A tech platform set to transform the way public sector organisations measure the impact of their spending has attracted £1.265m in its first funding round.
Belfast-headquartered Polyloop has completed one of the highest valuation seeds out of Northern Ireland in the last 12 months.
The funding round, which sees the business take on high-profile tech industry support, will enable co-founders Ralf Alwani and Jak Spencer to grow their workforce, develop more product features and expand into new markets.
The team of tech talent and former civil servants, based in Belfast and London, will now look to scale across the UK, Europe and US with the target of reaching £16m annual recurring revenue in three years.
Forbes 30 under 30 alumnus Ralf, and Jak – who has led major projects for Google, ITV, IKEA and Unilever – founded the business to enable public sector bodies to track the impact of their spending in real-time for social good.
Each year the UK Government spends around £432bn on major public projects. However, the National Audit Office reports that only about eight per cent of that money is robustly evaluated.
The business, launched through frustrations at the way impact was measured, has worked with government departments in the UK, EU and US on the launch of its minimum viable product and BETA testing.
Polyloop’s software tool has already started to influence how public bodies with a combined public spending budget of more than £1bn demonstrate and make better decisions.
Tracking the impact of cash in real-time enables organisations to further their real-world impact, better meet their targets and shape future funding decisions.
Chief Executive Ralf Alwani said there is real inconsistency in the way different government bodies evaluate respective projects, with much of the monitoring and measurement done through basic spreadsheets and PDF documents.
He said: “Building on our reputation of working internationally on creative interventions with public bodies, Polyloop will be global from the outset, looking to transform the way governments tackle projects and manage outcomes.
“Many civil servants work hard, day and night, to do great work. We want to highlight that and build up a picture through our tracking suite that allows them to make pivotal decisions in real-time based on data-driven evidence. Ultimately, this will allow our clients to refine and act on better-connected social impact projects from a local to global level.”
Dr Jak Spencer, Chief Impact Officer, said he and Ralf, who met at the Royal College of Art, were delighted with the fundraiser, which demonstrated the widespread belief that a tool like Polyloop is necessary in today’s climate.
He said: “To complete one of the highest seed funding rounds in Northern Ireland in the past 12 months is testament to the sheer potential of the Polyloop platform in transforming the way public sector bodies measure and report on spending.
“We will now look to grow our team, which will enable us to offer a wider range of features and expand into even more parts of the world.”
Early adopters include the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and NHS Automation Accelerator.
The round is made up of the first Creative UK investment in Northern Ireland, as well as angel investors from the UK and US, including the former group chief executive of Civica as well as seed investments from venture capitalists.
Wayne Story, former group chief executive of Civica, is among investors. He said: “Public sector organisations, from councils to the NHS and everything in between, face challenges in both tracking the money they spend and demonstrating its impact.
“Polyloop is an innovative way to solve those challenges. The commitment shown by the Polyloop team, in constantly investing in technology and the people they work with, makes me excited to see what we can achieve together.”
Gab Nardo, Investment Manager at Creative UK, said Polyloop was the first Northern Irish company to join its portfolio.
He said: “With this loan, we back the growth of a regional creative company, founded and run by a young and promising team, that is outrightly dedicated to creating positive social impact. We look forward to supporting them in their next phase of development.”
Investor Ed Vernon, a former advisor to Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers and a former Invest NI board member, added: “Polyloop is an amazing Northern Ireland technology story. Innovation in this region around public sector and impact reform is mandated by very challenging budgets, yet with a converse need to deliver more and better public services.
“In many ways Northern Ireland’s unique size has allowed for very rapid development of the Polyloop platform delivering as it does a solution to challenges faced in every region across the globe.”
Tremaine Noel, head of emerging technology at Northampton General Hospital Automation Accelerator, said: “We are thrilled to announce that our Automation Accelerator programme is now rolling out Polyloop to our clients. This cutting-edge technology will enable us to not only accurately measure the financial impact of our work, but also gain invaluable insights into the patient and staff experience.
“With Polyloop, we can transparently capture and analyse data like never before, and we’re excited to see the positive impact this will have on our clients and their stakeholders.”
For more information about Polyloop visit polyloop.io.