Orchid Software set to blossom with £600,000 investment

Gateshead-based intranet software provider Orchid Software has received an investment of £600,000 from the Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund

Neil Francis, Sukh Ryatt, Ajay Sood, David Thompson and Alex Buchan
Neil Francis, Sukh Ryatt, Ajay Sood, David Thompson and Alex Buchan

Intranet software provider Orchid Software has received an investment of £600,000 from the Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund to drive forward its ambitious growth plans.

Orchid Software was launched in 1994 by computer science graduate Ajay Sood, and the company’s Orchidnet intranet software originated as part of a development project for Vickers Defence Systems (now BAe).

The success of that project led Sood to realise the potential for Orchidnet and since then the product has been developed into a fully-featured suite of intranet applications used daily by over 100,000 people across more than 100 companies including Pizza Express, Ford Retail, Go Compare and Nissan.

The company has been entirely self-funded until now, but Sood approached Northstar Ventures for investment to accelerate growth plans.

“We approached Northstar Ventures as our plan is to expand the business and start a recruitment drive,” said Sood.

“Orchid Software is already a highly successful and profitable business, but we decided that venture capital funding was the best way to realise our growth strategy.”

Alex Buchan, investment manager at Northstar Ventures, said: “We are delighted to have invested in Orchid Software – it is a well-established business, with big ambitions to expand its already highly successful proposition. We are confident that it will bring about some great returns for the Accelerator Fund.”

As well as receiving investment, the company has increased its breadth of expertise by bringing on board two experienced non-executive directors, David Thompson and Neil Francis.

Thompson is well-known in the region as the previous owner of Newcastle Falcons, and he made his reputation in business as the founder of Druid Group, which he grew to £40m revenue, while Francis is the co-founder of Company Net, a highly successful business solutions software business.

“As a Geordie being invited to help Orchid Software, a North East firm, in its growth is extremely exciting. The software being developed is as exciting as anything I have seen in the last 10 years and focuses on areas of business where true cost savings can still be made,” said Thompson.

Francis added: “I am thrilled to be involved with Orchid Software. Ajay and the team have built a fantastic company, with some excellent products.”

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