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Bridges acquires majority stake in Storetec

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Published: 17 November 2022

The investment in the digitisation and data storage business has been made through the Bridges Sustainable Growth Funds and it comes at a time of need for greater security surrounding personal data

Bridges is backing Storetec which provides outsourced document scanning, archive storage and cloud-based document management to both the public and private sector | Storetec

UK-based impact fund manager Bridges Fund Management has acquired a majority stake in Storetec, a digitisation and data storage business in Hull, North-East England. 

Storetec, which provides outsourced document scanning, archive storage and cloud-based document management to both the public and private sectors, is used by organisations such as National Health Service (NHS) trusts, councils and companies to protect their most sensitive data and build more sustainable digital workflows. 

The investment in Storetec for an undisclosed sum is being made through the £321m (€366m) Bridges Sustainable Growth Funds and is highlighted as part of the company’s response to the challenge of cybersecurity risks that, according to Bridges, have been accelerated by the rise in remote and digital working post-Covid.  

In response to questions from Impact Investor, James Taylor, head of communications for Bridges, explained that the company’s core impact thesis for the investment was around personal data security, pointing to the 2,000 to 3,000 data breaches reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s national data protection authority, every quarter. 

He said that data breaches and data mismanagement had a significant negative impact on the lives of individuals, from invasion of privacy to identity theft and the repercussions of missing health data.  

“Storetec’s customers already report that using the company’s services has enhanced their data protection and security. Post-investment, we will be seeking additional customer feedback to better understand how Storetec’s activities can optimally drive personal data security, while also monitoring actual data breaches,” he said.   

Taylor added that the investment also had a positive environmental impact by supporting digitisation and the move away from paper record-keeping.  

Neil Robson, CEO at Storetec said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Bridges at this critical stage of the business’s growth journey. We wanted an investor who understood our market, shared our values, and had a strong track record of helping businesses like ours to harness their growth and impact potential. Bridges fitted the bill perfectly.” 

Impact management and reporting 

Storetec works with over 400 organisations each year and has digitised more than 333 million paper records over the past decade, with FreeDocs, its proprietary digital platform, now storing over 8,000GB of data. 

Bridges said it would work in partnership with Storetec’s management team “to accelerate the growth of the business and support more clients in the Uk and beyond” and that this would “include embedding best-in-class impact management practices throughout the business to build an impact-led exemplar in the ESG services sector, with data security at its core”.

Asked how Bridges would manage and report on impact at the company, Taylor said that it was too early to say what this would look like: “We don’t have a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach. Once we’ve made an investment, we work closely with the management team in the foundation-building phase, using the expertise of our in-house impact management specialists, to work out what the right metrics and processes should be going forward. Our focus is always on decision-useful data, so selecting metrics that will drive better commercial performance as well as improved outcomes.” 

Cybersecurity has been ranked by the World Economic Forum as one of its five key global risks every year since 2012 and according to a recent report by research consultants CyberEdge more than 80% of UK companies experienced a successful cyber-attack in the last year.  

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