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Scale-Up Business Support

iRexM3 is a powerful Software as a Service (SAAS) solution which helps retailers simplify and future-proof their businesses and increase the speed and auditability of price changes.

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Their challenge

  • Founders stretched thin.

  • Wanted further validation of the product viability and worth.

  • Develop credibility as retail tier one system.

  • Support to engage with large-scale businesses.

  • To develop a robust business plan.

  • Mature their sales process.

  • To scale operationally.

  • To grow the business.

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Our approach

  • Matured the proposition further – product offering and business modelling process.

  • Creation of a workable business plan.

  • Developed an operational structure to support growth.

  • Promotion of Integrated Retail to our well-established network of contacts – investors and sales/profile raising.

  • Evolved strong investment case.

  • Help developing funding pack and support in investor meetings.

  • Key event support – sales and follow-up.

  • Ongoing mentorship to support and accelerate growth journey.

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  • First key sales contracts signed.

  • Continue to develop exciting retail opportunities with major international distribution partners in China, America and Europe.

  • Several investment opportunities were created with ongoing discussions.

  • Their business plan and operational structure now supports their 3-year growth strategy.

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DWG has been instrumental in planning the scaling and financing of our business. In this, they have been as helpful and as accommodating as I could have wished. The Knowledge base they access through their partnerships is, for a growing business, a lifeline.”

Steve Thornton-Greet, Chief Executive, Integrated Retail

Their Story

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We are delighted to have been working with an exciting retail marketing technology company Integrated Retail Limited (iRex).

iRexM3 is a powerful Software as a Service (SAAS) solution taking the pain away from retailers trying to deliver agile pricing and ticketing to customers.

The iRexM3 solution helps retailers simplify and futureproof their businesses by increasing the speed and auditability of price changes, offering an integrated ticketing solution which manages paper and electronic price ticket and signage from one central hub.


Starting to think big

Innovative startups and scaleups are by their nature highly skilled in what they do, led by multi-talented entrepreneurs – often hugely single-minded, agile and capable of wearing many hats.

Integrated Retail had a well-developed proposition, with a clear USP, solving a major problem for retailers. They had identified a gap for multi-channel integrated pricing; electronic pricing and integration with ESL, electronic signage, paper signage and paper. No other tool on the market did everything.

The next challenge was to validate the solution and go to market and scale. Naturally, this was unchartered territory for Integrated Retail, and they reached out to DWG for scaleup business support to help bring expertise, focus and clarity to evolve the product to the next level.

Understanding retail decision-making

While they understood the technical challenge of scaling the product to a retail grade tier one system and had excellent relationships at senior levels with a number of large retailers they had less experience of how decision-making happens in large businesses – and how their product will be viewed and discussed.

Any scale-up business needs to crack the issues of trust and business resilience. External validation is important.

DWG was able to provide a fresh and impartial review of the solution so far. With a clear understanding of what a large retailer would expect from a strategically important pricing and ticketing solution, and the factors that would be important.

Refining their business model

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While the proposition was well developed, there was still a requirement to mature the business model in order to become profitable.

We took the proposed modules already developed by iRex and added more detail around the costs of implementation. Keeping the assumptions, we were then able to extrapolate across a number of sales scenarios and work out projected implementation costs versus revenues, the cash flow implications of scaling and then build a workable business model which could be discussed with potential investors.

Damon, my interim COO, is now a valuable commodity. Someone with all the expertise and contacts for preparing us to deliver to the tier 1 retailers, our target audience. Eminently capable, with a vast array of appropriate skills sets and ethical outlook in line with our own. Someone, like DWG itself, with whom we would wish to work, for many years to come.”

Steve Thornton-Greet, Chief Executive, Integrated Retail

Creating a business plan

Integrated Retail needed a plan to scale their business operationally and determine how this would be managed.

The operational structure would need to support their growth. For a business in the early stages, it is a balancing act between getting key personnel into the right positions and spending investment wisely.

Much of the thinking had already been done on this but we helped iRex consider the most critical roles, and how to prioritise and phase over a three year period in line with potential revenue growth, and business demands. iRex had already identified critical positions and recognised the need recruit talented individuals capable of growing the business and performing more than one function and we were able to help them validate the plan and assess suitability and development needs of individuals for those roles.

Evolving the right sales approach

Now it was a case getting it in front of the right people and developing a robust sales process that would speak directly to that audience – in their case well-established FTSE 250 businesses.

IRex had extensive retail knowledge and an impressive list of retail contacts for a company of its size.  We were able to advise them with their approach for selling to much bigger businesses and the decision-making criteria that would be important – particularly in terms of returns on investment and mitigating risk. We also provided access for sales activity to our well-established retail contacts to help build a pipeline.

Framing a business case to investors

The business plan demonstrated they couldn’t scale without cash – even on the back of strong sales. This was because the implementation costs were high, and generally, the payment would be made at the end of the implementation process and potentially subject to lengthy payment terms, meaning the business would run into cash flow issues before generating required levels of revenue.

Because of the sales success they already had, we helped them consider factoring on the back of deals that had been signed – but this appeared to be an expensive way to grow a business, so was not a preferred route.

Instead, we were able to provide advice on framing a case to investors and offered support throughout the process. We accompanied them to key investor meetings and guided them on what investors would need to see – for example, profit and loss, ROI and cash flow forecasts and creating the required information pack.

iRex had a number of key investment opportunities including some overseas options.  Again for a business their size, they were getting access to an impressive number of senior personnel in large multi-national companies.  We also were able to promote them to our well-developed channels and networks, looking at options and opening more doors.

Start-up mentorship

On a daily basis, a start-up is pulled in multiple directions. When you are in the thick of building the business – and need to focus on getting your product to market – it can be hard to take a breath, step back and look at the ‘bigger picture’.

There is a real benefit to scale-up businesses to have an independent advisor to bounce ideas off. We are able to provide experienced advice and a less emotionally involved perspective.  We were also able to validate and revalidate the strength of their business case when doubts set in after the inevitable knockbacks occur which virtually all startups experience.

Event support

Partner event: scaleup business support case study

DWG was delighted to represent Integrated Retail when they showcased at Tech Retail Week.

Events are hectic places, and we were able to provide extra support on the ground for sales and demonstrations, and timely follow-up after the event.

The event was well-attended and allowed iRex to demonstrate a live solution which would allow retailers to dip their toes into electronic shelf ticketing without having to abandon all of their historical paper tickets, or without having to manage two or more ticketing systems and all the headaches that would generate.

Success in 2018

2018 has been an exciting year for Integrated Retail, and their journey continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

Thanks to the dedication and ingenuity of the start-up team, iRexM3 is a product that has been developed debt free and has already begun to be taken to market with great success – with their first major sales contracts signed, including Gift Universe Group, and more in the pipeline.

They are in ongoing talks with major distribution partners in China, America and Europe, and are exploring specific requirements needed.

In addition, they have recently announced a major partnership with Epson, combining their iRexM3 technology to offer a new ticketing solution with high-quality colour shelf-edge labels produced on Epson ColorWorks printer, enabling direct to store, real-time intraday pricing and promotion content, all from a single core system and user interface.

Digital Works Group continues to provide advisory and looks forward to reporting on their progress and successes as they grow.

Need some help growing your startup or scaleup?

If you are looking for business acceleration support with your start-up, or scale-up business, we can help in a number of ways, with the right expertise, experience, approach and attitude. All delivered in a flexible way to need your individual needs.

Get in touch

Damon Harding

Team Leader
Partner, Strategy & Leadership

Call +44 7771 700701

email Damon