Known as we are for giving our customers centre stage during our fireside chats at the office in Shoreditch, we thought: why not stick to the winning formula when up north? So, at one of our ‘late payment’ events in partnership with Barclays, we asked Tom Sutcliffe, Partnerships Manager at MarketFinance, to lead the conversation with Sean Murphy, Owner at Evidential.
Evidential is an expert-witness company based in Manchester that specialises in the use of the Electronic Presentation of Evidence (EPE) in the criminal justice system.
Before establishing Evidential in 2014, Sean worked in the public and private sectors. “I started out working for Greater Manchester Police in their imaging unit – enhancing CCTV footage from cases across Manchester that was vital evidence in court cases,” explains Sean. “Being a specialist in a very niche industry meant that there weren’t many jobs available back then. So, when I wanted to move back to Manchester after a few years in London, the only way to do so was by setting up my own business.”
Evidential provides a service to prosecution and defence teams alike – specialising in presenting material in court in the best possible way. “There is a significant trend in the instructions we are being given and that’s to make the evidence more ‘jury friendly’. While we are still regularly asked to enhance some audio or clean up some video, it’s now all about getting the message across in a professional manner in order to present the case properly,” says Sean.
Sean and Evidential have been involved in some of the UK’s highest profile cases, like that of Dr Harold Shipman, Dale Cregan and the Hillsborough trial. They even provided services to the International Criminal Courts in The Hague and to the United Nations. “We ensure that evidence is presented in front of a jury and a judge in a way that they can easily understand,” says Sean. “Whether it’s providing a 3D reconstruction of a room in a murder trial or an easy way to manage thousands of documents in a complicated fraud case, we have a solution.”
Evolving from a freelance specialist to a business owner employing a dozen people takes some guts. “Some people think that being self-employed is a doddle, but when you’ve got employees depending on you for a salary each month, it really is serious business,” admits Sean.
“It may seem like an over-used phrase, but cash flow really is king. And cash flow can bring your business down as well. So, with staff members to worry about, I feel like I have to build cash flow even more now than I have before.”
While Sean feels that assistance for business owners is lacking on the financial side of things, he was fortunate to have trusted advisors from Manchester Business Growth Hub. A mentor pointed out that, as his clients are all reputable organisations, his invoices could essentially be used as collateral when the need arose.
Sean was worried about the potential for his business relationships to be compromised because of overdue invoices. If payment was four or five days late, it became a major problem for his cash flow. “With MarketFinance, it feels like I’ve got a ‘get out jail free card’,” says Sean.
“I wanted something that was quite confidential and that I could just pick and choose when and how to use.
“I found MarketFinance on the internet, and since then I’ve been able to dip in and out every once in a while. I find the platform transparent and the same-day service is a breeze.” Having flexible access to funding allows Sean to purchase new equipment and grow the business – or just get through the pain of uneven cash flow.
Guilty…of great things! Evidential was identified by Creative England as one of fifty companies that would have an impact on prosperity and creativity across the nation. Today, they’re shifting from a service-based business to a product-based business with a focus on bringing new technology to the courtroom and the legal process. The Virtual Reality Crime Scene application is a prime example of the possibilities that tech offers in this field. It’s a cutting-edge app that allows a witness to be ‘put back into’ a crime scene. What’s more, Evidential is excited about commercialising virtual reality training for police officers too.
MarketFinance is helping Sean make sure that he can innovate, grow and meet his clients’ needs all at the same time. “One morning a client wanted 40 iPads, and I had about five days to get funds together,” says Sean. “So, I just chose an invoice that was still a good twenty days away from being paid, and I unlocked cash from MarketFinance. That freed up the money I needed for the iPads and gave me a decent return on a job that I would probably have had to turn down because of cash flow.”