Facilities management firm Just Ask lands £9m funding

Investment will be used to secure partnerships with more housing associations in a bid to accelerate growth

Just Ask, a facilities management business, has received a £9m investment from Bridges Fund Management in exchange for a majority stake in the company.

Founded in 2002, Just Ask works exclusively with housing associations, providing cleaning and general grounds maintenance services. Today it employs nearly 450 people and serves over 50,000 homes – mainly across the South-East of England.

Following the introduction of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, housing associations are increasingly concerned with social value for residents when using third party services. Just Ask aims to increase the wellbeing of local residents through community projects and improving their local environment, creating new jobs and apprenticeship opportunities in the process.

With this funding, Just Ask will boost growth by working with more housing association customers across a wider geographic area, whilst ensuring it remains focused on social value. In order to help achieve this, Bridges has worked with the company's management to create system that rewards the financial and the social value the team creates.

As part of the investment, Jonathan Simpson-Dent – most recently chief commercial officer of Cardtronics – has become non-executive chairman at Just Ask.

Andrew Shiel, managing director and co-founder at Just Ask, said: “We felt Bridges were the ideal partner to support us through the next phase of our growth. It was very quickly clear that they understood our business, share our values and approach, and have a similar vision of what Just Ask can achieve.”

James Hurrell, investment director at Bridges, added: “Just Ask really stood out within this market because of its specialist housing association focus, its track record of growth and its reputation as a best-in-class quality operator. This is a great example of a business where helping to tackle a big social challenge – in this case, creating jobs and improving wellbeing outcomes for an underserved population – can also drive strong commercial growth.”