2012 was a very busy, productive year for blur Group so we wanted to share some highlights with you. Looking at our Q4 metrics, there has been a continuation of the impressive quarter on quarter growth achieved since the Exchange launched, with a 129% increase in briefs submitted to the Global Services Exchange in the final quarter of 2012, and a 230% increase in the number of projects completed in the quarter.
Overall, 776 briefs were submitted to the Exchange during the year as a whole, compared with 319 in the previous year, representing- a year-on-year growth of 143%.
A snapshot of the highlights, as follows:
● Highest ever briefs in a quarter
● 49% of briefs from US
● In 2012, briefs were received from 38 countries worldwide
In the quarter when blur Group went public on LSE:AIM, it reached its highest ever number of briefs with 250 submitted, compared with 215 in the previous quarter and 109 in Q4 of the prior year, representing a growth rate of 129% year on year. The total value of briefs was $4.01m compared with $2.9m in the previous quarter. Q4 was the second quarter in succession where the majority of the briefs came from the US, with 49% (Q3 FY2012: 46%) of all briefs submitted. In total 84% (Q3 FY2012: 86%) of briefs came from the US and the UK, with the remaining briefs coming from 26 other countries, including South Africa, Singapore, Croatia, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia were received. The average brief value for the quarter was $16,050 compared with just under $13,500 for Q3, and $7,100 in Q4 2011. One company briefed eight separate projects in the quarter and repeat briefs made up 6% of the totals.
The technology sector was the most prolific user of the exchange with nearly a fifth of all briefs from technology companies. It was also the biggest sector through the year, representing 18% of all briefs submitted. The largest brief of the quarter with a value in excess of $1m came from the healthcare sector and this sector represented 6% of all briefs in the quarter.
● Most projects (89) completed in quarter since Exchange launched
● 230% growth in completed projects compared with Q4 2011. The final quarter of 2012 also saw the most projects kicked off in any quarter, with 89 projects completed, an increase of 30% from the previous quarter and 230% on the prior year.
● 23,275 experts, agencies and services firms now on the Exchange
● Experts joining in 2012 came from 1,200 geographic locations.
At the end of the quarter there were 23,275 experts on the eight exchanges compared with 21,560 at the end of Q3 and 13,350 and the end of Q4 2011. During 2012, just under 10,000 new experts, agencies and services firms joined the Exchange with the majority joining the established Designs, Marketing and Media exchanges but with the new exchange at blur Technology growing as the number of technology briefs grew to 23 since its launch. The top three countries where experts came from in 2012 were the US, UK and India.
Looking beyond the numbers, we were also active strategically from a resource and UI perspective.
Key highlights included:
● Increases in headcount post IPO
● Project timeline launched to further streamline brief to project process
● Updated platforms for expert crowds
● New look websites
During the quarter the Company increased its headcount to 40 to support its aggressive growth targets in 2013, with new staff joining the Exchange Support, Sales, Marketing and Technology functions in both the UK and the US. At the start of 2013, two new management team appointments were announced, Belinda Wrigley as Group Finance Director and Mitch Faigen as Global Head of Exchange Development.
A major new feature to enhance the customer experience was launched on the blur Trading platform: the project timeline provides project management and scheduling tools within the collaboration space provided to all Exchange users. This further streamlines the Exchange process and further reduces the time to complete a project from brief through to completion.
The quarter saw developments of the platforms for the experts with an increased focus on brief visibility as well as continuing the networking aspects of the expert communities. In addition, the Company revamped its Exchange sites to increase the transactional nature of the sites as part of its services commerce (s-commerce) positioning. As part of this upgrade, the Exchanges for blur Accounting and blur Legals went live for brief submission.
Philip Letts, blur Group Founder and CEO commented: “Whilst we enjoyed the momentum of our IPO in terms of public visibility, we very much made this quarter one of business-as-usual at blur. For blur that means continued growth in all our key indicators of experts, briefs and brief values. As well as looking at the quarterly performance, the performance in the year as a whole is further proof of our amazing journey to date when you see that we more than doubled our brief count in the year and had the incredible increase of 330% in the total value of the briefs submitted in 2012, compared to 2011.”