“ART’s remit is to support enterprise and be less risk averse than other lenders – they are looking for reasons to give you a loan rather than reasons not to. Job protection or creation is their priority.”
Having run several different businesses, Lee Parry has hit on a winning formula with his latest venture, Enigma Digital, which specialises in iPhone data recovery.
Prior to setting up Infinity Wireless, which subsequently changed its name to Enigma Digital, Lee was in business with a partner offering a wide range of products – Bluetooth technology, consumer electronics and software. The company had borrowed money from ART Business Loans, so when Lee wanted to buy his partner out, he turned again to ART.
“I have always been good at raising business funding from a variety of sources,” says Lee, “- banks, venture capitalists, grant funders. I came across ART, through networking, as part of the Birmingham finance scene. If you meet their criteria, they are pretty easy going. We paid off the first loan and they agreed to give me another loan, which helped me to get started in a new venture.”
Lee wanted Infinity Wireless to sell 3g and 4g dongles and found a manufacturer in China. But the manufacturer let him down. When faulty products damaged the company’s reputation, Lee was forced to think quickly about diversifying. He decided to transform his business into a software company, specialising in recovering data for consumers from their smart phones. This was an area in which he had some experience from his previous partnership.
“There are around 10 million people a month who are looking for a product to recover data,” Lee says, “and that’s only those who think to look. Many people think you have to be the FBI or the police to do it, but that’s not true! There must be around 20 billion devices that our software can recover data from – SD cards, phones, memory sticks, PCs, Macs, tablets, etc. When there is that much opportunity, you have to be laser-focused in your efforts.”
As Enigma Digital continues to grow, Lee’s ambition is for it to be acquired by a global corporate partner. “We have two venture capital investors,” he explains, “and they typically look for high growth and exit in around three years. We are currently valued at £2.5m and have 18 staff, but we anticipate that will rise to 44 within the next year. Traffic to our website is increasing and people are becoming more aware of the service we offer.”