London-based SaaS eyes global expansion and product enhancement, as demand for idea management set to reach £1.17bn by 2022
Idea management firm Wazoku has announced that it has raised £2.5M, led by Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trust (VCT) specialist, Calculus Capital and backed by existing investors. With the funding, Wazoku intends to continue its recent global expansion, further refine and improve its technology and to make good on its core objective, to ‘change the world one idea at a time’.
The past 12 months has seen Wazoku add major new customers all over the world, including a significant win in late 2018 to supply its services to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Wazoku also achieved more than 50% year-on-year revenue growth last financial year. Tech Nation named Wazoku one of the UK’s 30 leading tech scaleups in Upscale 4.0.
This latest investment, which brings the total amount raised by Wazoku to £6.1M, is both a recognition of that growth, and also the increasing size and potential of the global idea management market. Recent Markets and Markets research has forecast that to reach £1.17bn in 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 29.2%.
“It really feels like the time is now for idea management and we want to be the company leading the market as it grows, matures and becomes even more mainstream,” said Simon Hill, CEO, Wazoku. “All organisations need to innovate, solve problems and generate new ideas to meet their objectives. Engaging with, and crowdsourcing ideas from different groups provides an exciting opportunity to radically rethink the way organisations collaborate and innovate.”
“The funding from Calculus will enable Wazoku to further expand our reach by investing to strengthen our sales and marketing capability. It will also allow us to continue to deliver a market leading product through further investment in product development and data science capability.”
Alexander Crawford, Co-Head of New Investments at Calculus Capital, said: “Innovation starts with an idea to solve a problem or improve a process. These ideas need to be captured, collated, analysed and successfully implemented. Wazoku helps organisations do this very effectively, transforming raw ideas into actionable innovation.”
“The company is a leader in a high-growth business area and already has an impressive roster of clients. Our investment will help them move into the next stage of their growth story.”
Wazoku’s core platform, Idea Spotlight, is used by businesses such as John Lewis & Partners, HSBC and Aviva, to uncover opportunities, highlight areas for business improvement and drive significant savings or boost revenues. It is used to capture, evaluate, improve and implement ideas from across any audience, whether that’s employees, customers, partners, the general public or another group of stakeholders altogether, to embed innovation led change or transformation as a core, strategic, everyday capability.
Hill commented: “The past 12 months have been a period of sustained and strong growth for Wazoku and I am hugely optimistic about this next phase for the business. Our market is showing strong growth globally and Wazoku is growing even faster. We have continued to deliver against our global ambitions with key client wins across Europe, APAC, North America, LatAm and Africa. I am particularly excited by our expansion into Germany and the Nordics, where we have signed a number of key strategic partnerships and are already starting to see strong growth.”
In 2018, Wazoku signed a strategic reseller agreement with Sopra Steria ISS in Germany, who delivered Die Alter Leipziger, one of the oldest insurance companies in Germany, as a new Wazoku client in 2018 and have a very strong pipeline of opportunity for the rest of 2019.
As an innovation company, Wazoku continues to invest significantly in R&D, to ensure product development continues to drive the market forward and maintain product differentiation for Wazoku’s core product, Idea Spotlight. In 2018, Wazoku launched Spotlight.AI, which is based on proprietary Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing, to connect people, ideas and problems. Spotlight.AI achieves this by highlighting key relationships between content, promoting transparency, engagement and visibility.
The success of the product continues to be evidenced through its long-standing and broad reaching customer roster, noteworthy successes include:
• Sopra Steria Connected Limited (SSCL)
o Thanks to its work with Wazoku SSCL was awarded ‘Best Business Transformation Strategy’ at the Engage Awards 2018 and the ‘People and Organisation’ category at Ideas UK ‘Idea of the Year’ competition. The firm has engaged more than 67% of its workforce in its ideas scheme and generated 400% ROI in its first year alone.
• Direct Line Group
o 2018 saw Direct Line Group recognised as a leader in garnering employee ideas, being awarded ‘Best Use of Innovation in Employee Engagement at the 2018 Engage Awards.
o Direct Line’s Idea Lab has now engaged more 11,000 staff and generated Direct Line Group £3.5 million in savings, making it one of Wazoku’s most successful customers.
o In early 2019 the supermarket chain renewed its contract with Wazoku, expanding its use within 350 stores to run a number of focused campaigns in areas such as IT. Since 2015, Waitrose has engaged more than 60,000 employees in its Partner Ideas scheme and driven £millions of benefit to the business.