Australia’s leading mentoring software platform Mentorloop recently announced plans to set up an office in the U.K., following a 12-month period of strong business growth.
Since Mentorloop closed its $725,000 seed round in November 2017, led by Blackbird Ventures, rampersand and Tempus Partners, the company has almost doubled its full-time staff (from 6 to 11) and client base (from 30 to 55), as well as tripled its annual revenue.
Mentorloop, which enables companies to start, run, and measure mentoring programs, works with leading names, such as Xero, Bupa, RACV and Flight Centre, and European brands, including the BBC, Just Eat and Rabobank, and recently won an award through the U.K. Department for International Trade, which gives them access to a number of contacts and resources aimed at supercharging their expansion plans.
What does this mean for Mentorloop?
CEO and co-founder of Mentorloop, Lucy Lloyd, said: “The move to have feet on the ground in the U.K. is a natural progression for the team. There is a culture of proactivity and action in the U.K. as businesses are ready to try new initiatives and push boundaries when it comes to People and Culture.
“Businesses in the U.K. are aware they cannot afford to be stagnant or roll-out the same old, same old, and this is why Australian business leaders are looking to this market to discover and learn from emerging trends.
“Mentorloop has expanded its international client portfolio from 10 per cent to 22 per cent in the last twelve months alone, so we are excited to enter the U.K. and lead the global mentoring revolution,” Ms Lloyd continued.
This global deployment of Mentorloop signifies a trend towards larger, established businesses recognising the importance of mentoring as a business critical function. Through well-managed mentoring programs, companies worldwide are boosting their bottom line by increasing performance and engagement, leading to cost savings related to increased retention.
Ms Lloyd further commented: “The benefits of mentorship are often reserved for fast-tracking high performers, despite the best results coming from opening mentoring opportunities up to all staff. Mentoring when done right, brings people off the sidelines in organisations, allowing them to better engage, share knowledge and participate in the company’s culture. Mentoring is about activating your base – your top performers are already optimised and there are minimal gains to be had from trying to squeeze more out of the already ‘squeezed lemon’.
“The companies that are going to win in the next decade are the ones that put all of their people first. Today, 75 per cent of all millennials deem mentoring fundamental to their success, a generation which will occupy 50 per cent of the global workforce in 2020. If companies don’t provide these learning and development opportunities, they’ll depart and seek it elsewhere.
“Fundamental to changing this is recognising that mentoring – providing your people with opportunities to more deeply engage, develop and succeed with your company – is essential to building a people-first culture. Mentorloop makes mentoring a natural part of a company’s culture, rather than something that’s just offered to a special few,” Ms Lloyd explained.
What has Mentorloop achieved so far?
Launched in 2016 by Heidi Holmes and Lucy Lloyd, Mentorloop has enabled organisations in Australia, the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Asia to start, run, and measure mentoring programs for their people. Mentorloop has raised $1 million to date, from some of Australia’s leading funds, including Blackbird Ventures, rampersand and Tempus Partners, and is a graduate of the Startmate accelerator program.
“About six months ago, we noticed that we were getting a disproportionate number of incoming leads from the UK, they were punching above their weight as far as lead volume goes,” Lucy told Anthill.
“We also signed some impressive UK clients over the past 12 months, such as the BBC, Sky, Quilter and Just Eat, which were not only super brands and people-first companies, but they also expanded their contracts with us relatively early, making them ideal customers.”
“We also saw fellow Aussie-founded HR tech startups, such as Culture Amp and Applied, receiving good traction, so *something* seemed to be brewing from a people and culture perspective among UK businesses-it’s front of mind for their business leaders to remain competitive for talent.”
“Having feet on the ground accelerates our learning. We can make sales remotely, but there’s no replacement for being able to meet clients in person, understand the problems they’re trying to solve, and really listen to their perspective to build the best possible mentoring experience.”
“There’s a surprising amount of admin in getting set-up and it seems like a lot of our team needs to be across this side of things. However, we’ve got some good help from the UK’s Department for International Trade, and it helps that the language is the same and we share so much culturally. The UK is a wonderful place to visit-even in the middle of Winter!”
“We’ll certainly be keeping across the negotiation conversations in the lead up to the UK’s exit, but to be honest, at the end of the day it’s business as usual for us.”
“There are many moving parts concerning the UK’s political future and if we were to wait for the political turmoil to settle down, we might never take that next step and expand into this market.”
“Regardless of what happens with Brexit, mentoring will still be relevant to organisations and their people. In fact, we believe where there is uncertainty, mentoring can actually provide people with a sense of belonging and purpose. It grounds people and provides people with a level of comfort and support knowing they have someone to turn to, leading to a more engaged workforce and easing employee retention concerns for all levels of business.”
“UK expansion is a big focus and so too is continuing to expand our Melbourne-based team, and grow our business in Australia. We’ve been so fortunate with our customers, team and our supporters-being investors and also our families and friends- so we want to repay this support with success here and overseas.”