Healthcare communications company Luto has received an investment of £250,000 from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, managed by FW Capital and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).
The business, based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, received the funding to support its growth plans and help it to recover from the disruption of Covid-19. The FW Capital funding has secured the jobs of 14 full-time and one part-time staff members and created five further roles.
Luto specialises in writing and designing clear and user-friendly health communications such as educational materials and package leaflets. It tests these communications on real people to make sure they are fit for purpose, easy to understand and the information meets the needs of users.
Luto was founded in 2004 by academics from Leeds University. Its initial work was focused on package leaflet user testing before diversifying to include information design and usability testing.
The company moved from Leeds University to its own premises in May 2018 and established a usability lab in 2019. It is led by Managing Director Wayne Middleton, an expert in consumer health information, who joined the company in 2011 before buying it in 2021. Today, Luto has more than 25 long-standing global pharmaceutical clients and supports work in Europe and America.
Wayne Middleton, Luto Managing Director, said: “Like many businesses, Covid-19 has caused disruption to our operations and has forced us to change the way we work.
“Our relationship with FW Capital allowed us to stay resilient during this time and has helped us into a strong position going forwards. FW Capital and NPIF were great to work with and really committed to helping us get the funding we needed.”
FW Capital Senior Investment Executive Anne Blanden said: “Luto is a profitable and exciting business, steered by a very experienced managing director who has an excellent track record of running this successful business before his ownership. This investment was a good opportunity for us to help Luto to navigate the effects of Covid-19 to get the business back on track while continuing to pursue its expansion plans.”
Luto was introduced to FW Capital by Marie Lang, of GBAC Accountants.
GBAC’s Marie Lang said: “Luto is a well-regarded and innovative business with an ambitious strategic growth plan. This investment will strengthen the company’s position and create new jobs. FW Capital were helpful and professional and we are delighted to have them as a funding partner.”
FW Capital provides loans of £100,000 to £750,000 to businesses based in the NPIF region with a focus on the North West, Cumbria and Tees Valley.
Operating from the British Business Bank’s Sheffield head office, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund provides a mix of debt and equity funding (£25,000 to £2m). It works alongside ten Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), the combined authorities and Growth Hubs, as well as local accountants, fund managers and banks, to support Northern-based SMEs at all stages of their development.
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.