blur pulls in more consultancies to online market

21 October 2015

Online platform blur Group, which allows service buyers and service providers to find each other, is enjoying continued strong growth. In particular, the platform now boasts some of the largest consulting firms, with two of the Big Four using the platform, as well as large IT and strategy concerns. The latest consulting firm to join the platform is Mott MacDonald.

blur Group is an online platform that facilitates the purchase of services in a streamlined environment that is designed to reduce bureaucratic overheads. The platform allows users to replicate the RfP (Request for Proposal) process in an online environment. Users can create a project outline, providing details about what needs to be done and a budget for the work. blur then shortlists a number of candidate service providers that each make a pitch for the project. Users subsequently select the winning pitch and the blur platform facilitates the (legal) exchange and financial settlements between the parties. The whole services transaction can be done through online and mobile channels.

Online platform blur Group

The platform has in recent months grown rapidly. In the H1 2015 period, blur saw its Enterprise Buyers and Service Providers hit 65,000, a jump of 30% on 2014. Projects too continue to rise, up 20% over 2015 compared to 2014.

On the Enterprise Buyers side, big players like Unilever, Home Retail Group, and the University of Greenwich joined the platform. Further, big already existing players continue to return, contributing to a 75% increase in the proportion of repeat projects listed in H1 2015 on 2014. On the supplier side, growth to the service sees 700 new providers join the platform in the second quarter of 2015, including Ogilvy, Littler Mendelson, Five9, and UK engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald.

Deloitte + KMPG + Accenture + Capgemini + Oracle for ERP + Bain & Company + Mott MacDonald

With Mott MacDonald joining the platform, the number of large consulting firms offering their service through the online platform is now more than ten. Consulting providers include Big Four players like Deloitte and KMPG, as well as global IT consulting service providers like AccentureCapgemini Consulting, as well as Oracle for ERP advisory. Even strategy consulting firms such as Bain & Company have found their way to the marketplace as a way of seeking out potential new clients.

“The platform is attracting more enterprise level buyers and service providers than before. Whilst our transition to the Enterprise became more evident in 2014, we have seen increasing momentum in H1 2015 in both the USA and Europe,” explains Philip Letts, blur Group CEO. “Our platform is, more than ever, ready to service the business needs of the larger enterprise organisation. We are focused on our goal of having hundreds of large Enterprise customers broadly adopting the platform serviced by an increasing number of suppliers.”

Last week featured Comatch's successful first year. The German marketplace for management consultants completed over 40 projects, for a total project value of €17 million.

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Grant Thornton advises on deal for high-growth cloud hosting firm

08 April 2019

Grant Thornton’s North West Corporate Finance team has completed its first TMT deal of 2019. The professional services firm advised the shareholders of Hosted Desktop UK on their investment from specialist SME lender Beechbrook Capital.

Technological disruption and changing consumer behaviour have continued to affect top Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) players in recent years. The industry has seen revenues border on stagnation over the past decade, at 0.4% annual growth since 2008. While the industry is keen to develop new digital services and models to meet market challenges, they face a range of barriers – meaning the recruiting of talent specialising in innovative software and technology has become a key goal for the industry.

Amid this, Hosted Desktop UK (HDUK) provides cloud computing services to small and medium sized businesses across the UK. The firm’s cloud solutions provide businesses with IT reliability, flexibility, value for money and business continuity. As the firm bids to grow in the UK, with demand for its disruptive technologies high, HDUK has secured a key investment from specialist SME lender Beechbrook Capital.

Grant Thornton advises on deal for high-growth cloud hosting firm

The transaction was Beechbrook Capital’s maiden deal from its latest UK SME credit fund, which supports small and medium-sized businesses in the UK with EBITDA of £1 million and above. Manchester law firms Pannone Corporate (sell-side advice, led by Mark Winthorpe) and DWF LLP (buy-side advice, led by Jonathan Robinson) also advised on the deal, while Grant Thornton’s North West Corporate Finance team advised HDUK’s shareholders.

The deal represents the Grant Thornton branch’s first TMT deal of 2019, with a team comprised of Partner and Head of Corporate Finance Peter Terry, Manager Daniel Brecker and Assistant Manager Cariad Mudford advising HDUK shareholders on the investment. It is the third key deal in the TMT sector that the GT North team has advised on in the last 18 months, following the £16.5 million sale of Salford-based Sonassi to Iomart in December 2017 and NorthEdge Capital’s investment in Yorkshire company iPortalis in August 2018.

Grant Thornton’s Peter Terry said of the news, “As our domestic and working lives become ever-more technology dependent, it’s no surprise that there continues to be strong investor interest in any asset in the cloud computing, data infrastructure and connectivity space… We were pleased to work with Beechbrook Capital on the first deal in its new fund. It shows that despite the well-documented uncertainties in the economy there are still good funding options for dynamic SMEs and their management teams.”