Female-led Scottish tech firm raises GBP1.2m to tackle global counterfeit goods trade

SnapDragon Monitoring, an online brand protection business, has raised GBP1.2 million in its latest funding round – bringing the total raised to just over GBP3 million – from ACF Investors, Mercia, and Scottish Enterprise, to help brand owners identify and remove fakes, copycats and online threats, using intellectual property to do so.

The funding will be used to develop the technology and AI/ML to further extend capabilities, to scale the infrastructure, and to continue to build the team to help an expanding base of global clients fight fakes and online threats. 

The funding is also a positive for female-led technology companies receiving investment, as according to Crunchbase figures, only 2.3 per cent of venture capital went to female-led start-ups in 2020. Interestingly, when female-led start-ups do get funded, they’re more likely to be successful - delivering more than twice as much revenue per dollar invested. 

With fake products contributing over 3.3 per cent to world trade each year, according to the OECD, SnapDragon Monitoring’s ‘Swoop’ platform searches for copies and counterfeits of products and brands, so that they can be removed from sale. Doing so protects revenues, reputations and, most importantly, the end consumer. Current clients include innovative US baby brand 4moms, Australian b.box, AG Barr, producers of the iconic IRN-BRU and Rubicon brands; UK-based Bondeye and global phenomenon StylPro. 

SnapDragon Monitoring – which has grown headcount by 25 per cent in the last 12 months to support a significantly expanded client portfolio - has also strengthened its board, with the hiring of Geraldine Kelly as Non-Executive Chair of the Board. Geraldine has previously held senior executive positions with Frame Technology (Adobe); Visio (Microsoft), Gartner Learning Group and Thomson Learning. Geraldine is a Chartered Director with the Institute of Directors and an experienced board chair. Angela Brown has also been appointed as Finance Director. A chartered accountant with over 20 years’ experience, Angela was most recently with Symphonic Software as it scaled to a USD$31m exit in 2020. 

Rachel Jones, Founder and Head Dragon, says: “Sometimes out of adversity comes opportunity, and SnapDragon is testament to that. We are helping brands to remove fakes from sale online: protecting revenues, reputations and, most importantly, the end consumer. What brands may not realise is that sales made from counterfeits fund organised crime, such as trafficking - and nobody wants a fake of their brand funding illicit trade. In identifying fakes online, and removing them from sale on the pertinent platforms, we prevent their visibility and subsequent purchase, export, import and distribution.

“We are delighted to welcome Geraldine and Angela to SnapDragon. We are pleased to have successfully raised additional funding to enable further business development and growth. We are female-led business, bucking the trend in terms of raising investment and being in the tech space – and delivering outstanding results to protect brands around the world. We are hugely proud of everything the team has achieved to date, not least preventing over GBP100m of fake goods being sold in the last 12 months, and look forward to future growth and success.”

Tim Mills, Managing Partner, ACF Investors, says: “SnapDragon Monitoring is tackling a global counterfeit problem head on by safeguarding and protecting brands of all sizes from online threats and infringements, and we are delighted to support the company through its next phase of growth. The company has also been able to capitalise on the thriving Scottish tech scene, with access to an international workforce shown in its rapidly growing team.” 

Tom Pellereau, one of SnapDragon’s current clients and Inventor and Founder of STYLIDEAS Ltd with Lord Sugar following 2011 BBC’s The Apprentice, comments: “SnapDragon Monitoring has removed over 6000 copycats of my award winning STYLPRO makeup brush cleaner from Amazon, eBay, Instagram and Alibaba. It’s a colossal number, and something we would never have been able to do on our own. Copycats appearing on Amazon are an unfortunate reality of modern commerce, as an inventor you want to spend your time creating new products not fighting the constant barrage of fakes. SnapDragon’s algorithms constantly scan the net, searching for new infringers and every week they send us a list of those they have scheduled to remove. It’s that simple. I recommend SnapDragon to any innovative business.”