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Pair on board for Jumpstart expansion

JUMPSTART, the Edinburgh-based tax relief specialist, has made two strategic additions to its board and is eyeing two more as it looks to expand on the back of a £3.4 million investment from the Business Growth Fund (BGF).

BIG INVESTMENT: Jumpstart boss Brian Williamson, right, with Patrick Graham of BGF. Picture: Mike Wilkinson
BIG INVESTMENT: Jumpstart boss Brian Williamson, right, with Patrick Graham of BGF. Picture: Mike Wilkinson

The company, which helps businesses make claims for research and development (R&D) relief, has brought in marketing veteran Jim Faulds as chairman and David Evans as a non-executive director under plans to become the dominant player in the UK.

It is now seeking to complete its board with a finance and a sales and marketing director to help it meet the growing demand from current and potential clients.

BGF, whose investment in Jumpstart is its fifth in Scotland in the past three months, has taken a minority stake in the business and one of its senior investment managers, Patrick Graham, has joined the board. Jumpstart managing director Brian Williamson said the firm had become the leading player in Scotland without debt, but said investment was needed to extend that dominance around the UK.

He said: "To move from the level we are now - we want to be the de facto, standard for this type of work in the UK - you can't do that without doing something major. We are not just interested in the money - we would have had a very nice business with a good level of stability had we just stayed the way we were.

"We were looking not only to strengthen the management team, but the board.

"After the investment process, it doesn't necessarily force you, but it certainly makes you look long and hard about what you really need on your board.

"For us, we wanted to get the wisdom that came with the money."

Jumpstart appointed Mr Faulds, who built Faulds Group into the UK's largest marketing agency outside London, and Mr Evans, a former UK senior partner at Mazars, from a long list of candidates. Mr Williamson said they were chosen because of their affinity with his firm's corporate culture.

He said: "The synergy with how they fitted was really important. As one of them said, 'I've never been put through the mill as much as you guys have put me through'.

"But we wanted people who were desperate to come as much as we were desperate to get them."

Jumpstart was founded by Stuart Wyse, Don Galloway and Richard Edwards in Edinburgh in 2008, when they moved into a sector traditionally dominated by accountancy firms.

They took steps to stand apart from that competition by recruiting sector-specific analysts who have industry experience and postgraduate research qualifications.

Jumpstart's 50 full-time staff include chemists, engineers, physicists and software engineers, whose expertise in their respective sectors has led to significant claims for clients.

The business has more than 1100 claims live at any one time, with an order book currently worth more than £10m. Noting that there are 42 countries running similar legislation, Mr Williamson said the firm ultimately hopes to operate outside the UK, once its model is "repeatable and scalable".

He said persuading businesses to invest in R&D was key to the country's economic prospects, stating: "It pushes money into part of the economy that is the higher-value end.

"This money goes into companies that are at the edge of development, whether it's food and drink, engineering or software, that the Government wants to reward.

"It's getting money into the right element of the economy that gives you high-value jobs."

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