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DRIVE Software Solutions gears up for expansion with new CEO and funding

DRIVE Software Solutions has secured new funding to help gear up for global expansion as it also appoints former Sandicliffe Motor Contracts MD Alastair Houston as CEO.

Alastair Houston, CEO of DRIVE Software Solutions

The firm, the developer and supplier of the DRIVE fleet management and leasing software product and the ODO SaaS (software as a service) solution, has secured funding from leading Swiss investment firm VIVA Investment Partners (VIP), which will be used to accelerate its growth on a global basis in the emerging digital transportation space.

In addition, Alastair Houston joins as CEO to oversee this next growth stage, drawing on more than 30 years’ experience in the automotive sector. Prior to his most recent role at Sandicliffe Motor Contract, Houston was at Northgate Plc where he held a number of executive roles, including UK business transformation director and managing director at multiple Northgate subsidiary businesses. He’s credited with having successfully executed profitable sales growth strategies and has extensive asset management experience.

Commenting on his new position, Houston said: “The automotive sector is currently going through a period of unprecedented change, with ensuing fragmentation and confusion within the marketplace.

“The proactive delivery of these SaaS solutions through our ODO platform, coupled with cost optimisation, will enable the transformation of both businesses’ and consumers’ vehicle management from what is often a painful exercise today into a simple service usage experience.

“ODO is a brilliant and simple solution to unite fleet providers, services and end-users seamlessly. We have a unique product and are thrilled to now have the financial strength and global expertise that VIP brings to the business.

“We feel that the securing of this funding during these uncertain political times should be seen as an extremely positive move for the British economy,” he said.

Martin Drake, co-founder and director of DRIVE, said that the new backers would enable the management team to take the business forward to the next stage of its development.

“With ODO, we believe that we have an excellent opportunity to bring order to a disrupted marketplace, while this new backing allows us to expand the scale of the business and our marketing support for it. With the global financial expertise of VIP and the sales, operations and industry expertise of our new CEO, we firmly believe we now have a clear cutting edge within the fleet and automotive sectors,” he said.

Rene Eichenberger, chairman of VIVA Investment Partners, which also includes Crossbow, Horizon21, ClearSky, Acron, Sterling Partners and Sargon Capital, also commented: “Through two decades of venture capital and fund management experience, I have helped to build hundreds of firms and worked with management teams to realise their firms’ potential. DRIVE fits our criteria for success, and our funding enables it to expand globally.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006.