London's Voices.com attracts $18 million US investment
The investment could mean tripling staffing at the London company, possibly acquiring a second company
One of London's biggest digital success stories, Voices.com, has received a strong vote of confidence from a global venture capitalist allowing its founders to muse about tripling staffing levels and buying more assets.
Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital has invested $18 million US in the local firm.
Voices.com says the funds will be used to extend its global operations, expand its client base and enhance its proprietary technology.
"It's the first institutional capital that we've been able to raise," said CEO and co-founder David Ciccarelli. "This is really a financial partner that's going to be with us for years to come."
Voices.com connects global buyers of audio and voice-over products online with more than 200,000 voice actors in over 100 languages and dialects. The company was founded in London in 2005 by Ciccarelli and his wife, Stephanie, who now serves as the chief brand officer.
David Ciccarelli said the investment will allow the company to grow its sales and marketing efforts and explore some strategic acquisitions, including "maybe buying a company and rolling it into part of what we do."
Voices.com currently employs 100 people at its London headquarters, and Ciccarelli said he expects that number to triple within the next five years. Most of the hiring, he said, will be done locally.
"We're confident there's amazing talent here in the city of London," he said, referring specifically to Western University, the Ivey Business School and Fanshawe College.
Cicccarelli said Voices.com currently has openings in customer service, sales, marketing and engineering.
Staying in London
The company's headquarters will remain in London.
"We have customers in over 130 different countries and we've been able to service them by phone and email. That's really the beauty of being able to do business over the internet."
Morgan Stanley's investment gives it a minority ownership position in his firm, said Cicccarelli.
He said he and his wife want to have control over their own destiny but he adds the pair is "really excited" about the expertise they offer.
"They're arguably one of the biggest brand names in the investment banking world."