Buddi IPO: Everything you need to know about Buddi

Electronic tracking device Buddi, launched by Confused.com founder Sara Murray, is preparing to IPO this year. Read on for more about the company’s background and growth ahead of the listing.

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What is Buddi?

Buddi is a GPS tracking technology business offering an electronic wristband that monitors the location of vulnerable people, and also produces a range of accompanying tracking products and accessories.

Founded in 2005 by Confused.com founder Sara Murray after her four-year-old daughter temporarily went missing in a supermarket, the company originally set out to offer a service that tracked the whereabouts of children. But opportunities instead presented themselves in prisoner tagging, health services and local authorities.

Aided by an undisclosed sum of non-equity assistance from accelerator program Future Fifty in 2015, the company has grown to a turnover of around £18 million, according to its latest 2019 accounts, up from some £11 million in 2018. It employs around 90 people, and says it supplies 80% of UK local authorities with its technology.

How does Buddi make money?

Buddi makes money through the supply of its tracking technology to institutions and individuals both nationally and internationally.

According to the website, the Buddi Connect wristband product is available for £99 plus a £1.99 per week fee for use of the app. There are also enhanced services that offer additional features, such as the Buddi Clip, with a speaker and microphone for additional support, available for £149 plus a £4.99 per week fee for app use.

Is Buddi profitable?

Buddi is currently profitable, with its most recent accounts showing pre-tax profits of £6.2 million for the year to December 2019, up from around £2.1 million for the period a year before.

Who are Buddi’s competitors?

When it comes to the technology used, Buddi’s competitors include other GPS tracking companies such as Cambridge Cognition, Safetracks GPS, GPSit, and ThinkRace. That said, many of these companies use their tracking services for a range of differing applications to that of Buddi, such as fleet management.

However, other companies such as Trackimo, AngelSense and iTraq are all specifically aligned to the care of vulnerable people and could therefore be more accurately classed as direct competitors.

What is Buddi’s strategy?

Buddi’s strategy originally was to target parents to help them manage the whereabouts of their small children, as mentioned. But after Murray was contacted by local authorities, she realised that the device had potential application in other areas.

Assembling a tech team through existing business contacts, Murray implemented a fall detector and panic button to enable elderly people to complete tasks without unnecessary interference from relatives, helping them retain their autonomy and instilling peace of mind on the part of family members. The company currently makes its hardware and software inhouse in the UK.  

Murray also enlisted the help of renowned designer Sebastian Conran to develop a tracker that would be ‘cool enough to be worn in public’. She began working with local authorities and NHS trusts in the UK to supply the GPS bracelets, and also branched out into the US, where she was able to pick up additional contracts. 

Murray told the London Evening Standard that the company now has national government customers ‘on every continent’ and criminal justice is a key growth area, with key contracts in emerging markets. Proceeds from a listing will likely go towards making further inroads there.

Who are the directors of Buddi?

Buddi has a number of key personnel that have helped progress the company to its current market position. Here are some of them.

Position

Name

CEO/founder

Sara Murray

CEO, US

Steve Chapin

Chief Technology Officer

Charles Lewinton

Business Development Director

Vishal Nayar

Head of Operations  

Louise Harrold

Sales Manager

Fiona Carmichael


When is the Buddi IPO?

The Buddi IPO is expected to take place later in 2021. Murray is understood to have appointed Zeus Capital to oversee the transaction, and has also hired former KPMG UK chairman Simon Collins as Buddi’s chair ahead of the planned float.

Media reports suggest that the target valuation in the event of an IPO could be around £500 million.

Take a look at some of the other major IPOs set for 2021

How much is Buddi worth?

It is unclear how much Buddi is worth as a business pre-listing. There is no detail in the public domain of any fundraising rounds prior to the potential IPO, and although the company’s revenues and profits have grown rapidly in recent times, any valuation at this point would be mere speculation.

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