TWO young entrepreneurs who first dipped their toe into the world of business whilst pupils at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys have announced the closure of a successful £1million funding round for their company Idea Drop.
Founded in March 2014 by Owen Hunnam and Charlie de Rusett, the technology firm – which is now based in Bermondsey – has clients which include Fortune 500 engineering companies, UK police forces and SMEs across 61 countries and 318 cities.
Their growth is set against a backdrop of increasing widespread interest in enterprise innovation management tools, open innovation and the crowdsourcing of ideas.
Money was raised from 34 investors, including the highly successful Scottish businessman Lord Smith of Kelvin who praised the ‘winning mix’ of a ‘proven team, compelling proposition and addressable market size’ when choosing to invest.
Lord Kelvin added: “I invested in Idea Drop for one main reason: I wholeheartedly believe that Idea Drop has a real opportunity to claim a slot as global leaders in the idea management software space.”
The fresh funding, which was publicly announced in January, will be used to further develop Idea Drop and increase sales worldwide.
With their first foray into the world of businesses involving the selling of anything mobile discos to sweets in the playground, the pair have an impressive record.
During their early twenties, they founded lifestyle magazine business Vine Publishing in Sevenoaks, leading Mr Hunnam to win young Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2013 KEiBA awards.
After selling the firm to Local World, a division of Trinity Mirror, they then proceeded to set up the creative agency Yellowball, in which both now retain a minority share.
It was from during their time running Yellowball that the pair came up with the idea for Idea Drop after discovering it was difficult to properly collate the ideas of their colleagues while finding existing products had a ‘clunky’ interface and opaque pricing models.
After securing £300,000 in seed capital, Mr Hunnam and Mr de Rusett built a quick prototype of Idea Drop and tested it at Yellowball, leading them to quickly realise its value.
“We rolled it out to our team as a simple tool to catch ideas and two weeks later we had 54 ideas, thanks to a cross-cultivation of different people’s thoughts,” said Mr Hunnam, who added they were able to implement most of the ideas quickly, which had a ‘positive’ impact on the firm.
Since selling the majority of their creative agency in February 2015, they have dedicated most of their time to running Idea Drop.
Mr Hunnam said: “We believe the global idea management space is significantly underserved and, remarkably, this tech sector along with the key leading vendors, have failed to innovate in recent years. We’re building a beautiful experience that is not only a joy to use but has meaningful and measurable return on investment for every organisation.
“This new funding will help us to bring the platform to more organisations”.
What is idea drop?
The main product from the company is a cloud-based software and a mobile app of the same name which is designed to help organisations and companies generate and capture new ideas.
In effect, the system allows staff members of any company to put forward suggestions and ideas which they feel will benefit the company, with the option of doing so anonymously, from any location.
Data on what is ‘trending’ can then be analysed, and suggestions which gain the most traction are automatically filtered to appear higher up the list of importance so that they can quickly be implemented.
A major client
Lear Corporation, global leaders in automotive seating and ranked 154 on Fortune 500, have used Idea Drop across their engineering teams globally since 2015.
“Idea Drop is intuitive, removes hierarchical barriers, and makes it faster to get help and support across the business. We’ll continue to deploy it globally over a larger number of colleagues. It’s a good fit for Lear and does exactly what we need it to do”, said Darren Legh, Director Global Lean Engineering, Lear Corporation.