Waterspring Ventures makes first investment into Operati

Waterspring Ventures Operati Operati CEO and co-founder, David James

Welsh investor Waterspring Ventures has made its first investment, contributing to a near-half a million pound round for Newport-based project planning software startup Operati.

The idea for the startup, which is still in the earlier stages of development, came in 2017 when Operati CEO and co-founder David James sold his preceding venture Hudman for an undisclosed sum to software company Advanced.

Hudman is an enterprise resource planning tool housing various features like accounts, payroll and CRM.

Speaking exclusively to UKTN, James said that during his time at Advanced, he realised that businesses were “looking for something slightly different” when it came to resource planning software.

“The problem with the Hudman software, the problem with every other bit of software we’ve ever looked at, is that it’s all based around making the same types of things over and over,” he said.

Drawing comparisons to bikes, the Operati chief executive explained how they are mostly the same product, varying in size and colour.

When it comes to bespoke enterprise software, James claims this is something software like Hudman cannot accommodate – and is what Operati is looking to solve.

“What we’re building is something that handles all that really complicated configuration, makes it simple and then also takes it through to the quoting process,” James told UKTN.

Operati has raised a total of £480,000, consisting of £280,000 from Waterspring’s first tranche, £150,000 from the Development Bank of Wales’ Technology Seed Fund and £50,000 from its co-founders.

Waterspring Ventures’ managing partner Sam Huxtable spoke to UKTN in March about its creation due to his own difficulty finding capital in Wales.

Huxtable said Operati “really fitted the bill” for its inaugural investment being in the “high-value manufacturing space” and based in Newport.

“The company knows exactly what problem it needs to solve in the manufacturing industry – and it’s one that our partners, who have over 25 years of experience in the sector, know all too well.”

Businesses working in roller shutter doors, welding and fabrication and shopfront signs are among the target market for the startup’s management software.

The software as a service startup is planning to use the £480,000 to see it through two years of development and the launch of its product prior to a scale-up round.

Operati has already hired a senior full-stack developer from Cheltenham, with plans for a possible junior developer also in the pipeline.

Read more: Beyond the Capital with Cardiff-based investor Waterspring Ventures