Challenge: Create a consultancy business based on paying and managing contractors without any liquidity 

Solution: Specialist recruitment funding and tech. 

Result: Successful business created with revenue expected to double from year one. 

By any measure, Core Consultants is a smash-hit success. Founded in 2019, Core Consultants builds teams of consultants for blue-chip clients in the data and business transformation fields. 

It employs 50, with a few full-time staff, but most being contractors per project. The firm has spawned a sister company called Xander Talent with hundreds of employees.  

For co-founder Steve Hampson, the key to this rapid success is Sonovate. “When we founded Core Consultants, we were brand new, we had no trading history and had no access to funding. If it had not been for Sonovate we would not have gotten there.” 

The idea for the business was strong. Core Consultants finds consultants in esoteric technical industries such as data modelling, UX, and analytics: “We locate very hard-to-find niche experts, for banks or consultancies. Our contractors specialize in complex work.” 

“My partner John Hall used to be my boss at KPMG. He was the Global Head of Data Analytics for Banking, and I was the UK lead for capital markets data. I said to him, ‘Why don’t we try to build a company like this for ourselves?’ He was crazy enough to come with me.” 

What was the challenge? 

Funding growth wasn’t easy! 

The expertise of the pair meant winning contracts was achievable. But funding growth would prove harder. The company needed to wait for invoices to be settled – and hoped none came in late.  

“Banks wouldn’t do our funding to begin with,” says Hampson. “They will only work with companies of a certain size and a trading history, which obviously takes time. It does not work if you are a start-up. Today we spend £350,000 a month on salaries and contract payments, which is really significant. Essentially, this approach helped to free loads of working capital that we could invest and expand, which was awesome.” 

How was it solved? 

Alternative finance was the only way forward! 

“We evaluated a number of options,” explains Hampson. “Sonovate offered the best deal in terms of rates. It was also possible to get funding when we only had one client. Other providers might have struggled with risk concentration, but Sonovate was not bothered about that. Overall, the funding conditions were the best on the market at the time.” 

“Working with Sonovate optimized the cash flow. Invoices are settled rapidly, often at the end of the week if a timesheet was filed before noon on Tuesday. We did not need to save up loads of cash to pay people.” 

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What were the results? 

Today, trade is stronger than ever! 

Core Consultants made use of the admin assistance provided by Sonovate. “We initially started with the regular platform to manage back-office stuff,” says Hampson. “There were only a few of us back then, so we did not have the staff to handle it all. Sonovate’s platform did work really well. And then we moved onto the Sonovate Capital platform, which allowed us to upload invoices and dispatch them.  

Settling invoices on time, or early, keeps contractors loyal.  

Dealing with contractors is simple in the sense that if they get paid, everything is fine. They are as happy as a clam. Which, using Sonovate’s systems, is what happened.” 

The funding support provided by Sonovate helped Core grow from a start-up to a respected industry brand.  

Today, trade is stronger than ever. Hampson says his experiences illustrate the power of embracing fintech and alternative finance providers. “There are so many new things out there,” he says. “A lot of us are using Pleo cards for expenses. They are so much easier to use than doing manual receipts and reconciliation. There are companies like Receipt Bank who scan receipts to make life easier.” 

Whether you have a start-up or simply want to grow without tying up cash flow, an alternative provider can be a lifesaver.  

There are many services and great technology to help companies be more efficient and agile. Those who only seek funding from high street banks risk missing out – Steve Hampson, Co-founder of Core Consultants. 

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Our platform: helping consultancies to scale  

Sonovate provides tech-driven finance and workflow solutions for consultancies and other businesses that engage contractors and freelancers.  Our platform is designed to reduce admin, save time, and let you focus on growing your business. Choose from our industry-leading invoice finance solutions or if you need extra admin support, our funding and back office platform. Get started now by requesting a call with our experts.

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