A Lancaster University spin-out whose customers include Disney and Unilever has secured backing from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).
Maven Capital Partners has invested into Lancaster-based Relative Insight on behalf of the fund. Maven was appointed earlier this year to manage the £57.5m NPIF – Maven Equity Finance fund, which focuses on providing flexible equity funding to high-potential small- and medium-sized enterprises primarily based in the North West.
Relative Insight was born out of a ten-year research project with Lancaster University’s linguistic and cyber security departments.
In the beginning, the company used its language analysis technology to help law enforcement agencies identify criminals masquerading as children in chat rooms. Today, it applies the same methods to help brands interact and communicate more effectively with their audiences, focusing on comparing the way people speak to derive insights that fuel sharper strategy and smarter communication.
The company’s current client base includes Disney, Unilever, Havas and R/GA.
Ben Hookway, chief executive at Relative Insight, said: “The investment from Maven will allow us to ramp up our customer-facing operations, accelerate development, and capitalise on the proliferating opportunities in the UK and, increasingly, the USA. Having customers like Unilever and Disney proves that we have a valuable solution and the investment will allow us to scale to new customers.”
Martin Clark, investment manager at Maven, said: “Maven is very pleased to have secured this investment into Relative Insight and look forward to working with the talented management team, helping them achieve their ambitious growth plans. Relative Insight epitomises the kind of early-stage growth business that the equity finance part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is designed to assist.”
The NPIF project is supported financially by the EU using funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.