Workhorse EIS

Rapidly growing, recurring-revenue business-critical SaaS solution provider to the SME market

Inefficient processes and inadequate systems mean small businesses waste up to 120 staff days a year. This loss of productivity costs the UK economy some £33.9 billion a year. 

Current solutions are either highly customisable but very expensive packages or affordable off-the-shelf solutions that don’t properly cater for the needs of small businesses. This has resulted in unmet demand in the SME market – estimated to be worth £1.8 billion in the UK alone.

Workhorse EIS – research report May 2021-border

Bespoke Business Software Ltd (trading as ”Workhorse” or “the Company”) was set up in 2017 to address this. It provides a business-critical SaaS solution that is specifically designed for SMEs and is both highly customisable and affordable. Clients report 70% more efficiency in order processing, a saving of many workdays.

Workhorse is an application partner of Xero – a leading accounting platform for SMEs. This means Xero's 2.45 million subscribers could potentially have access to Workhorse. 

To date, Workhorse has generated revenues of £0.7 million (132% CAGR over the past three years) and forecasts a further £0.5 million revenue in the next 12 months – not guaranteed.

Now to capitalise on its initial success and accelerate growth, Workhorse is raising £1 million under EIS in a round led by Wealth Club. £245k has already been committed from existing and new investors. 

Based on the Company’s forecasts, target mid-case return is 19x (IRR 81%), high case 29x(IRR 96%) after five years – high risk and not guaranteed.

Important: The information on this website is for experienced investors. It is not advice nor a research or personal recommendation to invest. If you’re unsure, please seek advice. Investments are for the long term. They are high risk and illiquid and can fall as well as rise in value, so you could get back less than you invest.

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The deal at a glance

Type Single company EIS private offer
Stage Early-stage scale-up
Date started trading 2017
Funding to date £0.7 million (excluding the current round)
Co-investors (new and existing) Private investors
Sector Technology
Fully diluted pre-money valuation £2.8 million
Market size $5 billion by 2026
Business model B2B
Revenue to date £0.7 million, £0.5 million forecast in next 12 months
Revenue model Recurring-revenue: SaaS sales of Order and Inventory Management software
Profitability forecast from* August 2023
Forecast revenue in year 5* £9.5 million
Forecast EBITDA in year 5* £0.7 million
Target return in year 5* 19x
Target IRR* 81% IRR
*These are forecast and not guaranteed. Capital is at risk – you could lose the amount you invest.

Highlights

  • Rapidly growing, capital-efficient B2B SaaS business with good visibility of future earnings
  • Unmet market need – no suitable systems specifically for SMEs currently available
  • Recurring revenues increased 132% per annum over the past 3 years – past performance is not a guide to the future
  • Growing contracted customer base of 59 SMEs across wide range of sectors
  • Large addressable market, growing over 5% p.a.
  • Impressive Board, with experience in private equity and scaling SaaS businesses 
  • Mid-case target return of 19x in year 5 (81% IRR), high case 29x (96% IRR) based on company forecasts – not guaranteed
  • Private single company investment with no diversification – high risk
  • Minimum investment £10,425 (500 shares at £20.85 per share)

The overview provided on this website is based on the information available in the Information Memorandum prepared by the Company and additional information provided by the Management upon request. Wealth Club has reviewed the information provided but not verified or audited it. Please read the offer documents carefully to form your own view and ensure you wholly understand the potential benefits and risks.

Workhorse EISWhat does Workhorse do?

Workhorse is a fast-growing EIS-qualifying provider of Order and Inventory Management software. The Company was founded in 2017 by CEO Alastair Badman, who previously spent ten years building bespoke applications for SMEs. Alastair observed a gap in the market to provide highly configurable yet affordable software for small scaling businesses.

Workhorse offers all the functionality SMEs need to manage purchasing, inventory, order fulfilment, billing, customer relationship management (CRM) and manufacturing. Importantly, Workhorse has built a proprietary Configurator tool, which makes onboarding simple and quick. On set up, the Configurator tool hides redundant functionality and allows customers to tailor forms and reports to their own requirements. 

