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Sapere develops Teesside University startup sessions November 2018

Sapere Sessions with Endeavour

Stockton-headquartered software development company, Sapere, is building on its partnership with Teesside University to offer free, informative seminars designed to make software more accessible to businesses in the North East and beyond.

With the company having started through the university’s business incubator at Teesside Launchpad, Sapere is developing its relationship with the scheme by rolling out its ‘Sapere Sessions’, advisory seminars focusing on taking an idea for an app and turning it into a piece of software that can underpin a business.

Lizzie Dixon, enterprise coordinator at Teesside Launchpad, said: “We are always keen to support growing businesses in the Tees Valley, so working with Sapere in this way enables us to help each other, with Sapere sharing knowledge and expertise and Launchpad hosting the workshops.”

Taking place at Teesside University’s Victoria Building on Friday November 23rd, Sapere is teaming up with Endeavour Partnership, covering topics such as monetising an app, marketing considerations and development timescales.

Endeavour Partnership will provide free legal advice on intellectual property and terms and conditions.

Martin McKinnell, senior associate and technology associate at Endeavour Partnership, said: “We’re excited to work on this project again with Sapere following the first successful session back in July. There are many creative minds in the North East that we want to offer a helping hand to; it would be great to see some of their ideas come to life.”

Free to attend, there will be two sessions to choose from; 10am to 12pm, and 5pm to 7pm.

Sapere continued its partnership with Teesside University with a tenancy at the university-managed Fusion Hive on Stockton’s North Shore, which offers a state-of-the-art workspace, as well as access to the university’s significant business networks, expertise and training provision, and help in sourcing potential funding.

Paul Drake, operations director at Sapere, said: “We are honoured to be hosting the sessions at the Launchpad, and to be able to give back to businesses that are beginning their journey.

“These sessions are a gateway for the creative minds that the university is cultivating, and businesses in the area. It’s not the sort of advice found in a textbook – we’re pooling over 30 years of bespoke software development experience within our business to pass on to others.”

To book a free place on this Sapere Session, see the following links:

Morning session:

Evening session:

Sapere develops sessions to increase software accessibility June 2018

Sapere Sessions with Endeavour

Sapere are launching a programme of free, informative seminars designed to make software more accessible to businesses in the North East and beyond.

Dubbed ‘Sapere Sessions’, the first event takes place on 5th July and focuses on taking an idea for an app and turning it into a piece of software that can underpin a business.

Sapere is teaming up with Endeavour Partnership for this session and will cover topics including monetising an app, marketing considerations and development timescales.

Endeavour Partnership will provide free legal advice on intellectual property and terms and conditions.

Martin McKinnell, senior associate and technology associate at Endeavour Partnership, said: “It’s brilliant to work on this project with Sapere. There are many creative minds in the North East that we want to offer a helping hand to; it would be great to see some of their ideas come to life.”

The Sapere Sessions will be rolled out every quarter, with the first being held at the NatWest Accelerator Hub facility in Newcastle.

Paul Drake, operations director at Sapere, said: “It’s brilliant to have use of NatWest’s facility and to know that they support the work we are doing. This isn’t the sort of advice that you’ll find online or in a book, and we have over 30 years of bespoke software development experience within our business to pass on to others.

“Our intention is to offer ongoing support to attendees, whether they are startups or existing businesses, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone at our first Sapere Session.”

To book a free place on this Sapere Session click here...

Sapere helps Troocost sell to the lowest bidder May 2018

Matty Hynes Sapere Software

Stockton-based software development company, Sapere, has been working on a project with Troocost to help businesses get the best deal on their utilities. The system provides an energy benchmarking service to allow users to obtain the best deal without having to physically shop around, saving both time and money. Paul Drake, operations director at Sapere, said: “We were excited by the uniqueness of the solution that Andrew presented to us. It sounded like something no one would want to be without, and we wanted to be involved with the journey.

“It isn’t every-day we get the opportunity to design and develop a piece of software that has the potential to be used by nearly every business in the UK!”

The project began in 2016 and it took around six months to fulfil the brief, but Sapere’s work has continued as the Troocost site grows with and adapts to the ever-changing industry.

