The UK-based start-up Shaparency, a board management and governance platform, has announced that its customer numbers are growing 200% month-on-month since launching in July. The company has secured clients across 7 major countries and has successfully launched in the UK, US and Australia. The platform has also partnered with Boardsi, a US-based firm that finds the ideal board position or advisory work for executives and has over 5.5 million members. Shaparency is now entering a fundraise to keep up with this increasing demand.
Established in response to the business conditions resulting from Covid-19, Shaparency helps businesses to digitise governance and shareholder relations. It has been designed to reflect the circumstances and likely long-term shifts brought about by the pandemic, to enable businesses to digitally engage with their shareholders in an environment where social distancing and shielding of vulnerable individuals is crucial.
Recently, the Financial Reporting Council found that since the pandemic, 80.7% of FTSE 350 companies have held closed meetings. 30 of these companies have not made any arrangements for shareholders to ask questions to the board prior to or during the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Shareholder participation is vital for transparency and accountability of a business, and reduced investor engagement will likely lead to disenfranchised retail shareholders.
Only 15% of corporate boards globally use digital management platforms as, to date, the costs of doing so have been prohibitively high and board members have not shown technological proficiency. Shaparency offers a SaaS model which will enable boards, from SMEs and charities to multinationals, to better adapt to the new environment, increase efficiency, improve transparency and finetune governance.
Ben Nowlan, founder of Shaparency, said: “The growth we’ve seen since launching three months ago is fantastic. We’re already helping businesses in seven countries across three continents and envisage a sustained expansion over the coming weeks and months. Business leaders are now fully aware of the need to transition to automated operations to build reliable, secure and transparent company governance structures.
“This is a platform which, even pre-pandemic, I knew was a necessary step towards modernising business operations, but the impact of Covid-19 has accelerated this need at an unprecedented rate. Over the past seven months, we’ve seen the biggest shift in working practices for decades. Businesses are having to adapt to new ways of communicating and collaborating and many of these new practices are here to stay.”
Other tools built into the platform include secure voting – all votes can be run directly from the platform and proxy votes can be collected securely and efficiently; creating global task boards; digital document signing; cloud document storage; email and calendar integration; document templates; and hosting and managing board and shareholder meetings through one portal from anywhere in the world.