Funding boost for Edinburgh’s on-screen entrepreneur

Published: 3 Sep 2014 05:30

AN Edinburgh-based entrepreneur who featured on last year’s BBC2 programme ‘The Entrepreneurs’ has landed a £160k investment from Equity Gap to grow her online booking start-up.

Leah Hutcheon, founder of Appointedd

Leah Hutcheon, founder of Appointedd

Leah Hutcheon, founder of Appointedd, whose software delivers a comprehensive set of services, such as online booking, customer relationship management and marketing, plans to use the cash to hire new staff, double the size of her team and drive a rapid growth strategy targeting new markets and territories.

She says that, until now, the market for business management software has centred on large enterprises but that recent technological advances and the maturing ‘software as a service’ model have made this available at a fraction of the cost and therefore more accessible to SMEs.

The boost comes as part of a joint investment deal between Equity Gap, a business angel syndicate actively investing and co-investing in early-stage Scottish-based companies, Apollo Informal Investment and the Scottish Investment Bank, which is the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

Hutcheon said: “They say ‘time is money’. Well, for any company whose business model depends on selling time, it really is. Our software means small businesses don’t waste time but manage it as you would any other resource.

“Most small businesses still use pen and paper to record appointments and staff rotas. By taking this process online we boost efficiencies and deliver savings.

“We feel really passionately about empowering people who sell their most valuable asset – time. There are lots of separate tools that help small businesses succeed, but until now there was no one package that could give a small service business all the functionality they need to run their business, all in one place. As a small business owner, I know how hard it can be managing lots of different packages and then all your bits of paper. Appointedd consolidates it all in one intuitive package.”

Initially developed for the health and beauty industry, Appointedd’s customer base has quickly diversified to include a broad range of service providers from physiotherapists to dog walkers, music teachers to PR consultants.

Its suite of tools allows small business owners to manage their business entirely online, replacing traditional pen and paper systems. For example, customers can book online on their own website or via Facebook and the company can use the software to manage staff rotas and send automated email and text marketing campaigns.

Speaking on behalf of his co-investors, Fraser Lusty, director of Equity Gap, said: “This collaborative investment is a great example of how Scotland’s vibrant angel community works together to support start-ups and grow enterprise in Scotland.

“Leah really understands her market and has a clear vision of where she wants to take her business. The software is easy to use and provides a service users want. We have been extremely impressed with Leah and believe that we can bring commercial perspective that will help her take her business forward to the next level.“

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