A Scottish start-up which aims to streamline purchasing for the expanding care-home sector is preparing to expand south of the Border, after achieving its milestone of £1 million sales in its first 15 months.
The company's turnover target for its second full year of trading is in excess of £5m.
Glasgow-based The Service Directory (TSD), founded by entrepreneur Gary Maitles, 27, is challenging the dominant "purchasing groups" which currently procure goods and services for Scotland's 1200-plus registered care homes for the elderly.
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As well as competing for major contracts in England, the company plans to move into other business sectors, develop an e-commerce platform and commercialise its rich stock of "anonymised" data about purchasing patterns.
The company was launched in 2012 and was voted new business of the year at the 2013 Scottish Business Awards. Now seeking to expand from its current four employees, the firm has received mentoring in the Entrepreneurial Spark "hatchery" and last year received £30,000 from the Scottish Edge Fund, supported by the Scottish Government.
Maitles said: "I have a bee in my bonnet about the healthcare sector and care homes in particular. The pressures we put on them are getting unmanageable, with all the financial restraints and operational restraints are making it harder and harder for people to do their job.
"The idea of the business is very simple, based around our slogan 'More time to care'. We can have an impact through cutting down the time care homes spend purchasing services like cleaning, catering, plumbing and stationery. All the care homes really care about is getting these services at the right price and at the right quality. Our model allows us to offer better pricing and streamline this fundamentally flawed process."
Maitles said the company differentiated itself by offering customers 24-hour access to a comprehensive range of products or services, relieving them of contacts with suppliers.
He added: "We have invested heavily in software, and we capture the data of every order and every query. Customers can review what they are buying based on their purchasing patterns, which puts them in control."