Funding helps visual software’ company set sights on global expansion

Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager, Ian Atkinson with Colin Liversedge VR Software’s Chief Executive and Peter Beresford of Red Sky Corporate Finance

A software solutions provider that produces online visual tools for retailers is looking to expand its international reach even further thanks to a funding boost.

VR Software, based in Boroughbridge near York, provide software for retailers to help them plan, visualise and control stores from the comfort of their laptop and all in 3D.

The company looked to Finance Yorkshire for funding to help develop their market penetration in a competitive field which has already seen them gain market-leading status by working with big name brands including Macys, Adidas, Reebok and Hugo Boss.

Now, thanks to a business loan investment from Finance Yorkshire, the company, which announced 18 per cent year on year growth in 2010, is looking to continue to develop and expand.

Colin Liversedge, VR Software’s CEO and MD, said: “Actual mock shop facilities can cost retailers hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in terms of rent, maintenance and staff costs. Years ago, there were only two shopping seasons to worry about but now, with many seasons to look after to maximise profits, mocking up the look of a shop becomes even more time-consuming than in the past.

“Our software helps merchandisers put together a visual plan of the collection on their PC which shows the full range and can then be circulated to every store.”

The company has also ventured into the education field helping to sponsor the push for retail training through National Skills Academy, which is busy championing the Mary Portas master-classes through VR Software’s Skillsmart centres. The software is now installed in around 150 universities, colleges, schools and training centres across the UK to help train future visual retail merchandisers, as well as up to a further 100 throughout the world.

The software is currently delivered by 25 authorised distributors, providers and associates in more than 30 countries.

The funding from Finance Yorkshire will assist with the next stage of VR Software’s expansion which will focus on finding new distributors and approved agents to spread the word about the company’s visual planning and communication tools even further globally.

VR Software also has plans for additional products for the world market.

“We knew Finance Yorkshire had a strong focus on our region and are all about helping companies to grow,” said Colin.

“Having the backing from Finance Yorkshire has allowed us to keep building on our business model of creating and developing a trusted brand.

“It will allow us to continue reinvesting cash, develop our products and support our global growth.”

Finance Yorkshire Investment Manger Ian Atkinson said: “VR Software is just the sort of business our region needs – they have a vision, have developed a product designed to save time and money and are now the ‘go to’ software suppliers for major brands.

“As a result, they are a market-leading global software brand established right here in Yorkshire and we are delighted to be able to support such a shining example of home-grown innovation and enterprise.”

The deal was introduced to Finance Yorkshire by Peter Beresford of Red Sky Corporate Services who helped the company with their application.

Helping a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development, Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15million from Yorkshire Forward’s Single Programme, and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit or ring 0845 649 0000.

Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire