Ipswich-based Inn Style raises £150k through crowdfunding

The team at online booking system firm Inn Style.

The team at online booking system firm Inn Style. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk-based online booking system firm Inn Style has raised £150,000 from investors in its first external funding attempt.

The Ipswich company, which provides a bookings system for hotliers, camping sites and bed and breakfast businesses, used the crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom to seek equity investment and achieved its target well inside the two-week deadline.

The lead investors were Mark Aldridge, chief executive of Better Capital, and Henry Catchpole, who ran Suffolk Life for 13 years before its sale to Legal and General for £68million and now runs Inform Direct.

Adrian Melrose, chief executive and co-founder of Inn Style, said: “We were, and are, incredibly fortunate to have Mark and Henry as our lead investors. We are incredibly grateful for their unwavering belief in Inn Style.

“Going live on SyndicateRoom with a two-week funding window felt ambitious so we are delighted to have closed with a full week to spare.

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“It has been extremely useful way of introducing many seasoned Investors who have now taken a meaningful stake in Inn Style.

“Fundraising for a travel tech startup is inevitably a time consuming process and closing quickly means we can now concentrate on building value.”

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Inn Style launched in May 2014, pitching itself as a “blissfully simple” alternative for smaller accommodation owners wanting to take online bookings.

The company saw explosive growth in last quarter after The Pop Up Hotel, an ultra-chic glamping experience found at Glastonbury and other notable events, used Inn Style to sell £100,000 of availability in just a few hours.

Mr Melrose, who will also fulfill the role of finance director, is a Deloitte chartered accountant and exited his first technology start-up in 2003 to Dow Jones Reuters.

He said: “At Inn Style we have a small but incredibly focused team who will deliver a valuable feature-set that our global customers are telling us they need.”

Chris Waters, co-founder and head of product, added: “To have our idea validated by the startup and crowd-funding communities on the very same day was brilliant for us.

“But also for Suffolk, the county in which we live. This proves you don’t have to be in London to get noticed by international investors.

“The quality of investors SyndicateRoom has brought to Inn Style has been remarkable. We’ve had phone calls and emails from people who are thrilled to be joining us on our journey, and that positivity is priceless in creating a sense of momentum.”

Inn Style plans to use the bulk of the £150,000 investment to pay salaries and third-party technical teams, as well as fund product development and user acquisition.

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