We recently had a chat with Scott from Tower Leasing. Financing IT projects is something that more and more of our clients and prospects are asking us about prior to their new Business Central. Rather than investing in a project upfront, from a cash flow perspective, it is often easier to get sign-off and approval if the costs are spread over a longer period. Read on to learn more about a company that has provided finance to one of our clients.
What is the history behind Tower Leasing, when did it start and who were the founders?
Tower was started around 32 years ago by a guy called John Keevil. It was funding small assets at that point. As with any new business, the team was small. Interestingly, employee numbers 1 to 3 are still here 32 years on, which says a lot about the company. John sold the business around 8 years ago, and we are now run by a small family-run VC who are forward-thinking. Coupled with our lovely MD, Kerry Howells and the rest of the board, the business is well-positioned to keep on growing into 2022 and beyond.
How big is the team that you work with?
The business has around 60 employees, with plans for additional heads in 2022. I work in the sales team and currently we have 11 members. We are led by Julian Furne, our Sales Director, who has a CV of working at VARS, tech companies and funders.
What kind of organisations come to you directly?
Across the business we have various teams. The tech team that I work in covers many areas including comms, infrastructure, software as well as the professional services product that we work with TVision on, for financing IT projects such as a Business Central implementation. We have a big presence in other areas of asset finance, with catering, garage equipment, to name just a couple. The tech space is certainly an area that we are putting a lot of emphasis on, as well as anything to do with carbon reduction as our green credentials are important to us.
Can this funding be used for financing IT projects that aren’t a brand new ERP implementation?
Of course. We used to have a big presence in the software space, but with the bulk of the software authors offering their licences as a service or subscription now, the only thing we were really getting approached about in the software team is professional services. So, we decided to expand our capacity and create a product that would enable the authors and channel partners to offer their services as a monthly payment, spread over 24 to 36 months. Whilst the bulk of these deals are net new client deals, we do still write business for additional services for things like bespoke development, consultancy work, etc. Deals can range from £5K to £250K, so hopefully that accommodates most of the enquiries we receive.
Do you speak to a lot of Microsoft users?
The last 25 years of my professional life have been spent working for, and with, ERP software vendors and their channel partners. In the last few years I have had the best results from the Dynamics channel, and I’d say 50% of the business I write is from the Microsoft channel, so to cut a long story short, yes!
On average, how long does it take from first enquiry to money in the bank?
How long is a piece of string, i.e. it varies for each and every deal. Our deal sizes vary depending on the client, and size of the deal. That said, we’ve got £500K deals in and paid out within two weeks. It’s all dependent upon the speed at which all the parties work. Some clients need the contract run past their legal teams which can take some time, others simply sign and send back straight away. We do everything by Docusign now, so things move much faster when you aren’t wholly reliant on Royal Mail.
Can the process be entirely remote, or do you still meet people face to face?
We can do everything by email if we need to. That said, you can’t beat face to face. Microsoft Teams, as well as other video call technologies, have been fantastic in keeping in touch with people during the various lockdowns we’ve had. It’s amazing how many more meetings you can participate in, in a day! You do, however, get to know your client better when you have a physical meeting, and I find that things are actioned quicker after a face-to-face. In the last few weeks, I’ve seen a steady increase in my clients asking me to come to the office, rather than stick the headset on for a Teams call, so we are starting to see things moving back to the way they were. Although I do think the hybrid working model is something that all companies will be employing moving forwards.
If someone is interested in working with you, what should they do next?
To start with, speak with your TVision Technology contact. Here at Tower, we have a great relationship with you. And if you’ve come to me through TVision, then you’ve already made a great business decision about financing your IT project. They’ll provide the necessary information you need, and then we can do the rest.
What information does a prospective client need to pull together before they approach you?
All we really need to credit check a client is their full business name and an approximate value of what they’d like us to fund. To secure a facility, we do require a bit more information, although that really depends on what’s available in the public domain. We like to have financials no older than six months, and that’s really just a P&L and Balance sheet. Most well run companies keep a set of monthly management accounts, so it’s usually pretty straightforward.
We’d like to thank Scott for this valuable insight. If you’d like to learn more either about financing IT projects, or other upcoming projects at your organisation – do get in touch.