Digital services business secures £870,000 Innovate UK funding

Rob Mannion

B2B digital services provider RNF has secured £870,000 from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to develop its b2b.store.

The funding will be used to drive future expansion in the wholesale sector, as well as overseas.

b2b.store was launched earlier this year and provides wholesalers in all sectors with a free ordering app that works across mobile, tablet and desktop computers, with some customers going live in less than a week.

The platform also allows customers to choose from a variety of premium features including barcode scanning, in-app advertising, product placement and shopping list builders.

Rob Mannion, founder and CEO of Leamington-based RNF/b2b.store, said: “This significant support from Innovate UK is great news, not only for our business but also for the sector as a whole as it will enable us to invest more heavily in our product and make it more accessible to wholesalers of all sizes in all sectors. It also means we can focus more on data-driven insights that are revolutionising the sector.

“Understanding our customers’ problems and the challenges they face is fundamental to the success of the platform and we are committed to working closely with them to deploy features that drive ROI for their businesses.

“Over the longer term, we will continue to invest in bringing the benefits of Big Data and machine learning to our customers, helping wholesalers optimise customer communications to maximise sales.”

As a result of the Innovate UK funding, RNF/b2b.store is seeking to expand its team, creating a number of new technical and management roles. This expansion follows hot on the heels of the company’s recent restructure that saw Mike Mannion appointed to the role of chief data officer and Dale Jefferson take on the role of chief technology officer.

Rob said: “While digital technologies have been driving change for a number of years, digital ordering apps really came into their own during the Covid-19 lockdown, accelerating the process and helping many wholesalers continue trading during unprecedented times.

“Since b2b.store’s launch in March, over 50 wholesalers have signed up, and over 3000 orders are being processed through the site each month, illustrating the scale of demand.

“As we add more data-driven insights to the platform, not only will we be able to better inform how and when wholesalers communicate with their customers but also anticipate those customers’ needs more effectively, helping wholesalers stay one step ahead.

“This funding will mean we can ensure our customers stay at the vanguard of developments, providing valuable data insights that can inform their business planning and drive their businesses forward.”

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