Refinancing Success Story: LTT SME Ltd

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Nick Moules
17th March 2014

Opportunities for international growth do not present themselves on a daily basis, so when Eden Akhavi, Managing Director of LTT SME Ltd was given the opportunity, not once, but twice to acquire premium assets in the USA and The Netherlands within the space of a couple of months, he turned to rebuildingsociety.com to finance the move with loans of £100,000 then £150,000.

Expanding into new markets and taking on debt is a change in approach to how the company was being run, Eden has to oversee a shift in culture, workload and personnel as a result of the move, but he is keen to retain the positive aspects of the business, including the low cost base as the company grows.

“Most of our datacentre operation is fully automated”, he says.

“But I expect over the course of the coming few months, these two expansions will spawn another 3-4 jobs per site. Part of our success has been automating everything possible so that we can keep our operating costs to a minimum.”

While the processes might have been automated, the customer service is anything but – something Eden is visibly proud of, but acknowledges the challenge ahead.

“We’ve grown from servicing customers predominantly in UK and central Europe; to customers as far afield as Hong Kong and Singapore. For a company that previously prided itself on being able to put a name to every face, we have customers who we’ve never met and in some case never even spoken to.”

It’s quite an undertaking and some people might be wondering why, with several tranches of funds required, why a more traditional funding route wasn’t chosen. Eden cuts a frustrated figure and explains:

“We’ve spent many months talking to our bankers about various facilities but as fast as we get introduced to one manager, he quits the bank or gets reassigned. We have had probably two dozen account managers in five years, we can’t possibly making a bank relationship work when we don’t even know who will answer the phone this week.

“We were offered funding through a sovereign fund but due to some of the work we carry out, we were unable to accept the funding due to the client’s security concerns. So we started exploring options with services such as rebuildingsociety, we were somewhat dubious as to whether these platforms would work for us, but rebuildingsociety and its lenders came up trumps for us three times.”

Eden has now won a group of approximately 200 stakeholders over the course of his loans. Everyone that has invested in the business now has a vested interest in its success, while the move to take on debt also allowed Eden to retain control over the business:

“I’ve built many companies over the years, traditionally I have always contacted our usual VC houses for funding which was always been very forthcoming but as you know that comes at a cost, you end up giving up a chunk of the business. LTT SME at the time was way too early in its lifecycle to seek that type of funding so we kept the business in self-funding mode. If we didn’t have it in the bank, it didn’t happen.”

So the funding is in place and the contracts signed what does the future hold?

“We are now rolling out our Cloud 2.0 platform which we consider to be the next generation cloud service utilising our datacentre assets to provide direct service to our customers. Looking at our customer contracts already signed this year, we expect 2014 will be our best year by far.”

And what is Eden’s advice to companies in a similar position?

“I have recommended rebuildingsociety to a few our clients who are looking to expand or acquire other companies, but you need to be 1000% sure of your business model before you consider borrowing money against it.”

It’s that pragmatic approach that has won the confidence of rebuildingsociety.com’s lenders three times and should another opportunity present itself in the future, Eden knows where he will turn.

About LTT SME Ltd

LTT SME Ltd was founded in 2009 and provides bespoke Internet application consultancy and development to small and medium businesses in UK and Europe. LTT SME is a facilities-based provider operating datacentres in Europe and USA to securely host its clients’ applications and services. In 2014, LTT SME will roll out Cloud 2.0 across its datacentres in 2014 opening its services to US and Canadian businesses.

LTT SME has expanded over the past 6 months into central Europe and North America, increasing its potential market many thousand fold. It is now gearing up to roll out its SME Cloud solution which will run across LTT’s datacentres and give customers a variety of new services from application hosting to storage and backup.

 

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