24 Jul 2019
Gateshead base business Wordnerds received £650,000 investment from the North East Innovation Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Northstar Ventures, as well as from angel investors Paul and Gerard Callaghan, founders of The Leighton Group, Kevin Beales, founder and CEO of Refract, and Maurice Whittle.
Wordnerds combines cutting-edge AI and advanced linguistics to train computers to understand the huge volume of unstructured text that is currently invisible to most companies. Wordnerds’ technology is designed to make sense of the millions of tweets, emails, web chats, online reviews, CRM-entries and survey results written about – and within – brands or their competitors, and helps companies to understand and act on this information. Watson Burton’s corporate team advised upon and negotiated the terms of the investment.
Pete Daykin, CEO of Wordnerds, said, “Wordnerds was happily trading, liquid and growing fast. The support we received – and continue to receive – from organisations like Sunderland Software City, Gateshead Council and Proto was pivotal both in developing a class product and in winning some big-ticket clients.
“But when customers started telling us that what we had was well ahead of our competition, we realised we didn’t have long to press home our advantage. To grow quickly we need two things: lots of cash and excellent people around us. People who know more about growing a software business.
“Northstar and Rick Charnley have been utterly unbelievable in helping us to access both. Not only have they shown faith in our ideas, capabilities and team, they have been open-minded, flexible and collegiate. It was they who suggested we include a few well-chosen angels in the round and who made significant sacrifices to ensure we were able to access the buy-in and expertise of some of the industry’s best and most experienced people.”
Rick Charnley, investment manager at Northstar Ventures said: “As a leading early stage investor, we look for ambition and innovation. The team at Wordnerds impressed us from our first conversation with them. They have all the building blocks in place: the right team, market, product, and they complement that with a level of ambition and passion that we are excited to support. We were also very pleased to welcome a strong group of angel investors to the round that add significant business model experience.”
Paul Callaghan added: “I decided to invest in Wordnerds for three reasons: this is an exciting new application of innovative technology that is set to be a market leader; the company has a strong and credible management team capable of growing the business; and the product has global market potential. Clearly this could be another North East England technology success story.”