HR platform set to create a buzz with the help of £780k investment
A software platform that helps businesses to connect with staff is aiming to double in size after raising a £780,000 investment.
WorkBuzz has secured the funding from Mercia and Foresight, both investing through equity finance from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) alongside private investors. The Milton Keynes-based company, which currently employs 16 staff, is planning to create 15 new jobs this year – and to achieve 100% growth in each of the following two years.
The funding will also allow the company to add new features to its platform and establish a network of overseas partners to increase its international reach.
WorkBuzz helps organisations to engage employees, whether they working from home or in the office or factory, and provides real-time feedback to help making business decisions. The platform was launched in 2018 by Steven Frost and arose from his experience in running an employee engagement consultancy. Take-up has grown quickly and it is now used by clients including Shell, Premier Foods and HS2.
As part of the investment, Jeremy Tipper – a serial entrepreneur with experience in HR tech companies – has been appointed as Chair.
Steven Frost, CEO of WorkBuzz, said:
“The world of work is changing, with many people working remotely and using video calls or emails to communicate. WorkBuzz helps companies to navigate these challenges and build great cultures. Our vision is to improve the working lives of 1 million people, and this investment round will help us to make it happen sooner.”
Stephen Windsor of Mercia added:
“WorkBuzz has been on exciting growth journey to date and has ambitious plans for the future. This investment will help support Steven and the team as they continue to scale the business. As part of the deal, we were also able to introduce a new Chair from the Mercia network who brings valuable experience to help them along the way.”
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at the British Business Bank, said:
“Finance from the MEIF can help businesses to unlock growth and explore new opportunities. It’s great to see the Fund having this impact, enabling WorkBuzz to continue its rapid expansion, while creating new jobs in the region. We would encourage other Midlands’ businesses to consider MEIF funding for growth.”
Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive of SEMLEP, commented:
“Taking care of employee wellbeing and retaining talent are key aspects of running a successful business, especially as we all adapt to the new way of working. This MEIF investment will enable WorkBuzz to further bring teams together in an easy, flexible way while unlocking job opportunities in Milton Keynes.”
Alistair Hammerton of Shoosmiths provided legal advice to Mercia.
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
Head of Marketing & Communications
Mercia Asset Management PLC
+44 (0) 7464 480 137
+44 (0) 161 860 6063
+44 (0) 780 163 9816
About Mercia Asset Management PLC
Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group’s ‘Complete Connected Capital’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.
The Group has a strong UK footprint through its regional offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia currently has c.£800million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over £96million into its direct investment portfolio. Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC”.
The Group raises its own Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.
Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC” and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries –
- Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
- Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
- EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560
The Future Fund was established to support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The Future Fund, now closed to new applications, provides UK-based companies with convertible loans, on the condition that third-party investors at least match the Government’s commitment. The convertible loans are designed to convert into equity at the next qualifying funding round. The Future Fund is developed by government and delivered by the British Business Bank.
About the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF)
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund will invest in Debt Finance, Small Business Loans, Proof of Concept and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.
The MEIF covers the following LEP areas: Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, The Marches, and Worcestershire in the West Midlands; and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Greater Lincolnshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, and South East Midlands in the East Midlands.
The project is receiving up to £78,550,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
The funds in which Midlands Engine Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, the West Midlands and East & South East Midlands.
The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb
About the British Business Bank
- The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.
- The British Business Bank’s core programmes support nearly £8bn of finance to almost 94,800 smaller businesses. Since March 2020, the British Business Bank has also launched four new Coronavirus business loan schemes, delivering almost £73bn of finance to around 1.6m businesses.
- As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success.
- In light of the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit, the Finance Hub has expanded and it now targets a wider business audience. It continues to provide information and support for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses, but now provides increased content, information and products for businesses in survival and recovery mindsets. The Finance Hub has been redesigned and repositioned to reflect this, during this period of economic uncertainty.
- British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. It is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at www.british-business-bank.co.uk
 Figures as at end of June 2020
2 Figures as at 28 January 2021