NPIF Equity

Ecommerce platform raises over £1.5m to target B2B market

An ecommerce platform that enables companies to set up an online store in a fraction of the time it takes to build a traditional website has raised over £1.5m to help establish it as a leader in the business-to-business market.

Shopblocks has raised funding from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, Mercia’s EIS funds and an existing investor, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

Shopblocks is aimed at medium and large companies with complex pricing models or supply chains such as wholesalers, IT resellers or businesses offering bespoke products. Its ‘no code’ platform provides a series of building blocks that can be rapidly assembled to create a complete website.

The Stockport-based company also has a team which can build the site on a client’s behalf and provide ongoing support. Shopblocks enables users to create a complete ecommerce ecosystem, with multiple linked accounts and different stores for different brands or locations, and create ‘white label’ sites for their resellers and dealers.

Shopblocks was founded by its CEO Kevin Jones who previously ran a digital agency. He was joined by former schoolfriend Stewart Reynolds, an experienced software sales executive, as Chief Commercial Officer. The company, which employs 35 staff, now has over 2,000 customers including Toshiba, Daisy Telecom and Tower Housewares, and annual recurring revenue of over £1m, in addition to project fees.

The latest funding brings the total raised to date to over £3.5m and will enable the business to immediately create ten new jobs, further enhance its platform and attract more large B2B-focused clients.

Stewart Reynolds, co-founder and CCO, said: “Around 40 per cent of brands with a B2B-focus have still not adopted ecommerce, largely because of the challenge of transferring their business model online. Many companies who come to us do so on the back of a two-year failed attempt to launch a store fit for their business. Shopblocks offers a solution. The funding will help us attract more ‘enterprise’ clients and support our goal to become a £50m turnover business.”

Robert Hornby of Mercia said: “Most ecommerce platforms are not tailored to the needs of companies operating in a complex stock environment. Shopblocks fills a gap in the market, as well as significantly reducing the time and cost of launching an ecommerce site. We believe there is huge potential for it to expand its client base and become a leader in the business-to-business market.”

Cllr David Molyneux, GMCA lead for Resources and Investment, said: “This investment will provide a welcome boost for Greater Manchester’s economy and create several high-quality, future-facing jobs. Shopblocks is a leading technology company in ecommerce, and another example of the strength of Greater Manchester’s digital sector.

“We want Greater Manchester businesses to thrive, so that residents have access to well-paid and secure jobs and our economy continues to grow. Our investments play an important part in supporting this growth.”

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.