The founder of leading UK homeworking travel agency Travel Counsellors has made a “significant” investment in technology supplier Inspiretec.

David Speakman, who cut his ties with Travel Counsellors in June last year after disposing of his stake in the business he founded in 1994, has also joined the Inspiretec board as a non-executive director.

The technology supplier said the investment comes at it is poised to enter the next stage of “strategic growth” and it revealed it is preparing to launch a next-generation travel retail technology platform at this year’s World Travel Market.

Announcing the investment, the amount of which was undisclosed, as Inspiretec hosted key trade partners at its 2019 Customer Experience Day in London, Speakman said:

“Since leaving Travel Counsellors I have been looking at setting myself a fresh challenge in the industry I love. Technology continues to change how the consumer engages with travel, however, I think this is only the beginning of a much bigger revolution.

“The opportunity that presents itself now is how technology can be harnessed to empower the agent or the consumer and give them a seamless, efficient, knowledgeable and emotionally satisfying booking experience.”

Headquartered in Cardiff, Inspiretec provides a portfolio of services and technologies to travel firms, including the widely used Travelink booking and reservation system, the Holistic CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, and web design agency Sequence.

As well having its main base in Wales, the firm has offices in Toronto and London and today its technology supports over £2 billion of transactions for over 2.5 million travellers a year across the globe.

Recent new Inspiretec customers include dnata Travel Europe, Shearings and Caravan & Motorhome Club who join existing customers including Abercrombie & Kent, Visit Britain, Travelopia and the Ski Club of Great Britain.

Simon Powell, chief executive of Inspiretec, said: “We’re delighted that David has decided to invest in Inspiretec and also become a non-executive director on our board. His experience is unrivalled and his knowledge of the travel industry is second to none.

“When I brought Inspiretec together, we knew we’d have a period of rapid growth that would need a subsequent consolidation phase to create a sound platform to support profitable organic growth.

“Now we’ve done that, and we’ve had a great year seeing both top and bottom-line growth, David joining us is a key part of our next phase of strategic growth.

“Inspiretec has its roots in the retail industry and it was only in the last decade that we focused more on the tour operator space.

“However, today we are pleased to announce that in 2020 we will be launching the next generation of retail system and David’s expertise in this area will prove invaluable as we take this to market. More details will be unveiled at Word Travel Market in November”.

Having founded Travel Counsellors, Speakman grew the double Queens Award-wining business to 1,600 self-employed Travel Counsellor consultants working from home across seven countries.

Speakman joins Hayley Parsons, founder of consumer comparison site GoCompare, and Derek Jacobson, of Westminster Capital, in having a significant minority equity interest in Inspiretec.

“Inspiretec is a business that is going places – it understands the nuances of the travel industry and the consumer and it has the technology and know-how to help brands deliver enriched customer experiences,” he said.

MoreSpecial Report: Inspiretec forecasts £10m turnover

Travel Counsellors acquired by Vitruvian Partners