Cloud M is a cloud and mobile solutions company that is focussed on health and safety.
Richard Gill, founder and CEO of Cloud M, chatted to us about Cloud M’s journey, their recent capital raise, and how he finds working with Simmonds Stewart.
the cloud m story
Cloud M’s first offering was Alerter – a software platform and the Auckland Civil Defence app that promoted disaster readiness and updated Aucklanders during natural disasters and other emergencies. Alerter delivered great results for the Auckland region for a number of years but was never adopted nationally.
The company’s focus on public safety had already inspired Cloud M to look at other ways to help people stay safe. Richard recalls, we did some research into where people needed better systems for ongoing safety and that led us to occupational health and workforce safety. In New Zealand, about 50 people are killed on the job every year, and hundreds are injured. The International Labour Organisation estimates that, if you include job-related diseases, there are around 2.5 million deaths globally every year. So we asked, “What can we do to change this?”.
Cloud M’s answer is Blerter. A mobile-first workforce safety platform that leverages social network concepts to drive and foster a safety-first business culture. Blerter tracks users on a worksite, including their assigned jobs and whether they have the training and qualifications to safely perform those jobs. Blerter also integrates and records all worksite health and safety processes in one place, including hazard identification, incident reports, OSH meetings, and related documents.
Cloud M’s Blerter ambitions are global, and Richard sees the US as a logical target market as it is generally tech savvy and the problem is huge, with 4,500 people a year killed in workplace accidents, at an economic cost of USD250 billion a year. Planning to expand into foreign markets is exciting, but it also places a huge strain on the resources of early stage companies. But Cloud M has had some great assistance. In July 2016, the company was accepted into Vodafone’s business accelerator programme, Vodafone xone. The xone provided Cloud M with access to experts who have helped it to develop and refine its path to the US and other markets.
But even with that help, Richard knew that Cloud M would need a significant capital injection to fund its expansion.
capital raising and working with simmonds stewart
Cloud M completed its capital raising in December 2016, with an investment of close to NZD4m from a single HNWI – a transformative amount for Cloud M.
Simmonds Stewart has worked with Cloud M since 2014, including on its board and employee equity incentive arrangements and its commercial contracts. During his 30 years of business, Richard has dealt with a number of law firms, but understood the benefits of working with Simmonds Stewart for the capital raising process.
Simmonds Stewart’s negotiation skills and investor knowledge was especially valuable to Richard and Cloud M at this time. We found their insight into the value of different sources of capital very helpful, including the pros and cons of different share and investment structures. And they prepared the documentation in a way that effectively dealt with the concerns of a couple of the existing minority shareholders.
Richard saw Simmonds Stewart as a firm that turns documents around quickly and efficiently. But, more importantly, they pro-actively guided us through the capital raising process. They were great at identifying potential legal and commercial issues, and at recommending early and practical solutions for those issues, making for a much smoother investment process.
Richard sums up Cloud M’s journey best, we’re trying to disrupt the injury rate, as opposed to just disrupting another business. We want to save every life we can, and we’ll build a giant business doing that. And that sounds pretty good to us.