A young entrepreneur from Gosforth, Newcastle, has ambitious plans for his fledgling start-up after securing more than £350,000 of investment.
Jonathan Grubin, 23, secured £150,000 from the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund, run by Northstar Ventures, as well as contributions from a number of angel investors.
His business, SoPost, works with major consumer brands to help them run product sampling campaigns via social media.
In doing so, it helps brands create advocates among their existing customer bases and creates a highly targeted channel for new customer acquisition.
The company currently has a team of five, split between its offices in Newcastle and London.
It has already worked with a number of leading FMCG brands including Britvic and Liz Earle Beauty Co. to help them get their products into the right hands.
Grubin launched his first business - a network of incentive websites - at the age of 14 while studying at Royal Grammar School.
In 2009, he moved to London for university, but dropped out after three months to focus full-time on his entrepreneurial ambitions.
Now, he splits his time between London - where SoPost’s commercial activity is based - and Newcastle, where he is aiming to build a strong team of developers and designers.
“I’m delighted to have secured the backing of Northstar Ventures, alongside some extraordinarily high calibre angel investors,” Grubin said.
“We’re already seeing strong traction and I’m incredibly excited about what this funding will allow us to do as we look to grow our team and customer-base over the coming months and years.
“Our development is based in Newcastle and I don’t think we’d be able to do what we’re doing if we decided to set up anywhere else.
“I’ve said before that I believe Newcastle is the best kept secret in tech and I’m so pleased that we’ve been able to secure a large chunk of this new investment from a fund that is based in the region.”
Investment manager at Northstar Ventures, Stephen Price, said: “SoPost has developed a beautifully simple and compelling proposition that rapidly delivers results for its clients.
“Prior to seeking investment the company was able to demonstrate market traction and its technical execution capability.
“This, combined with an outstanding young founder with a talented team around him, made for an attractive investment opportunity.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the SoPost team.”
The £15m Finance for Business Proof of Concept Fund is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.
It supports the early stages of business creation within the technology sector.
Although targeted at businesses located or with substantial operations in the North East, investment may also be available for those willing to relocate to the region.