Andrew Richardson, Troocost owner, said: “Paul and Shaun at Sapere have really delivered on this project. From the outset they took the time to understand each element of my business and then built a solution that not only meets my needs, but which can be adapted to suit the developing market.”

The Troocost project contributed towards Sapere’s business growth, and in early 2018 the Company moved into a new office to accommodate its expanding team following a recruitment drive.

This included Business Development Manager, Matthew Hynes, who is well known in the area. Born and bred in Middleborough, Matthew has an exciting athletic CV including representing Great Britain in European and World Championships and being ranked number two behind Mo Farah.

Matthew said: “I knew of Sapere beforehand, having heard great things about the business. I’m excited to be part of the team and contribute towards the Company’s ongoing success.”

Matthew is tasked with continuing Sapere’s strong growth and building the Company’s presence in the North East and beyond. He will be showcasing the Company at day one of Newcastle Startup Week on 14th May, at The Boiler Shop.

Mum’s the word for Teesside Hero winner Jane February 2018

Teesside Hero winner

When Jane Morgan discovered her much-loved mum, Ellen Timney, was dying from cancer she vowed to do something extraordinary in her name. Eleven years on, married mum-of-two Jane is the driving force behind the Ellen Timney Foundation that donates up to £25,000 a year to the help most sick and underprivileged Teesside children. The charity helps out nearly 3,000 Teesside children a year, providing Christmas gifts to around 600 of the area’s most impoverished youngsters. Now Jane has been honoured with a Teesside Hero Award in recognition of her ongoing dedication to the area’s sick and disadvantaged children.

A teaching assistant at St Joseph's Primary School in Norton, she received her surprise award from Paul Drake of Stockton-based Sapere Software, one of Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s newest patrons. “I don’t feel I deserve such an award in any way,” said Jane, who lives at Fishburn Airfield, near Sedgefield. “Winning this has made me think about what mam would have made about all of this going on in her name. I think she’d have been totally overwhelmed. Ellen passed away 11 years ago next month when, having beaten breast cancer, she was diagnosed with cancer of the brain, spine, chest, bones and lungs. Following her terminal diagnosis, family friend Ron Darby vowed to start a charity in Ellen’s name, with Jane and dad Tony helping to launch the Ellen Timney Foundation. Along with trustee Robert Hardy, Jane and Tony continue to give up much of their spare-time to raise funds for Teesside children in need, with their annual ball at Hardwick Hall proving hugely successful.

More recently a successful annual golf day at Ramside Hall has been a big hit, while Santander, Barclaycard, NETA Training Group and Hays Travel in Sedgefield have all been hugely supportive. Much of the money raised funds a Christmas appeal, with the charity working with many local schools to provide gifts for hundreds of the region’s poorest children.

Asked why she does it, Jane admitted: “I do sometimes wonder! Dad and other volunteers do work really hard too and we do wonder if we’ve done enough – but then more requests for help come in and we realise we can’t stop.

“Whether it’s for Christmas gifts or for beds, clothes, school trips, prams or medical equipment, there’s a real need out there.

“It’s often heart-breaking to hear the stories of local children who’ve gone through such horrific times.

“Ultimately, we started the charity to keep alive my mam’s name because she touched so many hearts – everyone seemed to love her as soon as they met her, so we’ll keep going as long as the money keeps coming in.”

Jane’s award from Teesside Philanthropic Foundation included a trophy, a voucher donated by Chadwicks Inn at Maltby and £1,000 for charity, which she has chosen to share between CAUSE Christmas Hamper Campaign and Remembering Rebecca, a charity run by her fellow Teesside Hero Gemma Sands, who nominated her for the accolade.

Business to Business Energy Comparison Software Platform...September 2017

Bespoke Web Application Software

TrooCost Web Application Software

It is very rare to be asked to design and create software to disrupt a mature marketplace but that's exactly what Sapere were asked to do in late 2016. The need - a web based platform that would allow Energy Suppliers like British Gas & EON to offer search specific tariffs to business customers looking to change their energy provider.

Historically business energy consumers dealt with energy brokers who would find the best rates whilst adding on a margin or the business would stick with the same energy provider. This approach limits competition leaving business customers generally paying more each year.