The platform is integrated with leading cloud-based accounting platform Xero and over 40 commonly used e-commerce platforms. This enables Workhorse to seamlessly take up SMEs’ order and inventory management operations.

This short video gives an overview of what the Company offers – and how it has helped its clients. 

Video issued by Workhorse, July 2019.

How does the business make money? 

Workhorse sells B2B to SMEs on a SaaS basis. The primary target is small businesses with revenue between £200k and £10 million – giving a target addressable market of £1.8 billion in the UK alone.

Customers typically pay an onboarding fee of £1,995 plus a monthly subscription fee of £395.

There is the opportunity for upsell to larger clients and for additional customisation. Contracts are usually on a rolling monthly basis. The current retention rate is over 90%.

To date, Workhorse has generated revenue of £0.7 million. It forecasts revenue of £0.5 million in the next 12 months, increasing to £9.4 million in FY26 – high risk and not guaranteed. 

The Company’s next key milestone is to deliver £1+ million ARR, which should secure a good market foothold in the UK. The Company will then consider a second funding round, to take the business to its next stage in the UK and internationally, with a focus on the US.

Covid-19 and Brexit impact

The Company’s rate of growth was impacted during 2020 as some SMEs reduced or delayed investment in new software. However, the business has still achieved strong growth since the first lockdown. Management does not anticipate the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the business, as its software is designed to improve efficiency and save SMEs costs, including manpower, in the long run.

Management does not believe Brexit to be a material risk, as Workhorse’s primary market is in the UK, followed by potential expansion into the US in 2023.

EIS Private offer

Workhorse is raising £1 million under EIS, in a funding round led by Wealth Club. £245k has already been committed from existing and new investors.

The fully diluted pre-money valuation is £2.8 million. Investors will be subscribing for Ordinary Shares and will invest using a nominee structure provided by Wealth Club Asset Management Limited and Wealth Club Nominees Limited. Please refer to the IM for further details.

Based on the Company's forecasts, he target mid-case return is 19x (IRR 81%), high case 29x (IRR 96%) after five years  – after performance fees but before EIS tax relief. Please note, returns and timings are not guaranteed. 

The Company received EIS Advance Assurance from HMRC in June 2019 and most recently issued EIS certificates to investors in April 2021.

How is the funding going to be used?

Funding in this round will be deployed towards staffing, marketing for sales growth, and further improving the automation of the customer onboarding process.

Exit options

Management believes the most likely exit route for Workhorse could be through a trade sale to a large enterprise software business or a sale to private equity – not guaranteed.  

Management 

Founder and CEO Alastair Badman leads the executive team. Alastair began his career at Accenture, then spent ten years as an IT consultant building bespoke applications for SMEs. Alastair has built the Workhorse solution and team from scratch, and has overall responsibility for delivering the business plan – overseeing the sales and development teams.

CFO and Board Advisor Nick Southwell is a chartered accountant with over 30 years’ experience. Nick has worked for large international businesses, consulted for various FTSE 100 companies, and recently acted as CFO for two HG Capital businesses – including leading SaaS business Valueworks Ltd to an exit with Matthew Trimming. Nick is currently CFO at ActivPayroll, a fast-growing SaaS business backed by Tenzig Private Equity. 

Alastair is supported by an experienced management team, including Head of Client Delivery Sarah Brown and Head of Business Development Rachael Holmes. An experienced CTO will be appointed post the funding round, to support further platform development.

Board of directors

Non-executive Chairman Matthew Trimming has over 20 years’ private equity and software industry experience. Matthew was a former Director at software businesses Sopra and SAP, before joining HG Capital, one of Europe’s largest private equity firms focusing on SaaS businesses. While at HG, Matthew acted as Executive Chair of Valueworks Ltd, successfully restructuring the SaaS business, leading to an exit in 2017. Matthew acts as an advisor to the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury on digital and data strategy.

Non-executive Director Tom Morgan is a former Senior Partner at Accenture specialising in IT consulting. Tom spent five years at Dell EMC before joining IT consulting business Virtual Clarity as MD, which was acquired in 2019 by DXC. Tom is a significant shareholder in Workhorse, and has invested over £200k in the business to date.

