FreshNetworks, the London-based digital marketing agency who build and manage online communities for brands, have won an injection of funding of up to £5m. Part of the FreshMinds group, they were named as the winner of the London regional final of the Bank of Scotland Corporate Entrepreneur Challenge. Announced at an award ceremony at the Imperial War Museum in London last night, the FreshNetworks team fought off stiff competition from other finalists Justgiving, Gü Puds, Country House Weddings and Quintessentially. The prize is an investment package of up to £5 million, free of interest and charges.

Co-founder and CEO Charlie Osmond and Helen Trim, COO of FreshNetworks, presented their vision for the future to a prestigious judging panel including Nick Wheeler, the founder and managing director of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, and M&C Saatchi partner Bill Muirhead.

The FreshMinds and FreshNetworks team impressed the panel with the company’s continuous growth since it was founded in 2000, and their innovative yet pragmatic approach to working with clients. The judges were struck by the company’s vision and flair and by the creativity and impressive plans for FreshNetworks.

The funding will be invested in FreshNetworks, an innovative digital marketing agency that builds and manages online communities to promote insight and advocacy for brands. This new business has been growing rapidly ever since it was established in 2007 and now works with a range of clients across the media, telecommunications, retail and leisure industries. The market for online communities is developing quickly across Europe and the investment will be used to accelerate FreshNetworks’ growth to meet this demand.

Panel member Wheeler said "It was a great shortlist and a difficult decision because all five were very good businesses, yet really different. We were looking for a true entrepreneur - and the entrepreneurial skills of FreshMinds made the difference in the end."

Charlie Osmond, Co-founder and CEO says “The thought of facing the judges was nerve-wracking but taking part in this competition has been an immensely rewarding process. Winning this funding package will have a huge impact on the business and really allow us to build for the future.”

Ends

About FreshNetworks
FreshNetworks builds, manages and moderates online communities for brands. These help organisations build stronger and more profitable relationships with their customers. Find out more about them, work with customers to innovate and build word of mouth or advocacy.

We’re a full-service firm, and can help you with your online community strategy, provide our custom-built software and manage and report on your community. And with our unique combination of running successful online communities, research experience and an up to date, fully managed, online community platform we can deliver customer engagement like no other.

Our team combines extensive background at the forefront of communities development in Europe with strong research and marketing experience. We bring expertise in community building and management and make sure this brings real benefits to your organisation and your strategy.

About FreshMinds:
FreshMinds is a research and recruitment consultancy founded in 2000 by Charlie Osmond and Caroline Plumb. In 2007, FreshMinds Research and FreshMinds Talent were formally established as standalone business units within FreshMinds. Later that year, FreshNetworks was launched.

FreshMinds Talent works with companies to source outstanding executive, graduate and interim talent.

FreshMinds Research provides organisations with inspired thinking and analysis that helps them understand their customers, competitors and markets. They have been named ‘Best Agency’ at the MRS Research Excellence and Efficiency Awards for the last two years running.

FreshNetworks builds and manages online communities that help you get a deeper understanding of customers needs, drive innovation and build advocacy for your brand.

Media Contact:

Matthew Rhodes
FreshNetworks
Tel: 020 7692 4199
Mob: 07870 233 221

Published on: 12:00AM on 19th September 2008