Paper­clip given £500k by de­vel­op­ment bank

Western Mail - - BUSINESS IN WALES - Sion Barry Busi­ness ed­i­tor sion.barry@waleson­

Cardiff-based soft­ware firm Paper­clip has se­cured more than £500,000 in their lat­est fund­ing round.

The round was led by ex­ist­ing in­vestor the De­vel­op­ment Bank of Wales, with ad­di­tional fund­ing from a con­sor­tium of an­gels in­clud­ing GoCom­pare founder Hay­ley Par­sons and for­mer chief fi­nance of­fi­cer of the Fi­nan­cial Times Tim Ward, who was also part of the team that sold Friends Re­united to ITV in a deal worth £175m in 2005.

This is the third round of fund­ing Paper­clip has re­ceived from the de­vel­op­ment bank.

Founded by Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don grad­u­ates Rich Wool­ley and Alan Small, the Paper­clip plat­form al­lows users to buy, sell, swap and give away sec­ond-hand goods with nearby Paper­clip users.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the firm has a B2B propo­si­tion that is poised to dis­rupt the en­ter­prise mar­ket­place in­dus­try.

Paper­clip CEO Rich Wool­ley said: “Our mar­ket­place plat­form is grow­ing fast, with con­tin­ued user up­take and en­ter­prise part­ner re­leases dou­bling by the month, along­side a grow­ing pipe­line with some big names.

“2017 was a big year for Paper­clip – we grew from three of us work­ing in a flat to a team of 16. We moved to a fan­tas­tic of­fice in Cardiff city cen­tre and opened up an of­fice in the Czech Repub­lic.

“This lat­est round of fund­ing in­volved strength­en­ing our board with ex­pe­ri­enced founders, in­vestors, and vet­eran C-lev­els.

“We’re all ex­cited to make 2018 an­other record break­ing year at Paper­clip.”

The mar­ket­place has thou­sands of items and users added each week across the UK.

Ms Par­sons said: “When I met the Paper­clip team, I was im­pressed by their am­bi­tions for the busi­ness and in­stantly knew I wanted to in­vest in them – it’s dif­fi­cult not to get ex­cited by their en­ergy and pas­sion, but also the prod­uct was some­thing I was par­tic­u­larly drawn to.

“As well as build­ing a con­sumer­fac­ing mar­ket­place, I loved the idea that their plat­form could be adapted for busi­nesses and could help im­mensely with em­ployee en­gage­ment.

“The guys have some great de­vel­op­ments in the pipe­line and I’m ex­cited to be in­volved and pro­vide help or guid­ance wher­ever they need me.”

De­vel­op­ment Bank of Wales in­vest­ment ex­ec­u­tive Sarah Smith said: “The Paper­clip team have devel­oped a user-friendly piece of soft­ware which is gain­ing more users week by week, and with the ad­di­tion of new B2B mar­ket en­ter­prise propo­si­tion, there are ex­cit­ing times ahead.

“Their plans for the fu­ture are ex­cit­ing. This lat­est co-in­vest­ment also sees them gain sup­port from some of the in­dus­try’s lead­ing lights, who will fur­ther sup­port and ad­vise the team.”

Matthew Hor­wood

> From left, Hay­ley Par­sons, Alan Small, Richard Wool­ley and Sarah Smith

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