Seedcorn Fund Case Study

Left to right: Finance Yorkshire Investment Director Ashwin Kumaraswamy and founder of Frillo​.co​.uk Gerard Toplass is a one stop shop for business supplies, founded in Hull by experienced technology entrepreneur Gerard Toplass.

The Company

Businesses are increasingly choosing to purchase essential office supplies online but it can be a frustrating experience.

Gerard Toplass explained: “It takes time to co-ordinate the purchasing of everyday office supplies across multiple websites as there’s still a lack of transparency about what is a good deal and what is not because the mark-ups on different items vary wildly.

“Our aim is to provide a one stop shop where businesses can purchase 99 per cent of their everyday requirements easily. Think Amazon, but for business – and at a cost that our customers know is good value.” prides itself on transparent prices and direct delivery. The site also acts as a marketplace where suppliers and manufacturers can reach new customers.

The Challenge

The digital industry moves quickly and required investment to develop the business model and bring in additional skills. It needed an investment partner that recognised and supported its entrepreneurial ambitions.

Finance Yorkshire Involvement

Finance Yorkshire provided Frillo with a £300,000 funding boost from its Seedcorn Fund. The funding was offered in exchange for a significant equity stake.

The Investment Rationale

Finance Yorkshire identified several strong characteristics in this business, including an experienced and innovative management team and a growing market for online purchasing.

Alex McWhirter, Chief Executive of Finance Yorkshire, said: “Frillo has a great business model, an experienced board and we believe a bright future.”

Future Expectations used the funding for further technical development along with sales and marketing upgrades. It is recruiting like-minded suppliers who see the potential in the innovative online supply and delivery business. After consolidating the offering, the business is aiming for sustained and controlled growth.

Note: this case study is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire

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