Mercia EIS Funds

Mercia Fund Management and the North East Technology Fund, managed by IP Group plc, co-invest in Newcastle-based SaaS start-up

Refract, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) start-up based in Newcastle, has received funding of £0.5m from Mercia Fund Management and the Finance For Business North East Technology Fund, managed by IP Group plc. This is one of a number of investments made in the North East of England by the Mercia Group.

Refract’s product is an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform that allows sales teams to receive live feedback on their work. It also empowers sales and customer service leaders to identify and remedy the most frequent mistakes and missed opportunities made by their teams.

By ‘tagging’ coachable moments of calls, emails or meetings, managers can skip between key moments when giving feedback or sharing praise, ideas or corrective feedback, and build libraries of “best practice” that can be used as learning tools by employees and new hires.

Leading organisations are currently embracing the “sales stack” software that can enhance sales performance in each part of the sales process. Refract is at the forefront of this revolution by helping to enhance coaching.

Refract is headed by a team with a strong record of building businesses within the SaaS market. Its CEO Kevin Beales was also CEO of The Test Factory, an online assessment platform which was sold to GL Education Group in 2014.

Alex Hoppenbrouwers, Investment Associate at Mercia, said: “Refract is a great example of the potential of early-stage businesses based in the North, and I am confident that they will build a product capable of being widely adopted as an essential tool for sales teams around the world.

“Refract reunites us with a team we have worked with before, culminating in a successful exit for all shareholders. Refract is already making impressive strides to positively disrupt its target markets and counts some impressive blue-chip customers. We believe Refract has a bright future.”

Kevin Beales, CEO and founder of Refract, said: “We learned a lot of invaluable lessons on building and scaling an SaaS business at The Test Factory. Now, with the support of our investors, we have an exciting opportunity to build a global SaaS leader.

“We are constantly told that sales coaching is broken – it’s the most important role of a manager yet they only spend a small fraction of their time doing it. We’re helping companies to solve this issue.”

The business was discovered by Mercia at FinanceCamp, a programme designed to bring together businesses with bright ideas in the North East of England with lenders who want to lend and businesses that want to invest.

Simon Green, Executive Director of Innovation SuperNetwork which delivers FinanceCamp, said: “It’s always great to hear success stories of the investor meetings we broker at FinanceCamp, especially as we gear up for our next event in the spring and can prove to other companies seeking investment just what can be achieved. We look forward to hearing more good news from Refract as this crucial investment makes an impact on the business.”