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Sheffield City Region

Case Study: Fluent Communication

Published: March 2013

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Left to right: Andrew Burton from Finance Yorkshire with Jonathan Edgeley, Chief Executive of Fluent Communication

The Company

Sheffield-based IT lead generation company, Fluent Communication, combines telemarketing, social media and digital marketing to generate new business opportunities for its clients in the IT/Technology sector.

Chief Executive, Jonathan Edgeley, started the company out of his mother-in-law’s dining room two years ago.

Jonathan said: “I have worked in IT sales for 20 years and have gained a substantial amount of knowledge during this time and I felt that would be better utilised generating new business opportunities for IT companies, so I decided to use my expertise to set up my own company.

“Initially I worked on it part-time on the phones, generating appointments, however it quickly grew which meant I needed to work on it full time, get an office and employ staff.”

The Challenge

Jonathan added: “At the start of 2012 the business relocated from our first office location in Killamarsh into offices in St James House in Sheffield city centre. We planned to be there for two years, but due to rapid expansion we have already outgrown it and require a larger space to house the growing team and so to assist with our rapid growth we turned to Finance Yorkshire for assistance.”

The Solution

Fluent Communication received £210,000 from Finance Yorkshire’s Equity Linked Fund to help to triple its workforce in the coming year. Finance Yorkshire was represented by Walker Morris of Leeds in the deal, while Keeble Hawson advised Fluent Communication.

The Investment Rationale

Andrew Burton, who heads up the Equity Linked Finance team said: “Fluent Communication is a young, innovative company that has already attracted several major clients in its first year of trading and is making a name for itself. 

“The IT sector is continually bringing out new products and services, while corporate clients are regularly replacing infrastructure to meet changing business practices.  Finance Yorkshire sees a healthy UK market for lead-generation services from big, multinational vendors and their channel partners as well as niche service providers. 

“We invested in the company as it has considerable potential to expand its client base, the numbers and types of services it offers and its geographic footprint.  

“Lead-generation businesses are sizeable employers and we’re pleased to invest in a young, ambitious Yorkshire company that’s planning to increase substantially the numbers of staff it recruits and trains, most of whom will be young people from the Sheffield city region.”

Future Expectations

Jonathan added: “We currently have 20 full-time staff who all intricately understand the IT market and how to generate new business opportunities for our clients.

“But we have a very aggressive growth plan ahead of us and so the funding from Finance Yorkshire will be used to recruit and train around 40 more full-time staff members in the next 12 months, which is exciting for us and for local people.

“The investment will also help to purchase office equipment, upgrade the company’s IT infrastructure, and support working capital and as part of the investment Paul Edgeley has been appointed as a Director and Chairman of Fluent. Paul was formerly the Managing Director of Lynx Technology which was acquired by BT in 2007.

“We currently have 40 clients nationwide and we aim to double this in the coming months.”

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Editors Notes…

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