A global on-demand salesforce service has raised $10m in venture capital to disrupt the way business grow. Universal Avenue connects growing businesses with freelancers, known as Brand Ambassadors, to drive sales and customer acquisition, in a model that introduces work to the on-demand economy.
In a recent survey, 55% of respondents said it had never been more difficult to grow a small business in the UK - with red tape, lack of bank lending and costs of running a business coming highest on the list of barriers. The Universal Avenue model helps minimise these roadblocks, allowing businesses with high growth potential to test new markets, expand and scale without the additional resource and risks of taking on more sales staff.
“We are packaging a service that fits companies with ambitious sales and expansion targets, along with the need to manage overhead costs and keep risk at bay,” said Universal Avenue’s co-founder and CEO, Johan Lilja. “The team and I are delighted to see a continuous stream of leading global brands trusting and joining our platform.”
With operations in the UK, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Norway and Finland, the Universal Avenue model has already provided popular and beneficial to a series of brands. These range from global giants such as Spotify Business, to smart local businesses like DripApp, which allows Londoners to prepay for coffee at the city’s best independent coffee shops. Jeremy Cortial, the co-founder of DripApp explains how Universal Avenue has helped them maintain high levels of growth:
“As a fast growing startup, we really wanted to focus resource internally on building a great product, so working with Universal Avenue to outsource our sales helped us to scale up early customers within the London area, specifically coffee houses. The feedback we get from the on the ground Brand Ambassadors has helped us to adapt our training material and understand our customers better.”
Universal Avenue’s Series A round was led by Eight Roads, the proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International, with participation from existing investors Northzone and MOOR. It brings the total funding raised by the company to $17m.
Universal Avenue plans to use the investment to continue its European growth and expand into the US market in the second half of this year. Lilja explains: “This series A round of funding will allow us to grow further and faster and enable Universal Avenue to become a truly global on-demand sales service.