Financials 

The Company is currently revenue generating. 

Management has prepared a detailed financial plan to FY24, with indicative projections to FY26. 

The number of customers is expected to approximately double each year, from 59 at present to 522 by FY24. Profitability is forecast from Q3 2023 onwards (with the exception of FY25 due to international expansion costs). This is not guaranteed.

The Company’s indicative projections to FY26 assume the Company will grow 100% per annum in FY25 and FY26. This growth plan assumes a further £4 million of funding will be raised at the end of FY24 to support expansion into the US and associated investment in marketing, systems and infrastructure. Please refer to the IM for details. 

Workhorse is currently loss-making with brought-forward losses of £0.7 million as at March 2021.

Risks – important 

This, like all investments available through Wealth Club, is only for experienced investors happy to make their own investment decisions without advice.

This investment is high risk so should only form part of a balanced portfolio and you should not invest money you cannot afford to lose. They also tend to be illiquid and hard to sell and value.

Before you invest, please carefully read the full investment pack – including the Information Memorandum which contains further details on the considerable risks, alongside the Wealth Club Risks and Commitments.

This is a single company offer with no diversification. It involves investing in an early-stage, loss-making business, which is by nature high risk and prone to failure. You could lose the amount you invest.

This funding round is conditional on a minimum of £800k being raised, with no share allotments taking place until this is achieved. Should this not be achieved, funds would be returned to investors. 

Wealth Club does not take a seat on the board so cannot influence the business the same way as is usually the case with institutional investors taking a full board position.

The value of tax benefits depends on circumstances and tax rules can change. 

An exit could take longer than the three-year minimum holding period.

Structure and fees

Investors will pay no direct initial or ongoing charges.

The Company will pay a fee of 5% of the funds raised to Wealth Club Limited for arranging the offer.

Wealth Club is entitled to a performance fee of 10% deducted from net proceeds, on returns on exit over 2x (before tax relief).

Wealth Club investors will invest using a nominee structure. This service is provided by Wealth Club’s subsidiary companies Wealth Club Asset Management Limited (authorised and regulated by the FCA) and Wealth Club Nominees Limited, and is governed by the Terms and Conditions of the Wealth Club Services. The Schedule of Charges details the fees paid by investors.

Wealth Club Nominees Ltd will be completing the share subscription documentation on investors' behalf. Wealth Club also charges the Company annual monitoring fees to prepare detailed trading updates for investors.

Our view

The management team of Workhorse understands first-hand the operational challenges facing SMEs. This experience, combined with the expertise of the board in scaling SaaS businesses, has created a capital efficient, rapidly growing SaaS business addressing an unserved market.

The Company has a growing and diverse customer base, and an attractive revenue model with an impressive customer retention rate of over 90%. This provides good visibility over future earnings.

The Company has demonstrated its highly configurable and customisable platform can win market share from competitors, and the roadmap to growth appears to be doing more of the same before expanding internationally. This is a competitive market with many private equity-backed and well-funded operators, so there are no guarantees of success – however, no operator is currently serving the needs of the SME market.

In our view, Workhorse appears to be a high-potential – albeit high-risk – opportunity with the benefits of EIS. If successful, this company could go a long way and provide attractive returns for investors happy to invest at this early stage, which is by nature high-risk and there are no guarantees. As always, experienced investors should form their own view. 

Register your interest – no obligation

Wealth Club aims to make it easier for experienced investors to find information on – and apply for – tax-efficient investments. You should base your investment decision on the provider's documents and ensure you have read and fully understand them before investing. This review is a marketing communication. It is not advice or a personal or research recommendation to buy the investment mentioned. It does not satisfy legal requirements promoting investment research independence and is thus not subject to prohibitions on dealing ahead of its dissemination.

The details

Type
Single company
Sector
Technology
Target return
19x (81% IRR)
Funds raised / sought
£510,000 / £1.0 million
Minimum investment
£10,425
Deadline
Allocation filling
Last updated: 19 May 2021

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