs software solutions for contact centres which use ‘gamification’ techniques to help ensure customers receive the best possible standards of service while also keeping the call centre teams fully engaged and motivated.
Data generated by the systems is turned into points and leaderboards, which incentivise staff to try to make their way to the top of the list through the work that they do and the service they provide to customers.
The systems have been proven to help customers’ business performance through improving staff retention, absence and performance results.
And now, the Teesside-based firm is aiming to use the £300,000 investment that it has secured through NEL Fund Managers to improve existing and develop new products with a view to expanding its UK customer base and exploring new markets overseas.
EvaluAgent was set up in 2012 by Jaime Scott, Michelle Dinsmore and Alex Richards, all of whom has significant experience in the outsourcing sector with a range of nationally-renowned brands.
Having initially won a contract with outsourcing giant Atos which led to work on its National Savings & Investment project, EvaluAgent is now increasingly securing work directly with well-known clients right across the UK, including internationalfinancial group Invesco and travel reward points provider Avios.
Annual turnover now exceeds £1m and is growing at around 50 per cent every year, a figure that the management team is keen to maintain, while the current 15-strong team is expected to grow by another ten people in the foreseeable future.
Plans are now being developed to create a reseller network as part of scaling up the business, while ways in which to break into new markets, including North America, are also being investigated.
Jaime Scott, managing director at EvaluAgent, says: “There’s a clear link between the degree of engagement that contact centre staff feel with their work and improvements in the business performance that they help to deliver, and the software systems we design provide the means of successfully meeting both objectives.
“By presenting data in a user friendly and recognisable way, staff can be incentivised to find their way to the top of the leaderboard through the service they provide to customers, which leads to better outcomes for everyone involved.
“The success we’ve enjoyed so far has been a real market validation of the products we’ve developed, and we’re now aiming to scale things up in the coming years with new and improved products that will enable us to go after the many commercial opportunities we see ahead of us.
“The North East is increasingly acknowledged as a digital centre of excellence, and we’re proud to be part of a growing community of technology businesses that are at the heart of that recognition.
“The Growth Fund investment gives us the resources we need to make the next stage of our development plans happen, and provided a financial option that fit well with our present position. The NEL team understood where the business is and where it can go, and we very much enjoyed working with them.”
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “EvaluAgent is combining commercial and technological expertise to create products that have a direct influence on their clients’ business performance, and their development plans clearly presented an excellent investment opportunity for us.”
Established by holding fund manager North East Finance (NEF) in 2010, the £159.5m Finance for Business North East (FBNE) programme is a suite of seven venture capital and loan funds which provide investment for start-up and growing businesses in the North East of England. They will continue investing until 2016, and aim to support 950 companies and to create or safeguard almost 10,000 jobs.
A new £4m extension to the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund was recently confirmed, and NEL is actively looking to speak to more North East businesses about securing investment from it to help them put development plans into action.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.