Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Fledgling internet firm bolstered by funding

A digital project on Teesside which aims to transform the way businesses market themselves on the internet has secured £500,000 in funding.

Middlesbrough-based ibod - or intelligent business on demand - provides free business search engines, social networking and advertising for charities, SMEs and corporate organisations.

The business has already created eight new jobs and is expected to add a further 20 staff in the coming year in the fields of sales and technology.

The venture has emerged from three years of research and development buoyed by £500,000 in financial backing and on target to generate £12m in turnover over the next four years.

ibod was the brainchild of marketing expert Kevin Robinson and IT specialist Haniff Din who have spent the last three years developing the technology with a team of experts.

According to its founders, the venture is already attracting global interest and could eventually become a rival to online empires such as Google, Yell and Yahoo.

Mr Robinson said: “We believe that this is the first British-led business search engine of its kind that supports and helps local small businesses and social enterprises.

“We have a passionate team of investors, who totally believe in developing ibod, and an incredibly committed team that is continually developing new products which are already attracting interest from around the world.

“Despite offers to re-locate to other areas ibod is and always will be a North East business which has the potential to create many new jobs for local people in the coming years.”

The £500,000 in financial backing it has received has come from several North East sources including Thornaby haulage business Scott Bros, Newcastle venture capitalist company NorthStar Equity Investors, Cal2 Fire and Security in Middlesbrough and Stockton-based commercial lawyers the Endeavour Partnership.

Digital Media Consulting in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool accountants and business advisors, Waltons Clark Whitehill, have also backed the firm.

ibod is a free service which allows businesses and charities to use internet marketing more effectively and more easily to build closer relationships with customers and develop their brand to attract new markets.

All users get their own free networking website which can be customised and used as a promotional and sales tool. Members will also benefit from forums where they can exchange ideas and contacts.

Revenue will be generated through advertising from larger businesses and offering cost effective web design and search engine optimisation services.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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