UpriseVSI Secures Six-Figure Investment and Rebrands to Flex Systems

We’re excited to announce that UpriseVSI has joined forces with the principal shareholders of our long-standing client, Retail Merchandising Services (RMS) in a deal that will see local entrepreneurs Daniel and Connah O’Toole become the majority shareholders, making an initial investment of £500,000, and the company rebrand to Flex Systems.

New Name and New Investment for the Future

Since the acquisition of VSI-thinking by Uprise Marketing in 2015, UpriseVSI has continued to grow our client base and we have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on many exciting online booking and web development projects for well-known brands; locally, nationally and globally.

Our latest transformation, into Flex Systems, is the next exciting chapter in our story.

Aside from the rebrand, the company will also benefit from an initial investment of £500,000, which will allow us to further develop thinkBooker, our award-winning online booking platform, by expanding the features and functionality within the system and allowing us to market it to a wider audience.

It will also enable us to commercialise the flex™ workforce scheduling and management system that has been used so successfully by RMS over the past 4 years.   Our aim is to offer the flex system to other companies that need to be able to effectively schedule and manage their flexible or temporary workforce.    

Gareth Rees Jones and Geoff Thomas, Co-Founders of UpriseVSI will retain a minority shareholding and remain as directors, taking on the roles of Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer respectively. 

They will work closely with Daniel O’Toole, Chief Executive Officer of RMS, who in 2018 won UK Director of the Year at the Institute of Directors Awards, and who will take on the role of CEO of Flex Systems.

Development Bank of Wales, which has worked with UpriseVSI since 2015, will remain as a supportive long-term lender to Flex Systems.

A little bit about RMS

As the UK’s leading independent retail merchandising and support services company, RMS works with many major retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis Partnership, Asda and B&Q. 

Under the stewardship of CEO, Daniel O’Toole, the company has collaborated with UpriseVSI since 2016, to design and develop flex™, a workforce scheduling and management system.

The system allows RMS to effectively schedule and manage multi-skilled teams of flexible staff to support a wide range of retail change projects for retailers throughout the UK and Ireland. 

As a consequence of the collaboration, Flex has enabled RMS to significantly improve its operational efficiency and client services, playing a major role helping the company win new contracts; delivering large-scale projects and helping grow annual revenue by over 30%.

Developing thinkBooker and our online booking platforms

First launched, almost a decade ago, the thinkBooker online booking system has gone from strength to strength in recent years and is now used in a wide variety of industries.

The platform took top prize in the ‘Best Emerging Technology’ category at the 2017 WalesOnline Digital Awards, followed, a year later with first prize for ‘Best Ecommerce’. This was for the delivery of a personal shopping appointment system for luxury global retail tech firm, Farfetch, one of many high-profile brands who have adopted the thinkBooker system.

During this time the system has also been developed for well-known brands such as Premiership Rugby, Welsh Rugby Union, Cardiff Airport and NFL Franchise, Jacksonville Jaguars.

In July of this year, as a response to COVID-19, UpriseVSI also launched SafeBook, a software as a service (SaaS) booking system that allows small and medium-sized businesses to take bookings, manage capacity and comply with social distancing measures.

Gareth Rees Jones, Co-Founder of UpriseVSI and Chief Marketing Officer, Flex Systems

“We’ve had a long and successful relationship with Dan, Connah and the team at RMS, so when we were looking for investment partners to help us take the business forward, they were the natural choice. 

“There is strong demand for online booking and scheduling systems and the investment that we will now be able to make in our platform, combined with the combined skills and experience of our teams, will really help us to grow our market share both in the UK and beyond.”

Daniel O’Toole, CEO, Flex Systems

“Innovation is a core value of our business and, in 2016 we started the investment in developing a technology platform that would ensure that RMS remained at the forefront of its industry.  With continued investment, flex™ has grown significantly over the last four years and is now an essential part of RMS’s business success. 

“With a shift towards more flexible working already being felt globally, COVID-19 has created a surge in demand for more flexibility from both employers and employees alike. It’s had an immediate and potentially lasting change in the future of the employment market. More and more companies need to be able to recruit, schedule and manage their people flexibly; and more workers are demanding a greater level of flexibility, control and work-life balance.

“By joining forces with UpriseVSI, we will be able to exploit this opportunity, not just in the retail sector, where RMS operates, but across many different industries and empower employers and employees with intelligent booking and scheduling technology to thrive more flexibly and profitably than ever before.”

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