John Jones: Why one firm has no truck with violence

Meet the couple who set up a company to fight violent crime against lorry drivers
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The Independent Online

John Jones, 48, is a former lorry driver based in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Together with Debbie Jones, 48, he started Protek-dor Ltd in 2001 (0870 190 00 10; www.protekdor.co.uk)

John Jones, 48, is a former lorry driver based in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Together with Debbie Jones, 48, he started Protek-dor Ltd in 2001 (0870 190 00 10; www.protekdor.co.uk)

People offer many reasons for starting a business. But being gassed? That's a new one. Yet that was exactly what prompted John and Debbie Jones to start their own company, Protek-dor Ltd. "Attackers used tubing to feed a toxic gas into my cab whilst I slept," explains John. "Being gassed once was bad enough, but being gassed a second time, some months later, made me think seriously about what could be done to protect drivers."

And so trucker-turned-inventor John came up with two devices: Kab-gard, that protects the cab door window, and Lok-gard that secures the door handle and lock against attack. Truckers loved the products. Ian Swanwick of John Blackstock Transport says: "I stopped for a coffee before crossing the border out of Spain and when I returned to my truck I caught three men trying to break the locks. There is no doubt that if the Lok-gards had not been in place, I would have been returning to either an empty vehicle or no vehicle at all."

Initial funding for the venture came from around £30,000 of John and Debbie's savings together with a business loan for another £30,000 using the family home as security. The problem for the business was that generating income was difficult without first having the cash to order large production runs of product and to fund a sales campaign. The business had reached a critical point in its development: it needed to raise finance to fund growth.

Since the company had real growth potential, the solution was to raise equity finance through the sale of shares (or equity) to investors. In order to do that, the company needed "investor ready" business documents. These documents, the holy trinity of all equity financings, are: a business plan; a cash flow forecast; and a funding presentation.

Debbie Jones got professional help with these key documents and then approached potential investors. Ted Mott, founder of Oxford Capital Partners, liked what he saw and set about helping the business secure long-term development funding.

A substantial injection of cash from equity finance will help the business to reach its full potential. But that comes at a price. By selling shares in their business, Debbie and John Jones will have to make room for other people in the decision-making process. However, the best "business angel" investors usually have vital business experience to offer and will lend credibility to your business.

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