Boss of Bristol company that switched to four-day week secures £1.2m in funding



A Bristol-based entrepreneur who runs a group of technology companies including one that switched to a four-day week has secured £1.2m in funding.

Narwhal Media Group (NMG), which is owned by businessman Luke Sartain and is based at Temple Meads, operates a number of firms, including:

upUgo – A digital marketing agency providing services including SEO
Lasso Leads – A data analytics & lead generation business
GoRank – A white-label marketing product for businesses

Mr Sartain’s company upUgo is based in Stokes Croft and moved all its staff over to a four-day week without reducing pay or holiday in 2020.

Last year, entrepreneur Imran Hakima – a former contestant on Dragons’ Den – invested £575,000 in Mr Sartain’s group of companies, which is now valued at £18.2m.

Some of the upUgo team before the coronavirus pandemic
Some of the upUgo team before the coronavirus pandemic (Image: Upugo)
The proceeds of the latest fundraise – a pre-Series A round – will be used to expand the company’s sales function, continue investment in software R&D, and provide working capital for the group’s continued expansion, NMG said.

Investors in the round included Robin Saunders of Clearbrook Capital; Elio Leoni Sketi from LSG Holdings; and Bodil Blain, the founder of CRU Kafe.

According to NMG, it is planning to raise further funds later in 2022 and is targeting a £200m valuation by 2024. As part of its expansion plans, the business also expects to create jobs across the Bristol region, it said.

Mr Sartain said: “This investment round will allow each of our businesses to push on to the next level of growth and so further realise the value in NMG and our IP.

“We are unashamedly ambitious about setting targets at NMG – our aspiration is to become the most innovative marketing tech business in the world, operating a stable of best-in-class companies.”

Robin Saunders, managing partner and founder of Clearbrook Capital, added: “I am thrilled to be investing in Narwhal Media Group. Luke Sartain and NMG are justifiably ambitious about their plans for growing the group and we look forward to working with them to support that growth.”

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