Sapere architectured and built a bespoke web based platform that allows business users to register their details, in return Energy Suppliers can offer those business customers their best tariffs. This cuts out the energy broker and allows all Energy Suppliers to via for the same business customers, leading to a more competitive environment. The business user can then accurately see how much they are paying vs. how much they might save if they change provider.

The software is being used on a National scale and by all the major Energy Companies - another example of World Class Software designed and developed by the team at Sapere!

Transforming the Construction Industry using web and mobile software...May 2017

Bespoke Mobile Software

Site Waste Clearance Software

Managing site waste and responsibility to ensure its cleared away when multiple contractors are working on the same site at the same time is a logistical problem for site management companies. This often leads to extra expenses being incurred by the site owner as those responsible leave their waste for someone else to clear up.

The owners at Site Waste Clearance approached Sapere to see if it would be possible to create a mobile application which would allow them to sell the solution to site management companies across the country to help manage site waste clearance and help the site owners to recover the cost of the clearance when it was left to them to sort.

From the request Sapere were able to design and develop a mobile and web based solution that allows site Foreman to use a smartphone to record instances of site waste not being cleared up. These notices are then automatically sent to the offending subcontractor's phone with pictures of the waste with a request to clear up within a set period of time. If the subcontractor fails to clear up their waste they are then sent a contra charge for the cost.

The web based application allows the site management to view any requests for clearance, and contra charges issued and see a recovery cost per project and per subcontractor.

A really beneficial tool to help manage site waste and recoup lost revenue - an example of creating a solution to fix a real-life problem with real time benefits!

A Recent Project...December 2016

Bespoke Software

Foundations Furniture

We've recently completed a revolutionary system for a Tyneside charity - Foundations Furniture. Foundations Furniture began in 1996 and help alleviate poverty by providing affordable home furnishings for those who need them most. Every year Foundations help around 480 households in Gateshead and collect around 70 tonnes of unwanted or usable furniture free of charge from local people helping divert it from landfill.

Foundations found that after many years if they wanted to help even more people they needed an efficient software system in place to allow them to manage ever more clients, stock and sales.

We met initially with Foundations, discussed all their requirements in detail and got to work producing a specification which outlined exactly what was to be achieved and how the application would work. The completed application allows Foundations to seamlessly handle donations from the public, sales of goods to the public, integrates with their own EPOS till system and also allows Foundations to sell goods via their own ebay shop - all from one CMS console.

Prior to having this bespoke system built Foundations relied upon multiple spreadsheets, Microsoft Word documents and lots and lots of memory power to keep everything together.

By implementing the new system the charity have minimised human error, removed repetition and reduced wasted time. They are now able to help even more individuals and families and continue their excellent work!

Off the Shelf vs. Bespoke SoftwareJuly 2016

Bespoke Software

Why Bespoke Software?

We only build bespoke software and we don't tend to 'Frankenstein' systems - taking disparate applications that don't quite fit a business and stitching them together to create something that 'almost' fits. Understandably we're often asked why can't you take 'A', attach it to 'B' and then connect it to 'C', it'll save our business a fortune, we don't need a fancy system tailored to us - its costly and unnecessary!

Its a good question and this mind set is understandable, uncomplicated, innovative and ultimately completely incorrect. It follows the maxim:

'For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong' - H. L. Mencken

The reasoning for applying this to off the shelf software is quite obvious if you think about it. Off the shelf software would work for every business, as long as the business involved promises to never change, intends to never grow and never wants to improve.

It will always 'almost fit' for an initial period but the day the business introduces a new way of working, a new process or decides to go in a new direction the fit is broken. The business has to fit the software to get the benefits.

With bespoke software it can grow, be altered, changed and be modified to the business as it grows, ensuring its giving the best return on an investment and ensuring it fits the business - not the other way round. In the long term its always cheaper as staff work more efficiently and processes have much less human error.

Nearly every business we work with has came to us because they use off the shelf software, be that Excel, Access or a stand alone product. The one other thing they all have in common is that off the shelf no longer fits them.

