Scottish entrepreneurs launch £1 million crowdfunding campaign

From left - Ashley Marron, Derek Jack, Donald Maciver

Four successful Scottish tech entrepreneurs have launched a £1 million crowdfunding drive on Crowdcube to scale up their online project management software business in the UK and US.

Barvas, the latest product from MindGenius, is set to launch commercially in October 2016 and its founders are offering 14.6 per cent equity in return for investment, which will enable the business to expand sales in the UK and US and hire additional staff.

The new venture was founded by Ashley Marron, Derek Jack, Donald Maciver, and Jamie Rorrison. Jack and Maciver are the brains behind the MindGenius suite of business productivity tools and Gael Ltd, which was sold for £20 million in 2015. Rorrison led development of a Skyscanner Vertical Business product that grew from annual sales of £420K to £6m within two years.

Named after a picturesque village on the Isle of Lewis that was once home to one of its founders, Barvas is an online project management platform that supports all stages of a project from front-end planning to task management. It will be offered on a monthly software-as-a-service pricing model.

Ashley Marron, CEO of MindGenius, says: “We chose to crowdfund MindGenius in a bid to find investors who not only provide financial support, but will also add to our database of customers and contribute to, and benefit from, the overall success of the business.

“Initial uptake of the beta programme has been promising with over 1,000 users, plus significant interest from users of MindGenius.

“We noticed that 35 per cent of MindGenius users were project managers and following active engagement with them we determined a need for a tailored, supportive platform that delivered an end-to-end project management solution.

“We want to ensure the viral impact of the product maintains momentum by driving investment into brand building and marketing in the UK and establishing a sales base in the US where we have identified a strong interest in this software.

The minimum investment is £10, which includes a free one-year subscription to the software worth £108. The other investment levels range from £150 up to £50,000, which comes complete with a lifetime subscription for a team of 5, and an expedition to the Isle of Lewis to explore the natural landscape that inspired the product name.

This is the first round of external funding for the company, which is expected to drive the business to a potential growth from £500K to £3.8 million in sales over the next three years.

Marron says: “An estimated 37 per cent of projects fail due to inaccurate requirements gathering and PwC reported 41 per cent of projects that fail are due to changes in scope mid-project. These statistics demonstrate the need for a platform that encourages a greater focus on the front-end planning of a project, to give projects the best chance of success.

“We have an existing sales channel of over 90,000 users within MindGenius. If we convert 2.5 per cent of our database alone, we will meet our initial projections, not to mention tapping into the 2 million project managers currently in the UK.”

The campaign can be found at www.crowdcube.com/mindgenius

Investments of this nature carry risks to your capital, please invest aware.