The UK’s leading party planning platform is ready to make an even bigger noise after securing a six-figure investment from the North East Growth Capital Fund Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund.

Gateshead-headquartered PoptopUK is the only event marketplace in the world to provide an instant booking service to its clients and suppliers, using technology that it developed and built itself.

Having recorded 300% year-on-year growth over the last year, PoptopUK is now looking to scale up even faster by working with suppliers to enhance the services they offer and increasing the range of exclusive experiences that are only available via its platform.

It has worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in the £150,000 Growth Capital Fund investment via the Recovery Loan Scheme, which will support the development of new ideas and services and enable PoptopUK to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

PoptopUK was founded by CEO Eugene Shestopal when he moved to the North East from Ukraine in 2015.

It has a second office in Kyiv, with 37 people currently working across the two locations, and up to ten new North East jobs are expected to be created as the business expands.

PoptopUK primarily focuses on private events for up to 40 people, although it also works with a number of companies on smaller corporate events.

Customers are able to specify the type, location and size of event that they want to hold, with the resulting curated list of ideas and experiences designed to provide a range of inspiring options.

It currently has around 3,000 active suppliers on its web portal and will be looking to further increase this number as part of its growth strategy.

Eugene Shestopal, who had worked in the party planning industry for over a decade before setting up PoptopUK, says: “We originally saw a chance to fill a gap in the market and have successfully grown the brand over the last seven years to be right at the forefront of our industry.

“After two years during which it’s often been difficult, if not impossible, for people to hold in person events, we know the enthusiasm for the services, events and experiences we provide has never been greater.

“What we want to do now is use the experience we’ve gathered on what people want to help our suppliers enhance what they offer and create experiences that will amaze our customers and keep them coming back for more.

“Taking more ownership in this way means we have total confidence that the recommendations we make will be backed up by what the customer actually experiences and will encourage them to book their events through us again and again.

“Our bespoke booking system was designed to give us the flexibility needed to adapt what we offer, and we are now in the perfect position to act straight away when new opportunities and idea come our way.

“Working with the NEL team proved to be a very smooth process and they provided the right financial options for the growth plans that we’re now putting into action.”

Jane Siddle, senior investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds:“Despite all the challenges that the pandemic has thrown at the leisure sector, PoptopUK has been able to keep making extremely impressive progress and well set to do even better through this year and beyond.”

The North East Growth Capital Fund has been designed to create around 790 jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the programme and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.