Onwards & Upwards - Developing Software in StocktonFebruary 2016

Stockton Fusion Hive

We've moved to Fusion Hive Stockton

After many successful years offering software development from our offices in Teesside we've now moved to Stockton Riverside to what we feel is one of the most impressive digital centres / office spaces within the North East.

Being a digital company we can work from anywhere but we felt that moving to such a brilliant place to work could only be good for us, our clients and the production of the software products we deliver. We're now fully settled in, and continuing to serve all our clients with brilliant software services in Stockton, Teesside, the North East and nationally.

Helping Individuals Via TechnologyNovember 2015

MAIN Mobile App


We recently completed an app, working alongside Better, for MAIN Teesside. The app is to be used to allow individuals with Autism to quickly access information and to receive immediate help and assistance in stressful or unfamiliar situations.

The app allows MAIN to populate an individuals SmartPhone with all the information that person needs when interacting with outside agencies and ensures that the user always has a 'touchstone' of familiarity to help them cope in their day to day lives. The MAIN staff can update the users devices in real time via an accompanying web application, thereby ensuring that all content is accurate, up to date and relevant.

Kelly Bainbridge who oversaw the project for MAIN says:

I worked with Sapere when they developed app based software for the charity I was running to support people with Autism. It was one of those moments were you build something in your head but think its probably not going to look like this in real life but when I saw the end product I was blown away. Not only was it what I had envisioned it was better than I could have ever realised. Sapere were very professional, kept to deadlines, informed me of progress and any barriers along with solutions. Would highly recommend Sapere and their work

Sapere Newsletter Qtr 1January 2016

Sapere Newsletter CRM

Happy New Year!

We hope this newsletter finds you and your staff well and ready to tackle 2016. 2015 was an exciting, interesting and busy year here at Sapere and we have no doubt 2016 will be the same. We’ve completed a number of mobile and web projects for both new and existing clients. Projects have varied in size and been commissioned from sectors as diverse as oil and gas, to education, to event management.

Highlights for 2015 have included:

Securing second round funding for AppyBunny

AppyBunny is a platform to allow any business to quickly produce and own their own mobile app allowing them to engage with customers via loyalty schemes and push messaging. We originally secured 100k of funding in 2015 and have now secured a further 50k with more to come after a proof of concept release of the product in 2016. We’re incredibly excited about this new service and are leveraging all our knowledge and experience with mobile apps to make sure the product is a massive success.

Helping build Better Futures for SEN Pupils

We decided to spin out a new business called Better Futures from Sapere offering a platform to help special needs schools manage the day to day progress of their students. Having completed many similar projects for other clients in the education sector we saw an opportunity in this much ‘technically underrepresented’ area to utilise people, technology and mobile devices to improve the lives of all concerned.

Completion of a bespoke Law Firm CRM

We completed a bespoke CRM for one of the regions leading Law Firms to allow them to manage all their marketing events and to manage their customers in a more efficient way. They now have a full management system for new and existing clients. This allows the Law firm to streamline new business from initial contact right through to being assigned a solicitor. This provides vital key performance indicators and stats to help the direction of any marketing spend and improve the overall efficiencies around this all-important area of business.

Highlights for 2016 will include:

Concentrating more on CRM’s and mobile integration.

As we specialise in software and apps for use by businesses we’ve noticed an ever increasing desire to link up staff and systems by making information available and allowing information to be gathered on the move. It’s a trend which is exponential year on year as the benefits to any business are massive. Many systems this year have been used to display information gathered on mobile devices and allow manipulation of that data for presentation to management.

Examples of this have included: Gathering images, interviews and video of problems on oil rigs using Android devices and producing management reports based on these findings. Tracking attendees at events using iPhones and then allowing real time distribution of information to the attendees whilst the event takes place.

Sapere Newsletter Qtr 3October 2015

Sapere Newsletter CRM

Sapere Newsletter - What is CRM?

The term CRM "Client Relationship Management" software is often used without any real understanding for what this means to a business. We must have been asked "do you build CRM's" hundreds of times over the years....

Our response to this question is always the same. "Yes....but what do you need the CRM to do?"

