Making it Work: Custran plans to expand into post-Brexit customs market
Custran, the Cork-based company that helps UK and Irish businesses complete customs declarations, aims to raise up to € 500,000 in a funding round to fund expansion of its UK business.
The company, created in 2017 by Kieran Gleeson and Steve Merrick, has already raised € 500,000 in recent months and is now targeting new investments in the next four months.
Customs requirements for Irish and UK businesses are expected to tighten over the next few years due to Brexit, and Custran expects a sharp increase in the number of customs declarations processed in Ireland and the UK.
“Brexit changed everything,” Gleeson said. He explained that previously there were around 1.5 million customs declarations processed in Ireland each year. “After Brexit it is expected to rise to around 20 million,” he said.
Many companies are grappling with the challenges of the new business environment, and Gleeson, who has spent years working in freight transportation, said there was a “real lack of knowledge” about procedures. customs.
While Custran isn’t the only company offering software to businesses to help them complete customs declarations more efficiently, it is trying to carve out a niche for itself by providing industry-specific advice on how to meet new requirements.
“There are a lot of good training programs in Ireland and Britain right now, but they’re pretty general,” Gleeson said. “It’s not specific to an industry that a business may be in. We hear that directly from our customers.”
Working with a network of trainers, Custran shows businesses how to use its software to create the templates they need to accurately submit returns to the Irish Revenue Service (Ros) online and to UK Tax and Customs.
The Irish Ros system has digitized all returns since 2005, but parts of Britain still use manual processing i.e. phone calls, emails and faxes.
“Britain is still quite behind in many of its processes,” Gleeson said. “There are a lot of easements that won’t be there next year, and there are a lot of checks that will be more stringent in the future. Brexit is still ongoing.
With the growing number of permutations and requests for companies doing business between Ireland and Britain, Custran believes he is entering the market at the right time with a combination of software and “how-to” advice for business people. companies that need it.
Halfway through a roundtable, he hopes to use the additional investment to expand his marketing and sales efforts in Britain and hire a small number of new employees.
He is already supported by Enterprise Ireland and also works with Teamwork Catalyst, the Cork-based coworking space. “They have been very good to us over the past two years, in terms of mentoring and product development,” said Gleeson.
In the long term, Custran hopes to expand its operations beyond Ireland and Great Britain and into European markets including France, Germany and the Netherlands.