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Digital screens and self-service kiosks to create a dazzling customer experience
Doing it in-house
Neil Clark and Dean Ward were working in product design when they saw an opportunity to start their own customer experience business.
“We knew we wanted to make our own products. Then a kiosk project came along. We designed it like any other product but instead of handing all the manufacturing to China, we thought, ‘we can make this product ourselves.’”
The firm’s technology enabled McDonald’s to open a new type of restaurant, where orders are taken only by touchscreen.
Mark Mills, ex-chief executive of cash machine operator Cardpoint, was appointed as non-executive chair after an introduction by BGF.BGF Talent Network
From terminals to video walls
Neil and Dean decided to go for it and the success of the project spurred them to add a manufacturing line to their business. They founded Wirral-based Evoke in 2003. In the early days, the pair focused on self-service kiosks, doing all the design, manufacturing and procurement themselves. Since then, Evoke has been voted one of the 50 fastest growing companies in the north and has grown to a workforce of 100 people, including award-winning design engineers and software developers.
Today, the company works with some of the world’s largest brands, including JD Sports, McDonald’s and Google. It now designs, makes and supplies digital self-service kiosks, video walls, digital signs and payment terminals. Their products focus on maximising transaction conversion rates, improving customer experience and reducing costs. Evoke stands apart from its competitors by offering a fully bespoke service. “We do all the software and hardware design then assemble and deliver the product while also offering a maintenance service once it’s made,” Dean explains.
In the face of a changing market, Evoke has demonstrated impressive growth over the past few years. Dean estimates that Evoke has grown 30 per cent year-on-year but says it hasn’t been without its challenges. “You really have to consider everything – from procurement challenges to getting the right staff, to financing the business – and make sure you have robust processes in place.”
BGF's investment has helped Evoke to...
- Invest in a new sales and marketing team.
- Open an office in South Carolina, US.
To facilitate its growth, Evoke secured a £6 million cash injection from BGF in November 2018. “We pumped that investment into our sales channel,” Dean explains. “We invested heavily in a new sales and marketing team. Whereas in the past, we’ve been primarily reactive, the investment enabled us to become a lot more proactive.”
As part of the investment, Mark Mills, former chief executive of Cardpoint was appointed as non-executive chair, following an introduction through BGF’s Talent Network, alongside BGF’s Matt Widdall who joined the board as non-executive director. “They’ve been on board about seven months and we’re really seeing the formation of a good business partnership.”
They’ve been on board about seven months and we’re really seeing the formation of a good business partnership.
Dean Ward, Co-founder of Evoke
Invested by BGF to help the company grow.
The company is helping McDonald’s to deliver its pioneering self-service model. “We’ve been working with McDonald’s for five years and it’s been fantastic. Our biggest search term for new clients is ‘McDonald’s kiosks’.” In July 2019, Evoke’s self-service technology enabled McDonald’s to open its brand new ‘To Go’ restaurants in London where orders are taken only by touchscreen.
Looking to the future, Evoke has international expansion in its sights. In July 2019, the company made its first move into the US market opening an office in South Carolina to handle several large scale retail opportunities.
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