Investment for business growth: Cennox

Back in June 2012, ATM services business Cennox became the Business Growth Fund's 10th investment, at which point the company had already developed technology which was being used by the London cycle scheme to prevent card skimming.

When GrowthBusiness brought Cennox together with three other BGF portfolio companies for a roundtable discussion, we asked how the funds secured had helped with product development.

Clive Nation, founder and chief executive of Cennox, says, ‘In terms of where we have taken the business since investment, the funds have enabled us to do two things.

‘One is to look seriously at acquisitions, which we have been doing and has only been frustrated by not finding suitable targets. And two is being able to take advantage of acquiring stock around the world which we might not otherwise have taken a risk on sinking capital into.’

Nation says that, in days gone by before the BGF invested, certain deals would have slipped through their fingers as the company didn’t have the financial clout to take them on.

Founded by Nation back in 2004, Cennox provides services to the cash machine sector and has customers including Barclays, HSBC and Nationwide.

It has also developed a security device which tackles skimming from terminals. The technology works by being attached to ATMs and picks up on fraudulent activities, before reporting activity to the chosen financial institutions. ATM Parts’ system is used by Transport for London as part of its cycle hire scheme.

Partnering with the BGF, Nation says, has also given Cennox the confidence to do some restructuring of staff and ‘bite the bullet’ on some redundancies.

In terms of opening up into new markets, Nation adds, ‘We have a security product which we have developed for the banks and we’ve been spending a lot more on research and development to satisfy banks’ requirements.

‘We’ve now managed to get those in with Barclays and with most other banks in the test centres.’

Company profiles from our exclusive roundtable:

Securing new contracts has become easier since the BGF become involved, Nation says. ‘We leverage the fact that, technically speaking, the banks are part-owners in our business, so we do embellish that story a little when we are talking to our client banks.’

Cennox will now be looking to find suitable acquisition targets, especially in the US, so that it can begin to put to work the £3 million it received from the BGF.

This feature is part of a larger package looking at the Business Growth Fund’s active portfolio. See links above for more content.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.