Strong 2020 growth for North East tech company

Newcastle-based SpecifiedBy continues to go from strength to strength

A Newcastle-based tech company that is leading a digital-first revolution for building product manufacturers, SpecifiedBy, has reported a solid performance in 2020 as it announces three new hires, continued growth in signups to its platform and plans to expand its services in 2021.

Providing specification-led marketing and data services to building product manufacturers, the SpecifiedBy platform offers a place for its 60,000+ registered architects and specifiers to find and research over 100,000 different products for any building, construction or refurb project.

While the pandemic has acted to accelerate the move online for many businesses in the sector, it has meant that SpecifiedBy’s platform has experienced a 125% year-on-year increase in manufacturers signing up to the site, with traffic also growing by 50%. To keep pace with the ongoing demand, SpecifiedBy is now bringing on three new hires to expand its sales team, taking the total headcount to 12.

Founder and CEO, Darren Lester, said: “We’re operating in an industry that, while arguably slow to start, has really accelerated its digital transformation, in particular in its sales and customer engagement process. Of course, the pandemic has forced the speed of this development to really take off over the last 12 months. As a result, we’ve experienced rising demand for the platform, and now we’ve added to our team to help keep up the momentum.”

With customers that include major product manufacturers such as Dyson, VELUX, AkzoNobel and Crown Paints, SpecifiedBy is one of the big success stories from Ignite, a North East-based accelerator programme supported by local investors, including Northstar Ventures.

Supporting the region’s most promising tech start-ups with the North East Innovation Fund, Northstar Ventures were an early provider of funding that has helped SpecifiedBy build its platform to become the largest network of architects, specifiers, manufacturers and building products in the UK today.

Richard Charnley, investment manager from Northstar, who spotted SpecifiedBy’s potential in the early days, said: “Launching this digital-first service in 2014, SpecifiedBy was an early and first-mover in the industry. It’s meant that they were perfectly placed to help manufacturers fast-track their digital marketing strategies to drive greater lead generation, especially as the first lockdowns hit. Starting with a great concept that challenged the old ways of doing things in a straightforward way, the real scalability of the business has come from the agile and responsive approach that Darren and his team have taken to helping users of the platform get the most out of it. It’s been a good year for growth, and the outlook for the year ahead is looking good too.”

On his plans to take SpecifiedBy’s success further in 2021, Darren Lester points to how the team has adopted an approach of taking their own lessons from working under COVID restrictions to apply them as new services that their customers can also benefit from: “2020 was nothing if not a transformative year. One of our biggest internal changes was the transition to become a fully remote-working company, but it’s taught us well in honing all of own digital approaches to discover greater benefits.

“Delivering more content online, for example, and adopting different methods to make it as useful and engaging as possible, has grown significantly in importance. We’re now working at offering more ways for product manufacturers to improve the delivery of their online content through the platform too, such as with CPD (Continuing Professional Development) programmes.”

“This digital-first and agile approach has brought us great success so far, and we intend to use it to keeping driving growth in 2021.”

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