Monday, July 22, 2013

News: U-Explore out of administration

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Rotherham education specialist, U-Explore, has been bought out of administration in a pre-pack deal.

U-Explore specialises in enabling schools to deliver reality based careers information, advice and guidance. Their U-Explore national school product is an innovative software solution which engages with young people through cutting edge media.

The platform has been cited by Ofsted as outstanding and has 275,000 users throughout the country.

The company founder and CEO, Andy Pickles, is also the lead sponsor of Maltby Academy in Rotherham.

Begbies Traynor was appointed as administrators in June after the company began experiencing difficulties when the Government changed the statutory duty for career guidance from local authorities to individual schools, with funding withdrawn in September 2012.

A report by the administrators showed that U-Xplore Ltd's administration was brought by Santander who withdrew their banking facilities with the firm having an unpaid £141,000 debt to HMRC and eventually had unsecured creditors of £415,000.

Founder of the company and director, Andy Pickles, had been trying to find investment and buyers for the now loss-making company but was not helped by a dispute with fellow director, Allan Livesey.

Only one potential investor came forward, the MBL Group, who offered £125,000, a figure far short of the £2m they paid for just a 15% share in 2010, but negotiations fell away.

In May, the company vacated its Templeborough offices and employees were sent home. The company had defaulted on several contracts.

However, in June the company was saved in a pre-pack deal, with a newly-created company, U-Explore Limited, acquiring the intellectual property and contracts for £43,000.

The new company has directors of Matthew Reilly and Stephen Smith of the business communications specialist, Daisy Group, and Andy Pickles is to continue his involvement in the management of the new company.

Andy began his career at 16 in the music industry, where he started out as a sound engineer and progressed to become a successful music producer, DJ, record company boss and even 80s pop star with three number ones to his name as part of Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers. He developed the software business through Investors in Education, part of The Music Factory Entertainment Group and U-Xplore was established as a separate firm in 2008.

In 2009, the now called U-Explore moved into new offices at Templeborough, had doubled their workforce and grew their network three fold.

U-Explore website

Images: U-Explore

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