Highland Europe leads $40m investment in StarLeaf, a UK tech startup making video conference calls loads easier

Lynsey Barber
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StarLeaf is improving video conferencing (Source: Getty)

Highland Europe has led a multimillion pound investment in a high growth startup specialising in video conference calling technology.

Cambridge-founded StarLeaf has landed $40m (£31m) from the venture capital firm which has previously invested in Brandwatch, WeTransfer and Outfittery, along with Grafton Capital.

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It's the first outside funding for Starleaf and the first venture capital cash taken by it serial entrepreneur founders, Mark Loney, ​Mark Richer and William MacDonald who previously sold phone technology company Calista to Cisco for $55m and Codian to Tandberg for $270m.

The firm's technology provides cloud-based voice and video conferencing and can connect everyone on a call even if they are using different software, such as Skype for business or Cisco. Its clients include Mercedes, Tata and Travelex.

“Enterprises are shifting towards video as it is a much better means of communication than a voice call or conference," said Loney, chief executive at the nine-year-old company.

"However, businesses often have a variety of legacy systems making it difficult to connect with customers and suppliers who may have different systems. Our cloud service solves these issues, while taking away the pain of running your own back-end systems. This new funding will take us through our investment phase and give us the working capital we need to reach our potential in markets around the world.”

Highland Europe partner Laurence Garrett will become a non-executive director. He said: “I am so thrilled to be investing in StarLeaf today as I have followed Mark Richer and the team for 12 years and have been a StarLeaf customer since 2013.

StarLeaf was one of the Deloitte Fast 50 fastest growing tech companies for two years running, along with the likes of SKyscanner, WorldRemit and Farfetch, with a growth rate of 1860 per cent in 2016.

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It signed up more than 150 new clients with more than 1,000 staff last year, and itself employs 130 people. It plans to double that over the next 18 months with the fresh cash, as well as focusing on expanding the business in Asia Pacific and further growth in Europe and North America.

Highland Europe last month ploughed £26m into craft sales website LoveCrafts along with Scottish Equity Partners and Balderton.

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