Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has invested £2.5m to launch Propel by Deloitte (Propel), a cloud-based service that aims to help ambitious start-ups and SMEs to grow. Alongside a core accounting service, Propel provides customers with a bespoke dashboard that gives a real-time view of how their business is performing, from cash position to web traffic.
Customers receive a full bookkeeping and accounting service on a monthly subscription. The company’s data is then fed into a bespoke Propel dashboard to give a real-time view of their financial performance. The dashboard allows them to monitor key metrics such as business growth, gross profit and sales by day. It also analyses non-financial data gathered through apps, ranging from web traffic to top selling products, to generate a more accurate picture of business performance. For example, a restaurant chain owner can see how their sales have correlated to weather. The business can then use this information and the upcoming weather forecast to plan for the coming days, whether that means adjusting stock or expanding promotions
Paul Schofield, Deloitte Cambridge Senior Partner, said: “We’ve built this service to help start-ups and SMEs grow. It is designed to deliver insight and address some of the longstanding headaches entrepreneurs and their management teams can face. When developing Propel, we collaborated with our 20 pilot clients including some in the Cambridge area to understand what makes a difference to their businesses. As a result, we now offer additional business planning support to supplement the dashboard and core accounting service. For example, we can help with cashflow forecasting, creating budgets and attracting investment.”
Nimesh Thakrar is the co-founder of Banneya London, which uses 3D printing for bespoke fine jewellery and Propel’s first ever pilot client. Nimesh has now been using the service for nine months and in that time has raised significant angel investment backing.
Nimesh Thakrar said: “Like any busy entrepreneur, I used to spend a lot of my spare time desperately trying to keep on top of the company’s finances. As well as getting my accounts into shape, the bookkeeping service provided by Propel has given me my Sundays back. I need a robust and real-time accountancy service so I know exactly how much I can re-invest into growing my business at any one time.
Propel has given me invaluable advice, from introductions to potential investors to helping me identify and claim a tax rebate. The fact that Banneya London was working with Propel provided additional reassurance for investors.” Propel is funded by Deloitte’s Innovation Investments scheme, which encourages its entrepreneurial employees to turn start-up ideas into businesses. Paul Schofield added: “Propel is a great example of entrepreneurship in action. The Propel team has been put through its paces over the last 12 months. They’ve acted as a lean start-up to get the Propel business idea off the ground, including pitching for funding and working with a limited budget. To make the idea work, the team had to challenge the way we do things, incorporating automation into our everyday work. They are now exploring how we might implement robotics.”
Case study: Banneya London
Who is Nimesh Thakrar?
Nimesh Thakrar is co-founder and CEO of Banneya London. Following stints as an engineer for Honda’s Formula 1 team, Nimesh went on to meet his co-founder Misa Zahar during their MBA at London Business School. They recognised that luxury was being re-defined by technology and set about building Banneya London.
What does Banneya London do?
Banneya London’s platform enables fine jewellery designers and brands to offer customised pieces using virtual inventory and on-demand production enabled by 3D printing for precious metals. They solve major issues around manufacturing and stock, while also satisfying the luxury customer’s growing appetite for unique contemporary pieces that no one else owns.
How has Deloitte worked with them?
Banneya London won Deloitte’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Founders award in 2013 and has continued to receive support from the firm since. When the Propel team wanted to do some market research around how they could best serve ambitious start-ups, Nimesh was high on the list of contacts they wanted to speak to. He became Propel’s first pilot client back in September 2015 and has been using the service ever since. What’s been the success? The past four months have been a crucial time for Banneya London, and subscribing to the Propel service has enabled Nimesh to spend more time on growing his business and less time managing his books. During this time, Banneya London has raised significant angel investment backing and had one of its pieces featured at London Fashion Week. Propel has supported Banneya London’s growth through introductions to potential investors, as well as providing robust management reports and helping to identify and claim a tax rebate.
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