“When Covid-19 struck last year, every business had to put its growth plans on hold, but we were determined to keep our team together so we would be ready to hit the ground running and capitalise on the rebound.” So says Dan McGuire, the founder and chief executive of cube19, which provides recruitment companies with a specialist data analytics platform that powers their growth.
A year later, cube19 is doing exactly that. The business has already made six new appointments to its 42-strong team this year, and now, a £1.75m term loan from BOOST&Co under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will help the firm to accelerate its growth. “The demand from customers is really strong – in the UK, but also in the US and Australia, where we are also active,” McGuire says.
Funding for recovery and data-driven growth
The London-based company has grown rapidly since its launch in 2012 and now works with more than 400 customers. Its software helps recruitment companies to put their data to work, with dashboards that provide critical insights into how the business is performing, as well as where its most attractive opportunities lie and how best to take advantage of them. Unlike many other firms that are active in data analytics, cube19 specialises in the recruitment sector, designing industry-specific software that can be quickly plugged into clients’ existing systems.
“We believe that a data culture is the foundation for elite performance in recruitment, but this is an industry that is only just beginning to get to grips with what data can help it to achieve,” McGuire says. “Recruitment is a people business, and combining data with the hard-wired motivation that recruiters have means that recruitment companies can grow faster and scale more efficiently with analytics.”
Using data to conquer the future, not rely on the past
Most recruitment companies already hold significant amounts of data in their businesses, McGuire explains, spanning everything from client needs to the details of potential candidates. But most of this information is locked up in manually updated records and Excel spreadsheets; inevitably, these only provide a view of the past. If recruitment companies can use their data to unlock actionable insights into what lies ahead, it will be possible to achieve a step-change in growth, he believes.
Ryan Sorby, BOOST&Co’s Manchester-based head of the north and Scotland, says that cube19, with a track record of rapid growth, strong cash generation and good profitability, is now in a position to drive home its advantages – particularly with new funding in place. “Before Covid-19, the business had scaled very quickly. Now, as the recovery begins, it is going through one of its strongest periods of winning new business,” he says.
“Our investment will help the company to develop its platform further and to continue to expand overseas, particularly in the US. Although the data analytics software space is competitive, cube19 is successful because it focuses solely on recruitment. The firm has an attractive product, but it has also tailored it extremely well to suit the verticals of the sector,” Sorby says.
Building partnerships with clients to help everyone scale
Critically, cube19 is able to scale alongside its customer base. Its software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering gives real-time access to its dashboards to everyone in the customer’s business. As customers grow, their use of the technology scales accordingly.
The company has also pursued a shrewd partnership approach. It works with the leading customer relationship management (CRM) software provider Bullhorn, enabling customers to embed its dashboards in their system. This integration ensures that cube19 captures as much data as possible about the customer’s operations and performance – and that users are able to exploit that data seamlessly.
“Our technology provides a complete view of the health of a company,” McGuire says. “It enables you to understand the areas in which you are operating effectively and efficiently, but also to identify the steps you can take to improve performance and grow more rapidly.”
Smart use of technology results in growth
This focus on value creation resonates strongly with cube19’s customers, who are bouncing back strongly in the wake of the pandemic: the firm’s data shows that permanent placements in the UK were up 28% month-on-month in February. Although many businesses suspended recruitment at the height of the crisis, hiring has now gathered pace, with economic recovery expected to be robust during 2021.
To take advantage, recruitment companies will need to be smart. Although the emphasis has historically been on increasing headcount in order to drive growth, the focus is increasingly shifting towards maximising productivity – and the actionable insights generated by cube19’s platform can play a crucial role in supporting this change.
Sorby believes the outlook for cube19 is exciting. “Despite everything that has happened over the past year, the team is launching new products and winning new clients,” he says. “This is an excellent example of a UK business developing innovative services that are being embraced in large markets around the world.”
BOOST&Co’s investment, then, came at just the right time. “We’re really enjoying our partnership with Ryan and the team at BOOST&CO. They are supportive, transparent and make quick decisions, so they’re very easy to work with,” McGuire says. “These funds will help us to accelerate our growth plans and hire more talent for our teams in the UK and the US.”