/ News / Maven Capital Partners leads £4m funding round in Relative Insight

Language understanding company secures funding to further develop its platform and expand into USA

Maven Capital Partners (“Maven”), has led a £4 million investment in language understanding business, Relative Insight Ltd (“RI”). The transaction comprises a £3 million package from Maven’s VCTs alongside £1 million from NPIF – Maven Equity Finance, part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. The funding will support the company’s growth strategy as it expands into the USA and develops its technology platform to help companies drive business value from language data.

The RI platform is used by companies to gain significant business value from their language data assets. Most companies have considerable language data assets; surveys, reviews, CRM and social media all represent rich sources of business intelligence and advantage if analysed in the right way. Unstructured data such as language makes up 80% of annual data growth according to IDC – making it a critical business asset to be leveraged.

Companies such as R/GA, McCann, DFS, and John Lewis, use Relative Insight to understand language differences between key audiences. This intelligence is then applied in marketing optimisation, customer experience optimisation and employee engagement activities to improve business results.

Born out of a 10-year research project with Lancaster University’s linguistic and cyber security departments, RI originally designed its technology to support law enforcement agencies identify criminals masquerading as children in chat rooms. Today, they apply the same methods to help brands interact and communicate more effectively with their audiences, focusing on comparison of the way people speak to derive insights that fuel sharper strategy and smarter communication.

Relative Insight’s advanced linguistic analysis platform has been adopted by many leading advertising and marketing clients, both in UK and US, and has established an impressive blue-chip client base. The company is opening an office in New York to support those clients and grow the customer base as part of a major expansion programme as the company develops to keep up with demand.

Dave Furlong, Investment Director at Maven, said, “Relative Insight has developed an innovative, industry leading platform using cutting-edge linguistics analytics. It’s a fascinating sector and the team has a range of industry expertise able to support the company’s ambitious growth plans. Today’s transaction is a great example of Maven’s private client funds working alongside the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund to support a local business with a flexible funding package to enable it to grow globally. We look forward to working with Ben and the team as the business embarks on an exciting programme of growth.”

Ben Hookway, CEO at Relative Insight, added: “The support from Maven allows us to further accelerate the growth of Relative Insight. We have a world class language analysis development centre in Lancaster, which along with our office in London is bringing better and simpler language analysis to all kinds of businesses. Expanding into the USA is the next logical step for us.”

Grant Peggie, Director at British Business Bank, said: “NPIF continues to provide vital funding to Northern businesses across the region. We are pleased to continue this support and are pleased to work in partnership with Maven Capital and our other appointed fund managers to make a real impact on business communities, creating jobs and strengthening regional economies to unlock the North’s potential.”

Steve Fogg, Chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said: “This investment is a superb Lancashire example of a university spin out gaining market traction and creating jobs – the success of Relative Insight should encourage growing digital businesses in the county to access financial support for scale-up expansion. There is funding available for Lancashire SMEs needing funding to grow and they should contact NPIF.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

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