Invariably the answer is "I need a database to manage my clients, orders and marketing campaigns". Dig a little deeper and this turns into a great deal more than the headline. The CRM needs to talk to the accounts package, it needs to hook up with the existing ordering system or another legacy application or it needs to be accessible by staff who work remotely etc... And this, in essence is what a CRM is or at least should be. It should make the process of marketing and selling the products or services your business has seamless so you can maximise the amount of profit from the business.

CRM software can come in many different flavours from free 'off the shelf', paid for 'off the shelf' right through to a full bespoke option. Using the above example, neither of the 'off the' shelf package will fit the business needs. The only way to do this exactly is to build a bespoke system, otherwise this will erode any efficiency savings.

Bespoke vs Off the shelf?

Bespoke CRMs have many advantages over an 'off the shelf' package. Both the 'off the shelf' offerings will need to be customised to meet the precise needs of your business, they don't just work out of a box.

Off the shelf solutions might claim to fulfill all your business needs but it's impossible because every business is different and the solutions are restricted by their own frameworks.

So why not tailor the software to meet the exacting needs of the business to maximise the efficiencies software can bring.


With any of the CRM options there will be a cost whether directly or indirectly. The below illustration highlights the overall cost for each option.

The below is an example illustration highlighting the potential return for a team of 20 staff implementing a CRM to manage clients, orders, stock with links to a third party system for financials:

Paid for 'off the shelf' CRM *

  • Upfront cost £1,500
  • Annual licenses £1,000 x 20
  • Annual support & maintenance £2,500
  • 20hrs saved per week through efficiency savings **

Estimated 3 yr cost savings: £87,000+

Free 'off the shelf' CRM

  • Upfront cost £0
  • Annual licenses £0
  • Annual support & maintenance £1,000
  • 5hrs saved per week through efficiency savings **

Estimated 3 yr cost savings: £36,000

Bespoke CRM

  • Upfront cost £30,000
  • Annual licenses £0
  • Annual support & maintenance £1,800
  • 40hrs saved per week through efficiency savings **

Estimated 3 yr cost savings: £276,600+

This is a fairly basic example but demonstrates the real savings a bespoke CRM can have on the bottom line of a business. If the solution saved 2 hrs effort each week for each member of the team they can be busy generating more sales and increasing the profit margins!

* This is a mid range off the shelf package

** An arbitrary value of £50 per hour has been used for the example

New Innovative AppAugust 2015

iGather Mobile App

Introducing iGather!

Imagine the scenario - You're exhibiting at a four day trade show, take a bunch of business cards and do nothing with them. Back in the office the next week you get busy with the day to day job while the stack of business cards gather dust. A few more days pass and now the question of etiquette comes to mind 'should I contact this person, will they remember me....' A conundrum we've all experienced....the potential lead is now dead!

Introduce iGather to the scenario and you now have a tool that engages with the lead instantly, sending them a personalised email with relevant company literature.

Now you've engaged with the potential lead the moment they leave the stand the follow up call when back in the office should be a simpler process - they may even get in touch with you!

Now for the measurement part, iGather gives you real-time data on the type of interest your stand is generating, the lead type and the potential return on your investment!

A brilliant tool for measuring the success of your event!

Don't just take our word for it either:

"The new iGather app has really benefitted our company, lead follow-ups are instant and we now have access to the exhibition economics. A real insight and a total game-changer for our marketing spend and direction. We now know if we need to send more resource or less resource to next years exhibition. An app we couldn't now live without..." - Cathy Clark, Events and Sponsorship Manager - Keepmoat

Modifying Old AppsJuly 2015

Settle Carlisle Railway App

Out with the old app and onwards with the new!

We were recently approached by the Settle Carlisle Railway to update their iPhone app to work within Apple's new IOS 8 framework. The existing app allows passengers travelling on the historic line to listen to a guide of the local area as the train travels between Settle to Carlisle or Carlisle to Settle. The app over the years has proved very popular, however due to changes in technology the app needed bringing up to date and having it's content become more relevant and reflect the branding of the Settle Carlisle railway today.

