The business

Paperclip is the UK’s leading provider of student marketplaces, enabling thousands of students at over 42 UK university campuses to buy and swap their second hand items together.

With a market share of 30% currently in the UK university market, they have our sights set on a 70% market share by the end of 2020. The business has received significant investment backing from the Development Bank of Wales, Green Shores Capital, and some top UK angel investors such as David Buttress (former CEO of Just Eat) and Hayley Parsons (founder of GoCompare).


The brief

Paperclip’s CEO, Richard Woolley, had found that more and more of his time was being engulfed with accounts, payroll and VAT, along with the worry that comes with business financial planning and management. Having only three staff in the early years of business, outsourcing accountancy and HR hadn’t been a consideration, but as the business scaled, they found themselves swamped in the regulatory minefield of HR, alongside things like VAT, bookkeeping, EIS, R&D and general business management.


Our Approach

It was clear from the outset that there was a fundamental time saving exercise involved in onboarding Paperclip’s business administration tasks and finance functions. 

Due to the scale at which Paperclip was growing, and the fact that there were no HR policies or frameworks in place to support the employee headcount, we set up over fifteen company policies, together with a company handbook, which have proved their worth on many occasions.

We took over the R&D claims from another company who’s fees were higher and involved more of Paperclip’s involvement. For half the fee, and far less effort on Paperclip’s part, the R&D claim was received within two months, which not only saved them time and money, but also freed-up capital which allowed them to grow faster!

When a Seedrs crowdfunding campaign closed the round overfunded at 126%, there had been a slight discrepancy on the share price that Seedrs had set; an issue that could have potentially railroad the entire campaign. We resolved the issue swiftly, providing a solution that suited all parties.


EST have really gone above and beyond to make us aware of new COVID-19 support initiatives, from both local and national government; the team has been on hand to answer any queries we’ve had, and has taken a lot of the legwork (and translation!) out of applying for support that we’re eligible for.”