Scaling up during the coronavirus outbreak

May 1, 2020

In February, Armstrong Watson supported the directors of cloud and network solutions business Atlas Cloud in raising equity investment of £2 million from the Northern Venture Capital Trust Funds, managed by Mercia. The world has changed dramatically since then so Chris McCourt, corporate finance partner at Armstrong Watson, arranged a video call with Pete Watson, chief executive of Atlas Cloud, to see how things are progressing

A lot has changed since we completed the investment in February; how has it been going?

We very quickly decided to close our office and get everyone working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak. At Atlas Cloud, we provide managed IT solutions to our customers that give their staff the ability to access whatever IT tools they need to do their job on any device from anywhere, so we were able to make that change to our working practice seamlessly – with no impact to the support we provide our customers.

Have your plans changed since the outbreak began?

Not really. Mercia has been really supportive since the outbreak advising if there are things we could be doing differently. They have been in regular contact outside of board meetings too and we are building a great relationship.

The events of March have been very disruptive to most businesses. Has it affected Atlas Cloud?

The circumstance is actually providing some opportunities for us. Our mantra is ‘IT for the modern workplace’ and businesses have been forced to think differently about what the workplace is and, therefore, how they need to deliver their IT solutions. The coronavirus is accelerating the conversations we are having with many businesses – they are coming to us wanting remote working solutions for the staff immediately. That has created significant technology challenges but our tech team is working round the clock to deliver these. We have customers that are going live daily, often within a week.

What challenges should businesses be thinking about with a newly remote workforce?

Typically, we have seen businesses go through two phases. The first phase is panic. They’re asking us how they comply with social distancing rules to keep their people safe while also allowing as many as possible to work from home. Once businesses have implemented a solution, they start to encounter the second phase –practicalities. They are asking how best to manage productivity, and questions about data security. We think there is a logical third phase that some businesses will reach where they start to question what the future of work looks like – is there a need for big expensive offices if we have found ways to deliver answers to the questions in phase two?

Has the investment Armstrong Watson helped you raise allowed you to capitalise on the situation?

Absolutely. We’ve been able to react to changes in the market very quickly. We had profile from doing the deal and had working capital to be able to accelerate the investment we needed to scale up quickly to support our customers.

Armstrong Watson
If you would like to understand in more detail your options for investment in your business, then contact Chris at chris.mccourt@armstrongwatson.co.uk
www.armstrongwatson.co.uk
@ArmstrongWatson

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