Aura’s unique value proposition right on trend- writes BVCA Journal

The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, the industry body and public policy advocate for the private equity and venture capital industry in the UK, has interviewed Aura’s CEO Alpesh Unalkat for the BVCA Journal, March 2021 issue.

Written by Jane Douglas @ BVCA


“Aura is right on trend as businesses continue to remodel how they work for the digital age”- says Jane Douglas.

In early 2019, when the team behind workspace solutions provider Aura devised the company’s strapline – ‘Reimagining workspace futures’ – they had no idea a pandemic would soon push that theme right up the boardroom agenda.

On 18 March 2020, five days before the UK went into its first lockdown, and backed by Baird Capital, Aura formally launched, bringing together two existing businesses with strong customer bases, Karlson and Intevi, into a single platform company.

Operating out of six offices globally, Aura provides consultancy and technology services around workspace transformation, collaboration, visual communications, workflow, and managed print. That can range from providing technology that enables customers to try on makeup virtually, to apps enabling corporates to communicate with employees more effectively.

What were economic headwinds from the pandemic for many proved to be fair winds for Aura, which, 80 days after its launch had already achieved its 100-day plan. As organisations continue to figure out the most efficient ways of working, Aura is in the middle of this trend, creating technologies that solve some of the ongoing challenges posed by the new normal. As soon as the current lockdown ends, the company will open its doors to a newly designed, ‘future office’ showcase in London to demonstrate these technologies and the potential of a connected workspace.

CEO Alpesh Unalkat gives an example: “The ability of corporates to put 20-50 people in a room to go through learning and development, in-house training and external training, has been hampered by this pandemic. One of the technologies we’re showcasing creates an immersive collaboration experience, with a live presenter and a series of personalised audio-visual screens so that the participants can see each other, see the presenter and be segregated into small work groups to do activities. It’s far more immersive and engaging than the normal video conferencing apps we have all gotten used to since the pandemic began.”

Creating Aura was the first step in a buy-and-build strategy that Unalkat is confident will create a £200 million business within five years. In addition to its acquisition strategy, Aura plans to leverage its in-house software development capability to create organic growth.

“We’ll be developing some interesting tech over the course of the next few years that draws together different workspace environments and provides that more holistic experience,” he says.

Unalkat describes investors Baird as a fantastic partner. “They have been very supportive and contribute in the right way to us as a team.” Baird also set up a dialogue between Aura and another workspace company in their portfolio, creating an exchange of ideas and global alliance that strengthens the reach of both businesses.

Looking ahead, Unalkat is positive: “Last year was challenging for everyone but I do see a lot of positive momentum into 2021.”


Source: BVCA Journal, March issue

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