London startup Incopro has raised £21m from growth equity investor Highland Europe to scale its online brand and IP protection platform.
The company is now looking to expand its team of engineers in China, Wales and London from 20 to 40 and also double headcount across the rest of the business.
Its beefed up engineering team will work on accelerating the development of its Talisman brand protection platform, which uses web crawlers to trawl thousands of sites for copyright infringements.
“The internet revolution has created a massive challenge for businesses seeking to protect their products and brands from counterfeiting and other forms of brand abuse online,” said Incopro’s co-founder and CEO Simon Baggs. “Until now, brands have not been offered the tools to effectively deal with this threat.”
The firm lists NBC Universal, BBC Studios and Harley Davidson as clients, and claims it can remove identified infringements within 24 hours and with a 99 per cent success rate.
In addition to its Talisman brand protection platform, the company has also developed an intelligence tool that tracks 17,000 websites, as well as a service that helps brands avoid placing ads beside undesirable content.
As part of the deal, Sam Brooks and Gajan Rajanathan from Highland Europe are joining the Incopro board. The firm has also hired OVH’s Chris Hardy as chief revenue officer. Hardy was previously senior director of EMEA vCloud Air for the cloud provider.
The news came as a Tech Nation report revealed that investment in the UK tech sector was continuing to boom despite the looming threat of Brexit. British firms raised £4.5bn last year, nearly twice as much as the year before, the report showed.
Brooks said he was not concerned about the impact of Brexit on trading, but that it presented recruitment problems. Like many London-based tech firms, Incopro has an international staff, including developers from China and multi-lingual analysts. “I think there are some issues around Brexit for talent hiring, but from the business’s point of view in terms of trading I don’t think there is a problem.”
Commenting on the deal, Highland’s Sam Books said in a statement said he believes the scale of the challenge for brand and IP owners is “enormous and growing in complexity”. “We have been impressed by the deep domain expertise that Simon, Bret, Helen and the INCOPRO team have leveraged to build such a compelling platform, protecting the interests of some of the best-known brands globally.”