James, CEO and Founder of award winning property technology business Alertacall, explains why he chose an investment partner that would stand by his business and allow it to develop.

Can you tell us a little bit about Alertacall and what it does?

Alertacall makes it easier for organisations like housing associations, local authorities, retirement village operators and other home builders to stay in regular contact with their older customers, and customers who may have higher needs. We make it easier for those customers to digitally self-service and have a process called OKEachDay that combines digital engagement and quality human contact - to ensure those kinds of people are never left without the help and support they need. Essentially, we allow those organisations to accelerate digital engagement, create a real anchor of connection to their own customers and do so in a way that always guarantees human contact for those who need it.

How did you go about financing a specialist proposition like Alertacall?

We operate in a sensitive space with well-respected organisations who want to work with established and financially stable businesses. Although we have been trading successfully for a long time - and have a great reputation - sales cycles are sometimes lengthy and complex. Having built a range of new products and services we also knew it would take some time for those to generate a return and penetrate the psyche of our potential buyers. That means we needed an investment partner that was in for the long run, and who would have faith in our vision over a longer time frame. We opted for a growth capital investment with Middleton Enterprises, a family office, that offers financial and strategic advice. They understood the ‘property management' space and were the right fit.

What convinced you to work with Middleton Enterprises?

Typically, private equity firms will look for an exit within a few years, but we're bringing something new to the market and we needed an investor that would allow us to develop at our own pace. It was clear from the start that they wanted us to succeed. They enjoy working alongside entrepreneurs and helping them to build profitable businesses. In fact, we've been working with them now for more than two years. They've never interfered with daily operations, allow us to pursue our own vision - but we do value their counsel and financial support. They're a true definition of ‘patient investor' and very founder friendly.

What financial advice would you give to other businesses?

It's important to work out what type of investment you need and what you want from an investor. If you're an established business looking to move forward, then growth capital provides you with the means to scale. Essentially, you should look for an investor that shares your ambitions rather than one that sees you and your company in purely financial terms. There is a socially responsible dimension to Alertacall, we improve contact for lots of older people - and strive to balance profit with purpose, it takes a particular kind of investor partner to understand that balance, and we found that in Middleton.

What's next for Alertacall?

It's a really important time for us. There's a lot of changes taking place in the social housing sector around digitisation, tenant engagement and tenant safety. We want to help our customers navigate those changes successfully and open new ways of working. Our products and solutions have already replaced the need for ‘hard wired warden call systems' in sheltered and supported housing and can also be used to properly engage with higher needs tenants in mainstream housing. That's a big opportunity, so we're sure to be extremely busy for a few years to come.

For more information visit Alertacall