As some of you probably saw last month, we raised investment. We've been meaning to write about it, but as you can imagine the actual nuts and bolts of running a rapidly growing business have been getting in the way! If our last investment raise is anything to go by, this will be a major turning point for us and we wanted to share our plans for the future with our amazing community.
In December 2014 we received £50,000 by being a part of the Big Issue Invest's CSV Programme. Getting this funding allowed myself, Kathryn and Richard to start working full-time on Digital Mums - we had all been working in other jobs up until then. Having all three of us able to focus 100% of our attention on Digital Mums turbo-charged our business. We jumped to putting through 18 students every month. We piloted and launched a second programme.
Growing our business allowed us to grow our team significantly off the back of it. A year before our recent investment raise, we were a team of six people. As of last month we were 21 employees strong.
Our journey to getting this second round of investment hasn't been a simple process. We knew it wouldn't be straight-forward - everyone we spoke to told us it wouldn't be. But even so it was a long and winding road, a full-time job on top of everything else we're doing. A big reason for this was our goal of locking in our social mission so that 10% of all of our profits will always go back into a bursary fund for students that can't afford to join our programmes. The social enterprise space is still very early-stage and this added an extra layer of complexity to our investment raise as we're treading new ground to a large extent. But having this social element imprinted into Digital Mums' DNA was worth the extra effort needed to make it happen.
We're particularly pleased to have such an amazing group of people investing in us. Our lead investor is Martin Leuw, digital and social entrepreneur, and the former CEO of IRIS Software Group, which he took from an enterprise value of £30m to over £500m during his time there. Our next two investors are David Kershaw and Jeremy Sinclair, two of the founding members of one of the biggest agencies in the world, M&C Saatchi. Last but not least is Danielle Anderson, a business and start-up coach who brings a wealth of practical business expertise and know-how to our team.
A seriously inspiring group that we're extremely proud to have on board with our vision for the future.
What we'll be using our investment for
A lot can happen in a year and that initial investment was responsible for a lot of our initial growth. Receiving this second round of investment is exciting because it's going to turbo-charge our efforts once again.
We'll be making our training even better (interactive videos anyone?), growing much more quickly, increasing the social impact we make, and reaching more mums and businesses across the UK.
We've recruited a Social Impact Officer (the lovely Tasneem) to help us design and set up our bursary fund. We've put through seven students so far on full bursaries, and we'll be refining the process and awarding even more bursaries in the future.
We're also training up eight new tutors to help us deliver our training, all seriously impressive and inspiring women. We've also hired a Head of Storytelling to help us better tell our story as we grow.
We'll also be casting our gaze overseas. From the very beginning we were always pleasantly surprised by the response we had from mums outside of the UK. A lack of inspiring work options that fits around family life is clearly not a uniquely British phenomenon.
We’ve had mums from all over the world - from the US to Japan, the Middle East and everywhere in between - get in touch to ask when we would be available in their particular country. In fact, we had so much interest from Australia that we very nearly launched a pilot there a year ago (cooler heads prevailed as we realised that we’d be too over-stretched). So far, we haven't had the capacity or the time to think about moving beyond the UK. This investment is going to allow us to do just that.
We are so proud of what we’ve managed to do in a relatively short space of time and we know this is another massive step for us. So a huge thanks to our investors, our team, and our amazing community without whom none of this would be possible - here's to bigger and better things.