UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones backs e-commerce startup

Ambitious e-commerce startup Mercarto has struck a deal with UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones to come on board as a business partner and 50% shareholder.

Serial entrepreneur Jones is set to provide ongoing financial support, alongside business guidance and mentoring, as Mercarto plans the next phase of its growth.

The Mercarto platform offers up-and-coming entrepreneurs the opportunity to create an end-to-end online retail business without the risks normally associated with launching a business.

Mercarto founder and CEO Sean Brown is enrolled in the Tech Manchester mentoring programme, backed by UKFast.

He said: “When Mercarto joined the Tech Manchester mentor programme in March, the level of support was beyond all expectations.

“Through Tech Manchester I had the opportunity to meet Lawrence. He has a real interest in eCommerce, so there was synergy from the first time we met. He understood what I’m doing and immediately saw the opportunity.

“Lawrence’s track record as a business leader speaks for itself. There aren’t many investors who can add as much value as he does, particularly in this sector. UKFast is full of amazing people, so to plug into their talent pool is an exciting prospect.

“There are a number of other investment funds interested in Mercarto, but it’s not just about the cash injection. I want a business partner who adds genuine value and has equal interest in the business.”

The investment is already paying off, with the startup creating more Manchester jobs and bringing in its first two hires: a full-time UX developer and full-time PHP developer.

It is also the first business signed up to move into the FastForward accelerator at UKFast Campus later this year.

The platform manages every aspect of ordering and customer service, with store owners taking up to 40 per cent profit on products sold.

All users have to do is name their store, select the products they wish to stock, and launch – they then drive sales by marketing the store through their own networks.

Lawrence Jones said: “Sean is an exceptional young entrepreneur and Mercarto has the potential to be a massive success.

“In the short term it enables entrepreneurs to spin up small businesses with zero friction and we see opportunities to use our agility and innovation to challenge the enterprise platforms like Shopify and Magento.

“UKFast has hundreds of eCommerce partners specialising in platforms like Magento and they’re always looking for new and improved ways to market their products.”

Mercarto now boasts more than 100 stores, following a soft launch earlier this year.

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