The money comes from Barclays’ £100m Fast Growth Tech Fund, announced on 1 May, and is earmarked for research and development and marketing. The deal marks the start of a new relationship between the bank and the London-headquartered print and design company.
The fund was established to help businesses with annual growth of 20% or more - a general rather than a hard-and-fast rule - funded by a known venture capitalist and with a £3m-£5m turnover, make the next move after the start-up phase. Access to debt finance at this stage of growth is much easier in the US but had previously been difficult for UK companies, according to Moo. Loans have a three-year repayment period.
Relationship director, Barclays’ Technology, Media and Telecoms team, Hemal Rawal, said Barclays was impressed by both Moo’s “absolutely fantastic technology” and its impressive management team.
“We’re looking for growth of at least a 20% per annum and they were shooting that out of the park. We think Moo is a market leader in what it does.”
Moo Print Limited, which trades as Moo and Moo.com recorded £28.9m sales in its last accounts. It has grown rapidly on the back on its patented Printfinity technology, which is able to reproduce a different image on every business card, and was developed in 2009 in response to the then large set-up costs necessary for variable data print. According to Moo, design is key. The company also offers square, mini and letterpress cards.
In 2012 it also trialled business cards with chips inside, similar to contactless payment cards. Founder and chief executive Richard Moross told PrintWeek at the time that NFC made paper smart. “It can link to a website, open a map showing the route from your current location to a restaurant, initiate a Skype call, or contain a coupon.” The cards are still under development.
Rawal said there was a rapidly expanding market for NFC technology.
“The brand is quite powerful, we thought we’d like to have their business cards too. This credit will help them grow. If we look at the forecasts, they could be at a couple of hundred million in a couple of years time. The market is huge. The directions it can go in are endless.”
Established in Shoreditch, London, in 2006 as a partnership with Flickr, Moo has already raised more than $5m in venture capital from the Accelerator Group, Index Ventures and Atlas Venture, the investors behind Skype, Betfair, Lovefilm, Asos and MySQL.
In 2012 Moo.com partnered with Facebook to launch a 'social business card' app that combines images from users' Facebook timeline with their favourite quotes to create personalised business cards.
It acquired US digital site Flavors.me in the same year.
A recent Barclays report found UK technology businesses are expected to grow four times faster than GDP in 2015.