First Mile

Recycling services provider

London, Midlands
Date of investment
May 2017
GCP team members
Contributing Sustainable Development Goals


First Mile is an environmental services company that helps businesses reduce their carbon impact with a range of recycling, waste and circular economy services.  First Mile has a differentiated approach to waste and recycling collections with a specialist focus on supporting businesses operating in city centre locations through a high level of customer service.  They use technology to efficiently & cost effectively collect multiple waste streams daily across London & Birmingham.

The company was founded in 2004 by CEO, Bruce Bratley; we partnered with Bruce and the management team through an investment in May 2017 to support the business in driving rapid sales growth and supporting the scaling of its infrastructure.

Our investment partnership

First Mile has developed a well-managed operational platform that enables it to deliver an essential service, drive exceptional customer satisfaction and continue to scale.  This provides the business with a compelling market position in a very large and resilient market.

First Mile has a track record of excellent growth, driven by winning new customers, existing customer repeat spend and low churn.  It has achieved a very strong position in the London market, where agility and flexibility of fleet and service is paramount.  The business has also expanded its footprint with operations in Birmingham and strong partnerships nationwide.

The business continues to develop its broader environmental offering to become a leader on sustainability issues.

Strategic support through our Growth Toolkit

Since our investment we have closely supported Bruce and his team with numerous strategic growth initiatives, leveraging our Growth Toolkit and Network:

People & Organisation

  • Recruitment of CFO with subsequent development of the finance function and management reporting
  • Recruitment of experienced Chair from GCP network
  • Strengthening of senior leadership team to focus on goals of driving customer success and supporting growth

Funding for growth

  • GCP led banking process to refinance incumbent lender and secure additional liquidity during the pandemic

Driving Growth

  • Investment in significant sales resource to drive accelerated growth
  • Development of digital marketing strategy to build brand and support sales initiatives
  • Increased use of data to proactively engage customers, supporting both growth and customer retention

Systems & Processes

  • Investment in new CRM system to enhance customer engagement and automate marketing
  • Investment in new ERP system to support internal processes and improve reporting
  • Ongoing project to upgrade operational IT systems, enhancing automation of route planning and driver interactions

Doing the right thing - our role in sustainable investing

  • B Corp certification was received in May 2023, becoming one of the first businesses in its field to have the accolade. This recognised the team’s commitment to creating positive social and environmental change.
  • Working with CEO Bruce Bratley to raise awareness of the wider impact of climate change and how First Mile delivers solutions to support the transition to net zero for its clients.
  • Implementation of electric and other non-fossil fuel vehicles (including bicycle collections) to reduce carbon emissions, especially within city centres and for large corporate clients who are looking to accelerate their path to net zero.
  • Establishment of a Driver Academy to train a new workforce and to bring people from diverse backgrounds into the industry through upskilling and reskilling.

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