Hi-tech transportation firm protects Souter financial investment

A company providing technology-enabled coach and minibus travel has secured multi-million-pound funding from the family investment office of Stagecoach co-founder and chairman Sir Brian Souter.

CoachHire.com has netted the £3.75 million sum from Souter Investments to accelerate the development and rollout of its technology, with a suite of apps for drivers, ­parents and school staff to safeguard pupils on their way to and from school.

It comes as the venture looks set to turn over more than £10m next year, after its ­education tech packages drove recent growth, with its annualised revenues exceeding £7m this year.

The firm also aims to add more than 60 schools to its customer base and create 50 jobs in 2018. The education tech transport specialist said its flagship SchoolSafe software uses tracking and travel technology to alert parents when their child boards their school coach and where they are while on board, receiving notifications in case of traffic disruptions and delays. It also stated that it saves parents time and schools money.

CoachHire.com managing director and founder Mathew Hassell said: “We’re pleased that Souter Investments shares our vision and sees the potential in CoachHire.com.

“We’re dedicated to improving the safety, usability and value for money of school transport services and we now have the backing to realise these ambitions for schools across the country.”

Founded in 2011, the firm ­provides technology-led ­passenger transport services, vehicle tracking and passenger safeguarding solutions to the education, corporate and leisure sectors nationwide through its software.

John Berthinussen, investment director at Souter Investments, said: “CoachHire.com represents an ­exciting opportunity for Souter Investments to support a fast-growing, dynamic and innovative ­business with a highly ­entrepreneurial and passionate management team. We look forward to supporting Mathew and his team for the next phase of growth.”

CoachHire.com is also a managed transport service provider for the corporate sector and an online broker of bus, coach, minibus and other travel and vehicle hire for the leisure sector.

Souter founded Stagecoach with sister Ann Gloag, ­starting in 1980 with two second-hand buses and now boasting about 35,000 employees.

Its JVs include Virgin Rail Group and Scottish Citylink, and it operates in North America.