As Sam Burgess added more moving parts to his scaling Manchester tech firm, he realised that removing complexity would be key to its success.

The CEO and Army veteran, who founded SamsonVT with Ed Brunyee following a chat over a beer, took the decision to rebrand the company in line with one of its tech platforms.

The company, focused on assisting automotive repairs, had two elements – aftermarket sales platform Partful and 3D work instructions platform Workflo – and in May announced that the former would be its flagship brand name.

“There was confusion over the SamsonVT name: some people thought it had something to do with Samsung, while others thought that I had named the company after myself – Sam’s son! – which wasn’t true,” he explains to BusinessCloud.

“The name came from a samson post – a central pillar [on a ship’s deck] which everything’s tied to. That concept remains for Partful, but the name just isn’t right for where we’re trying to get to.

“The sales team would spend 30 seconds to a minute at the start of every call having to explain the journey [and concept around the business], which wasn’t ideal.”

Partful – Explode. Click. Buy. Fix. In seconds.

Burgess – not to be confused with his namesake, the England dual-code rugby legend – had the idea for the name Partful after listening in to his sales director’s calls: “He would say ‘parts order fulfilment’ over and over again. I scribbled it down. 

“Now, listening to the sales guys [using the name Partful rather than SamsonVT], I can hear them engaging with the customer straightaway – it’s easy to associate what we’re trying to do with the Partful brand name.”

Fast growth

The firm, which topped our FactoryTech 50 ranking this year, works with leading manufacturers to integrate its platforms, therefore allowing their customers to identify parts for repair and how to go about replacing these.

By integrating Workflo within the Partful product, the result is an end-to-end repair and maintenance support tool: the 3D visualisation platform helps customers to quickly identify the part accurately and order from manufacturers in an instant, while the integration of work instructions will also help users to easily fit the part in a fraction of the time. 

FactoryTech 50 – UK’s most innovative manufacturing technology creators

Partul has grown rapidly. “We’ve hired right across the board – a CTO, a head of customer success, head of marketing, head of finance. It’s amazing to think, as I rattle off that list, that I was doing all of those roles before!” says Burgess. 

“We’ve also built teams under them… we now have a fully fledged development team. With a strong team behind me, I’m now able to step out – put my head above the parapet – and make strategic calls. 

“We’ve moved from a couple of guys building the platform into a fully functioning business unit, which is exciting.”

Simplifying sales

While building a workforce of approaching 50 staff has been key to its plans, it also became necessary to simplify the sales process.

“We’re still finding our feet – when I think about where we’ll end up, we’re still in the transition phase,” admits the CEO. “There are a million books and podcasts about how to scale a business, but the key thing that I’ve learned is to take all that great advice then apply those principles to your unique business case.

“For example, we got some sales consults in and they were amazing – they introduced us to value selling, and we’ve now implemented those principles – but there was a little bit too much complexity, too many stages in the sales process, for what we were trying to do. 


“We had seven or eight stages, and it was just too many… we learned how to then simplify that process more in line with the value of what our customers are spending, and their purchasing processes as well.”

Partful, founded in 2017, was initially bootstrapped then funded by angel investment, crowdfunding and Innovate UK grants. A $5.1m seed funding at the start of 2022 was led by Par Equity, with participation from US-based Blumberg Capital.

Series A

Now closing a further round of investment, Burgess is eyeing a Series A next year to launch fully into the United States and Europe.

“Our contracted value revenue is touching a million pounds – most of that will convert to recurring revenue,” he says. “We’re gearing up for a Series A round of funding next year sometime.

“To achieve our ambition of becoming the next Manchester unicorn we need to expand our market. We’re currently focused on automotive and vehicles. When we take on new funding that will enable us to expand into the US a lot more… we’ve already taken on a number of US customers, which is super exciting, and we’re getting transactions through our platform in the US as well.”

The company, which now has 28 customers, has introduced automation into the creation of its 3D parts catalogue. “Before, we were selling services, whereas now we’re filling the SaaS space thanks to this. 

“That’s what’s going to propel us into this global scene.”

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