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£150,000 investment will help SETsquared company grow Twitter business

A company that helps businesses target potential customers on Twitter has received £150,000 of funding from Mercia Fund Management as a direct result of pitching at SETsquared’s investment showcase.

TorqBak, based at SETsquared’s innovation centre at the University of Surrey, says the vital funding will allow it to add new features to the online platform, including advanced reporting and analytics.

Torqbak is an online system that allows brands to find potential clients on Twitter based on the content of their tweets. Traditionally, companies would have to trawl through manual searches, reading individual updates to find their targets. However, Torqbak uses a mixture of Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology and Machine Learning Technology to automatically scan the entire Twittersphere for relevant profiles, based on their tweets.

The technology dramatically reduces the time brands and agencies need to spend scouring the net, creating an attractive product for social media savvy marketers and potentially saving them hundreds of man hours.

The start-up, founded only in September last year, has already worked with a number of big name clients, including Cancer Research and media giant, NBC Universal.

Torqbak founder, Nick Sharples, adds that the cash injection will allow the start-up to dramatically ramp up its sales campaign, targeting big name brands and agencies across a range of industry sectors.

He adds: “This funding will have a big impact on our rate of growth. Without it we would have had to slow our sales strategy down, hitting each sector sequentially. Now we can ramp that up and are looking to expand our team by up to 200% in the next few months.”

Torqbak is a part of SETsquared’s business incubator and was one of only a handful of businesses from its centres at Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey cherrypicked to pitch at its investment showcase in London last November.

It was at this event that Torqbak pitched to Mercia Fund Management, and instantly caught the venture capitalist firm’s eye.

Rob Johnson, Venture Partner at Mercia Fund Management, commented: “TorqBak’s innovative approach to engaging potential leads, combined with Nick Sharples’s experience in marketing for major global brands makes TorqBak an exciting addition to Mercia Fund Management’s digital portfolio. With £19 million under active management, TorqBak is one of our stable of scalable businesses receiving start-up and expansion capital.”

Sarah De’Lacy, SETsquared’s Surrey centre director, added: “Mercia Fund Management’s backing of Torqbak is further evidence that it has huge potential as a business. That’s why we brought it into our incubator and why we tipped it as one of our ‘cream of the crop’ businesses to pitch at our investor showcase.

“This deal has proven that our SETsquared investment showcase is mutually beneficial, both for our businesses and for our network of investors, and we are looking forward to holding another later this year.”

Find out more about SETsquared and Torqbak or watch video highlights from the investment showcase.

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