One-time Styles & Wood subsidiary, iSite (formerly StoreData) has been acquired by a London-based ERP vendor, 7FC, and relaunched.
The commercial real estate platform iSite, based in Nottingham, has been acquired by 7FC, a London-based digital transformation agency specialising in ERP systems (working with partners Microsoft and Oracle, among others). The move expands 7FC’s portfolio of software. It says (news release) it is aiming to become a leader in the future of property management technology.
Arfah Malik, a partner at 7FC with over a decade of experience working in property management, saw a demonstration of iSite while working with a multinational retailer: “When I saw the iSite demonstration, I realised it could do what it took four separate systems at that company to achieve – all in one platform. Its data model and security are the most advanced I’ve ever seen.”
“A fantastic product to acquire”
Carl Moore, managing partner at 7FC (and also the new iSite CEO), right, says:
“iSite has had over £18 million in development invested over the last 19 years, and you can see that in the codebase – it was a fantastic product to acquire. And it was already being used by some of the world’s biggest retail companies, which showed us the brand had stability. Now, with new management from 7FC, there’s the opportunity to expand beyond retail – into verticals like finance, healthcare, estate agents and hotels.”
As part of the acquisition, 7FC has coordinated a relaunch of the iSite brand, working to streamline the company and extend its product offering to a wider market. Capitalising on its history in the Nottingham area, 7FC says it has retained iSite’s long-standing software experts, bringing with them decades of combined experience using and optimising the platform. Matt Allen, solution engineer at iSite, says:
“We’re excited to see where the iSite platform goes under 7FC’s direction. There’s so much enthusiasm and investment behind the software, and 7FC’s investment means we can take that energy into brand new markets.”
The 7FC deal is the latest chapter in iSite’s 20-year history as an information technology provider in the construction and property sector. It was founded in Nottingham by Martin Ward in 2001 and operated for many years as a division of UK office and retail fit-out contractor Styles & Wood. Its customers included Nationwide Building Society and supermarket retailers Tesco, the Co-op and Morrison’s, among others, and until April 2010 (post), it traded as StoreData, hinting at its retail connections.
During the 2000s, StoreData was competing against a host of other UK collaboration technology vendors, building on a bespoke platform initially developed from the Union Square Workspace product. By 2006, its turnover had reached £1.594m (2007 post). This figure placed it some distance behind then Software-as-a-Service rivals such as BIW, 4Projects and Business Collaborator (all since acquired – BIW is now part of Oracle Aconex, 4Projects is now part of Trimble, and GroupBC was acquired by Bentley Systems in March 2020) but it was then ahead of Asite (today, the last major UK-based independent AEC SaaS collaboration vendor).
StoreData to iSite
However, the global financial crisis and the resulting recession in the late 2000s prompted something of a financial shake-up across the sector; in 2009 Storedata’s revenues were £1.222m (post), and it wasn’t until 2011 that the business now known as iSite surpassed the 2007 figure, reporting revenues of £1.46m (post). Revenue growth faltered again before growing to £1.84m in 2014, and the company looked on course to top £2m in 2015 when a change in parent Styles & Wood’s corporate reporting practices obscured its progress.
In the meantime, in 2012, iSite had launched a cloud-based facilities management solution branded as “The Hub”, launching an award-winning “Assetology” product campaign (post).
Towards the end of 2017, Styles & Wood was acquired by interiors firm Southerns Group, and it updated its corporate identity and website (post). Within a year both iSite and Styles & Wood has been moved into a larger property services group called Extentia, alongside a risk management software business, Arctick. However, in February 2020, Extentia placed Styles & Wood in administration, blaming cash flow issues that had become too difficult to sustain. And iSite and Arctick were then also placed into administration as part of the Extentia Group’s own collapse (see May 2020 updated EE post, New owners for iSite … then administration). 7FC then acquired the business from the administrators in December 2020, though it had by this time already lost Martin Ward (who, after a spell at UK contractor ISG, Extranet Evolution understands is now a strategic advisor to another software business targeting the construction sector).
Updated (8 February 2021) – Ward commented:
“It takes a huge amount of courage on all sides to recover a business out of administration and a credit to those at 7FC and iSite. iSite was created with a clear vision: to provide clients with the visibility of every aspect of property in one place – design, estates, development, change, maintenance etc – regardless of which industry silo it originated from. I am sure, given the post-COVID world and inevitable real estate shake up that will ensue, they will be well placed to prosper.”
Update (9 February 2021) – iSite (news release) is highlighting its product’s relaunch and says it will see iSite work with verticals like petrol forecourts, estate agents, healthcare, finance and hospitality. Carl Moore said:
“A product like iSite is essential for anyone managing multiple assets. But for compliance-heavy businesses, such as petrol forecourts, it’s even more important – and the relaunch is going to help companies like that solve challenges with compliance. Because it’s a different ball game when you’re filling petrol tankers up in forecourts, where you’ve got a lot of certification compliance to keep up with. That’s what iSite can do: it keeps your investment portfolio in check and makes sure you’re doing the planned maintenance your assets require.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the iSite team will also be looking at helping organisations free themselves from properties that are no longer performing. Partner Arfah Malik says:
“In retail right now, a business might have a large number of open leases, some of which are decades old. In a time when reducing losses is more important than ever, iSite will help you identify those inefficient assets and streamline your property portfolio.”
The relaunch comes alongside the release of iSite Lite, a scaled-back version of the full iSite platform, which is designed to make the software more accessible to growing businesses. The Lite platform will also be able to help struggling companies better manage their property portfolio in the aftermath of the pandemic.