Borrower focus: makepositive

By Luke OMahony

RateSetter investors have now lent more than £400m to small and medium sized businesses across the UK. They’re a diverse bunch, ranging from fish and chip shops to manufacturing plants. Here we take a look at a tech business that used a RateSetter loan to fund its expansion.

makepositive specialises in helping firms to make better use of Salesforce, a cloud-based platform with products used by businesses for everything from managing lists of customers to highly sophisticated data analysis.

Business background

Salesforce has over 150,000 business customers and has made over 100 acquisitions since it launched in 1999, and makepositive has become the leading domestic implementation partner in the UK. In simple terms, that means that makepositive helps UK companies to get the most value out of Salesforce’s products – not only implementing them but also designing custom solutions to work around them and integrating them with other tools and programmes, and they’ve won a good deal of recognition from Salesforce itself: last year makepositive was the only European company to win a Salesforce Global Innovation Award. All this has translated into steady expansion and multi-million pound projects.

makepositive had already won contracts from firms like FT.com and American Express, and had ambitious plans for further growth. So, makepositive sought funding to get the extra firepower it needed: new sales staff and marketing initiatives to help it grow its customer base, and more developers and consultants to explore smarter ways for companies to use Salesforce.

How RateSetter investors helped

In total, makepositive raised £1m: £800k of this took the form of equity (shares in the business), and the remaining £200k was provided as a RateSetter loan.

“The RateSetter loan was great because it didn’t involve any further dilution of our equity”, explained Director Matt Cooksley. “We also liked it because it is very flexible in allowing us to pay off the loan early without penalty, should we wish to do so.”

The company has already expanded its workforce from 80 to 125 thanks to the money it raised, and is well-positioned for further growth:

“With our investment in R&D, we are hoping to build out our Intellectual Property to provide cost-effective and innovative solutions for our customers”, added Matt. “We will be re-investing constantly in that whole process to continue to expand our position in the market. We have plans to raise our staff headcount from 125 to 200 in the near future.”

“The whole process was smooth and efficient, but what was really special was the way RateSetter took the trouble to understand our business and its needs – something, I think, that came out of their due-diligence procedures. The resulting facility didn’t feel like a loan from, say, a bank, but more like an investment from a supportive partner.”