Brixton-based event lead capture company Akkroo has closed a GBP1.75 million funding round led by Conviction Investment Partners (CIP), with participation from previous private investors.
In line with CIP’s ‘just in time’ capital funding model, this raise forms the first part of its Series A round and the business will have access to further capital of an equal or greater amount in 12 months’ time. The company will use the funds to increase its marketing activities and significantly expand its US operations.
Formally launched in 2013 as a spin-out from RMP Enterprise, Akkroo enables sales and marketing teams to transform the way they capture, process and evaluate leads from exhibiting at events. It already has a global customer base across a wide range of verticals, including the likes of IBM, Sony, Getinge AB and PayPal. Unlike other event technology providers, Akkroo provides a ‘horizontal’ solution, aimed specifically at the organisations exhibiting at events, rather than the event organisers themselves.
Akkroo allows event marketers to create powerful custom-built, fully branded data-gathering tools that function across iOS and Android mobile devices and tablets. With Akkroo-enabled devices, event teams on the trade show floor can capture detailed GDPR-compliant data from new leads in real-time, including business card transcription functionality and badge scanner integrations. The solution integrates with all major CRM and Marketing Automation platforms, allowing users to instantly and accurately transfer event qualified leads into existing sales and marketing workflows.
Akkroo solves a common pain point for enterprise businesses – how to ensure leads captured at events are recorded, qualified and processed efficiently, and how to prove the overall ROI of exhibiting, budget for which can often run into the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Using Akkroo means that companies have access to detailed data on both the value of exhibiting, and the performance of event teams on the ground. It also means companies can plan and allocate their upcoming event expenditure based on clear Akkroo data from past events.
With over USD500 billion spent on B2B events in 2017, the solution is primarily designed for industries where trade shows are an integral part of the sales process, and Akkroo has an exceptionally strong client base in the medical devices and life sciences industry. In many cases, Akkroo replaces entirely offline processes, with event leads traditionally captured by pen and paper on clipboards, or from business card ‘fishbowls’.
Akkroo was co-founded by Chris Wickson, an experienced entrepreneur who had previously co-founded RMP Enterprise, a company which creates digital and face-to-face solutions for businesses looking to attract graduate talent. Whilst growing RMP, and exhibiting at hundreds of student career fairs, Wickson began work on a simple mobile app to capture and accurately process the thousands of students he and his team had met. It wasn’t long before major enterprises, including IBM, were asking to licence the tool, and Akkroo was formally launched in 2013 as a platform available to new customers.
The company has been on a significant growth trajectory since then, more than doubling annual recurring revenue in the past two years and has recently moved to new headquarters in Brixton, south London to house its growing team. Akkroo has previously raised GBP150k in a small seed round in 2013, and GBP550k in a larger seed round in 2016. The business has been cash generative for a number of years.
Chris Wickson, co-founder and CEO of Akkroo, says: “This funding comes at a time of significant growth for Akkroo as we expand and develop our product in this emerging space, and seize the vast opportunities in both the European and US markets.”
‘’There is a huge disconnect between the manual, outdated activities that are used for lead capture when regularly exhibiting and an organisation’s existing, often sophisticated, sales and marketing systems. Businesses have long struggled with how to capture and process leads at events efficiently, follow up with those leads in a timely manner and ultimately evaluate the true ROI of exhibiting. What’s more, GDPR means that data collected and processed from events in a responsible manner is more important than ever.”
‘’Akkroo is at the forefront of bridging this disconnect, solving a significant challenge that impacts sales and marketing teams all over the world. Our solution not only enables teams to win more business from events but also provides intelligence that ensures they’re exhibiting at the right events, at the right time.”
This new funding round has been led by UK-based Conviction Investment Partners, an international syndicate of experienced HNWIs and Family offices that co-invest opportunistically in high growth, early stage tech businesses. CIP’s funding strategy differs from that of most VC funds. Rather than providing large blocks of expensive capital upfront, CIP funds modest amounts annually. This is known as ‘Just in Time’ capital funding (JIT), which has a number of significant advantages for both investors and portfolio companies, including less equity dilution for founders and existing investors. CIP has the ability to create unique secondary market opportunities in a highly illiquid VC sector.
Andrew Jenkins, Co-Founder of Conviction Investment Partners, says: “Since our initial investment in Akkroo a year ago we have witnessed it grow at impressive organic rates. As we learnt more about the market opportunity and implications of the new GDPR legislation we decided to elevate Akkroo to our Conviction portfolio company and become their lead financiers. The company is a true pioneer, solving a very real problem for businesses across the world. It has a significant opportunity to become the clear leader in this emerging space with very little competition, and we look forward to working with Chris and his team to support Akkroo’s rapid growth.”