As part of the work Sapere:

  • Modernised the layout and branding
  • Removed legacy functionality and added new functionality
  • Refactored the code for IOS 8
  • Rebuilt and resubmitted the app to Apple

Providing Better Project ManagementMay 2015

Sapere Project System

New Ways of Improving Our Offering

We've found over the years that managing any software project isn't easy and attempting to manage it using email is impossible! It's all too easy to lose information and collaboration is incredibly difficult. We looked at many commercial project management offerings but none were a good match for us and our clients. Like nearly all off the shelf systems they're developed to meet the needs of everyone adequately and therefore meet the needs of no one business particularly well.

This shouldn't really come as a surprise to a company that produces bespoke software (!) but it was a surprise just how poor most available solutions were. Nearly all were brimming with features we'd never use or were missing features we desperately needed. With this in mind we decided to produce our own to manage the full lifecycle of every project at Sapere from initial specification to rollout.

In development for over a year we feel it's now ready fully and whilst there have been teething issues it's increased our productivity massively and enables us to operate even leaner and react more quickly than ever before.

Key features of our bespoke project system include:

  • Mobile & desktop compatible - fully reactive design
  • Full managed of tasks and collaboration between clients and staff
  • Inclusive document management system
  • Bug tracking and issue management workflow

Appy Bunny - Funding Secured!October 2014

Appy Bunny

New Product & New Opportunities!

Funding has been secured now for our upcoming product - Appy Bunny. We're proud to report that the Appy Bunny team have achieved the full investment to start development of a revolutionary new product to enable small businesses to have their own app to promote their business.

The completed application will allow any business to:

  • Run their own loyalty scheme
  • Message their customers direct to appraise them of special offers
  • Detail their services and menu
  • Keep customers up to date with news and information

Aimee Willmott - The XX Commonwealth Games - Glasgow 2014July 2014

Aimee Willmott press shot

Teesside's right behind you, Aimee!

That's the message for swimming star Aimee Willmott, before she goes for gold in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

She is considered to be a big medal favourite across four events in Scotland. The 21-year-old's swimming career looks set to reach new heights. A pool of six very proud Teesside companies will keep Aimee in the swim after the Games, by providing professional guidance free of charge.

Other local firms are diving in with their support, from the likes of:

Chartered financial planners Active Financial
Chartered accountants Anderson Barrowcliff
Software development specialists Sapere
Sports injury specialists KT Tape UK
The Middlesbrough branch of Handelsbanken

Sapere Software took Aimee's existing one-page template website and transformed it into a professional multi page bespoke design. This new website has now become befitting to Aimee's ambitions for the Commonwealth and Olympic medals.

The group was created and brought together by Active Financial managing director Karl Pemberton, who was very keen to show Aimee that Teesside remain firmly behind her throughout not only the Commonwealth Games, but other oncoming competitions too.

"As a truly top athlete in her field, Aimee is a great ambassador for Teesside and the North-East" ; said Karl.

"She is already targeting the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil after the Commonwealth Games, so her career opportunities are likely to increase still further."

Despite the fact that she is moving to London after the Games, Aimee was determined that work stayed here in her hometown. Equally, this is our way of showing her that Teesside will be supporting her, no matter where in the world she might be in future. As her career develops, she will receive professional advice from leading Teesside firms, which can only be great news for the area and for Aimee".

Aimee, who is moving to London with her coach Lisa Bates, said:

This is such a massive boost for me ahead of the Commonwealth Games. The support of these local businesses means I can focus on my training in the pool instead of having to worry about other issues. It means so much to know that Teesside is right behind me in this way.

I've had such amazing support from people and would love to bring them back a medal or two from Glasgow. I'm a Teessider through-and-through and will remain that way, even when I move to London to continue my career development.

Aimee narrowly missed out on a place in the 400m Individual Medley final at both the London 2012 Olympics and the World Championships, will compete in four different events in Glasgow:

  • 400m Individual Medley - July 24th at 7:07 PM
  • 200m Individual Medley - July 27th at 8:09 PM
  • 200m Butterfly - July 28th at 8:32 PM
  • 400m Freestyle - July 29th at 7:07 PM

The opening day of The XX Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is Thursday 24th July.

Here, Aimee could be competing head-to-head with Scottish favourite Hannah Miley in the 400m Individual Medley, which is one of the first finals of the Games.