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Sheffield software firm to revolutionise commercial market

Published: 22nd October 2008

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Chris Fitzsimmons from South Yorkshire Investment Fund with James Oladujoye and Zaffar Iqbal from GWD Media.

A Sheffield developer of bespoke software is breaking boundaries in modern technology to revolutionise commercial activity.

GWD Media, on Leeds Road, has expanded into three key sectors and increased staff numbers to more than 20 after receiving investments totalling £500,000 from South Yorkshire Investment Fund (SYIF).

GWD Media, who won the Creative and Digital Industries Innovation accolade at the 2007 Sheffield Business Awards, is advancing from its origins in the development of internet kiosks to the creation of management software for public orientated technology.

This includes vending machines management software, providing businesses with the right tools to assess whether all its machines across the country are working properly and are sufficiently stocked without having to send an engineer out.

Additional areas of expansion for GWD Media include the creation of software for specialist kiosks offering digital photo prints and music downloads, exporting kiosk software abroad via the internet and expanding the vending machine management system abroad, initially into Germany.

GWD Media is also starting a new project, working to create digital screens for public transport services, providing passengers with information and advertising to fit in with their time of travel and exact location.

With the move into new fields, GWD have added six new employees in recent months to keep pace with the development. New software and hardware engineers, product managers and customer service advisors have all joined to meet the next stage of planned growth.

James Oladujoye, chief executive of GWD Media Ltd, said: “The funding from SYIF has enabled us to not only add more employees, but create new areas of business, including the vending management software.

“The expansion into the vending machine market enables us to use our technology in different sectors. We realised that new products would be needed if the company were to continue to grow and that extra staff were required to facilitate this.

“If a company has 10,000 vending machines in one city alone, this software will enable them to provide a more efficient and cost effective way of maintaining the equipment.

“This may lead to the expansion of their services and meets the needs of an audience who like buying things quickly and easily.

“We are seeing more vending machines offering better quality food and drinks, which are becoming on par with shops and coffee bars on the high street. Also, the machines are moving into other areas such as selling iPods and cosmetics.

“It has been a challenge using modern software in what is a traditional service, with many vending machines developed decades ago. But we are helping to bring an old industry up to date.”

Chris Fitzsimmons, investment manager for South Yorkshire Investment Fund, added: “GWD Media has constantly adapted itself and broken into new areas of business by using new technology and the expertise of its employees.

“The SYIF investment alongside funding from the Yorkshire and Humber Equity Fund will help them continue these developments and help them achieve the next stage of growth.”

SYIF can provide seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

For more information about South Yorkshire Investment Fund, please visit www.syif.com or ring 01709 386377.

For more information on GWD Media please visit www.gwdmedia.com or call 0114 251 8900.

Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).