HCT Group, the UK’s leading community transport operator, announced today that it has secured a £17.8 million funding package with the help of ClearlySo , Europe’s leading impact investment bank. The funding will be used to accelerate HCT Group’s growth, providing the working capital to continue their rapid expansion and to provide the funds to acquire commercial bus operators and turn them into social enterprises.
In today’s world the more vulnerable you are, the greater barriers to access you face.
A disabled person travels just over half (57%) the distance per person per year when compared to a non-disabled person – 4,245 miles per year versus 7,670 miles. A full quarter (25%) of people with disabilities report difficulties with any type of trip. These figures represent a substantial diminishment of disabled people’s lives – opportunities missed, friendships eroded, leisure foregone, horizons closed off.
Originally founded in 1982, HCT Group is a rapidly growing social enterprise that helps tackle this social isolation by providing transport for marginalised people and communities, paid for by the revenues of commercial bus contracts. HCT Group operates at genuine scale, with a fleet of 732 vehicles based in 13 depots, safely providing over 30 million passenger journeys per year.
ClearlySo supported HCT Group in all facets of the fundraise, including advising on terms, development of the financial model, and approaching and negotiating with existing and new lenders, including two commercial investors new to impact investment.
Big Issue Invest led the round which consists of a refinance of legacy debt and an injection of new capital. City Bridge Trust, Esmée Fairbairn, HSBC, MFS, Phone Co-op, Social and Sustainable Capital, TriplePoint and four high-net-worth individuals from the ClearlySo network also participated.
Dai Powell, chief executive of HCT Group, stated: “Since our last fundraising round, HCT Group has grown by over 40 percent, using the investment to help resource our growth. Social isolation remains a vast and growing problem and the latest funding will enable us to accelerate beyond organic growth to bring our services to even more people.”
Further commenting, Chris Parsons, head of investment banking at ClearlySo: “This is the largest fundraise by a social enterprise in the UK so far in 2018 and provides further evidence that you can build a sustainable business that generates an enormously positive social impact. ClearlySo is proud to work with HCT Group, a client for over ten years, to help them obtain the funding they need to reduce social isolation through access to transport.”