News in brief: finance; Google; Black Friday

News in brief
News in brief

Ski-wear manufacturer reports crowdfunding success

Ski company Faction has reported that its Crowdcube campaign raised £369,000 in three days. The offering allows fans to invest alongside angel and venture capital (VC) backers for as little as £50. The £500,000 they aim to raise will fund expansion into growing markets, including Asia, which hosts the next two winter Olympics and the $4.5 billion North American market.

Backed until now by founders, angel investors and London VC Octopus Ventures, Faction is on track for £2.7 million in turnover this season, selling to fans worldwide through 300 retailers in 25 countries. The company uses innovative materials from carbon to recycled PET and has won more than 50 awards including Skiing Magazine’s ‘Ski of the Year’.

Amicus Finance announces new business dedicated to SMEs

Specialist lender Amicus Finance is to launch a new commercial finance business dedicated to serving the small business and professional services communities. Amicus Commercial Finance will be led by two highly experienced market specialists, John Wilde and David Hogg, who built SME Invoice Finance Limited (SMEIF) from start-up in 2000 to a national firm employing 80 staff, serving a 600-strong customer base and generating annual revenues of £12m at the time of its sale to Metro Bank in July 2013.

Amicus Commercial Finance will provide a revolving working capital facility powered by a proprietary funding platform, which utilises smart technology and real-time data connectivity. The new business will focus on providing relationship-based, intelligent cash flow to owner-managed businesses with annual sales of between £0.5m and £5m. The firm plans to begin operating in January 2016.

The pace of digital disruption leaves SMEs worried about their future

The pace of digital disruption has left 50% of British businesses and public sector organisations fearful or worried that their organisations will not be able to keep up with what is still to come over the next five years, according to YouGov research for Vodafone UK. This potentially means that millions of businesses are in danger of being left behind.

"Digital technology has already broken down the old, familiar business models but the effect it will have on the future of organisations' operations remains significant. Britain's business leaders are rightly concerned about keeping up," said enterprise director of Vodafone UK Phil Mottram.

Google launches new site to help SMEs make the most of Black Friday

Google has revealed data to show that for small businesses to win against big retail on Black Friday, it is crucial they adjust to the mobile web quickly. Last year, close to 30% of retail revenue was driven by mobile, and since only a minority of small businesses are mobile-ready, they could miss out on more than £300 million in mobile revenue on Friday 27th November.

While the big retailers typically dominate Black Friday sales, Google wants to help small businesses get a slice of the profits through its newly launched Digital Garage website. With free advice on a range of topics including improving search campaigns, or how to best use the mobile web to reach a growing base of smartphone users, SMEs can thrive during this annual shopping extravaganza.