Members Spotlight Interview: RO Group

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In our latest spotlight interview, we spoke with RO Group Commercial Director, Steve White about thriving through diversity of interest and RO Group’s secret to longevity.

RO Group is an early stage investor with a clearly differentiated offering that draws on the extensive entrepreneurial experience of the RO Group.  They have a significant real estate platform underpinning the business and provide broad based commercial experience borne out of 90 years of investment activity in over 25 different sectors.

Q: RO Group is an entrepreneurial family company which has been in business for 90 years, tell us about the secret to RO Group’s longevity

A: There are many well-known multi-generational family businesses that have thrived over the decades with a focus on one product or one specific area of business. The RO, however, is a family run business that has always enjoyed a diversity of interest having been involved in more than 30 different businesses over its 90 year history. Since the inception of its trading and property enterprise in 1932, the RO has always maintained a varied portfolio of interconnected businesses that have then spawned new opportunities and areas for further expansion. Our history is therefore characterised by evolution rather than revolution, adapting to change and moving with the times. 

Q: How has your approach to longevity evolved and persisted to where it is today?

A: Since the start of 2020 we have launched three new RO businesses in land, early-stage venture capital and more recently a nascent renewable energy initiative. All three of the new activities have been born from the same core RO principle of being ‘In business to do business’ as well as an appreciation that as an organisation we cannot continue to do tomorrow what we did yesterday. The business world is being increasingly disrupted by the twin challenges of technology and climate change and we need to adapt and develop in step with this evolution.

The RO has evolved through nine decades of being ‘In business to do business’ moving with the times and cultivating new investment opportunities. With technology and the environment driving change within the business world at an ever-increasing rate the RO is well placed to provide both the playing field and network to support and grow the next generation of RO businesses.

Q: Tell us about what you are currently investing in

A: Our early-stage venture capital arm, RO Capital Partners (“ROCP”), has a clear focus on PropTech, CleanTech and FinTech business opportunities where the RO’s existing real estate infrastructure and portfolio of business interests are used to add value to those investments. As a result, and beyond just passive investment, the RO always seeks an active engagement with all its investee companies looking to create opportunity and value wherever possible. 

To date we have made four investments with aspirations to grow to a portfolio of 8-10 businesses directly relevant to the current, and evolving RO Group interests. 


Bamboo Auctions – a provider of white label software and data analytics to facilitate online auctions for the estate agency industry.


EcoSync – a cleantech business founded by Oxford University engineers. The business’s dynamic energy management platform adapts temperature control to changing occupancy levels in commercial buildings. 


Sqft Capital – a technology platform created to give property developers a quicker, more transparent route to structure their development finance, then filtering and presenting the opportunity to the right lenders and investors.


InferSens – an ultra-affordable and easy to use IoT sensing solution that monitors water temperature and flow within pipes thereby simplifying compliance with statutory water monitoring obligations and saving water in the process.

Q: What are you looking for when making a new investment? 

A: While ROCP looks for new investments in our three chosen areas there are also opportunities that present themselves that might not become investments for various reasons but nonetheless are products or services where the RO can become a customer. This is a key additional consideration when assessing opportunities, enabling ROCP to act as an important catalyst for change and further innovation within the wider RO business.

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