Birmingham-based Talkout has secured a £1,000,000 investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) through the MEIF West Midlands Equity Fund managed by Midven, part of the Future Planet Capital Group, and the MEIF Early Stage and Proof of Concept Fund managed by Mercia Asset Management.
The investment will fund further product development, which includes a rebrand, over the next 12 months, enabling Talkout to create up to 40 new roles in sales, engineering, finance and business development. By expanding the operations and sales customer success teams in Birmingham, the company will continue to grow its blue chip customer base which already includes Halfords and Pets at Home.
With existing learning management systems, companies where most employees are not head office-based are unable to unlock and share the unique knowledge held within their business with all employees. Talkout’s knowledge and experience platform, REELYZE, offers a new category in the learning market to solve this challenge.
At the platform’s heart is a social engine and AI powered learning assistant delivering “conversational learning” at scale. The platform was created to be mobile-first, built on technology familiar to the Gen Z and Millennial generations that now represent over 80% of modern workforces. It solves the challenges of communication, knowledge retention, learning and wellbeing.
The UK faces a productivity crisis with the output per worker estimated at up to 20% less productive than the USA. This highlights a significant opportunity to address outdated education and workplace training to increase employee output. Midven recognised that Talkout’s strong management team has a clear, adaptable product development roadmap to access a portion of the global learning and development market, valued at $302 billion per year.
Paul Putman, CEO at Talkout, says: “The whole team at Talkout is extremely proud that both Midven and Mercia have recognised our innovation, the market opportunity the platform creates, and the amazing team that has built the company this far. The investment will allow us to continue to develop and refine the platform and reach out to even more organisations. We believe this new approach to knowledge creation and learning is truly disruptive and will allow Talkout to become a UK tech company that can compete and win globally.”
Ian Fairclough, Investment Director at Midven, says: “Midven is delighted to be backing Talkout alongside Mercia. We are backing a proven management who have developed a disruptive mobile first learning platform, addressing the large and growing L&D market. Talkout has already won several blue-chip customers, and this investment will allow for further product market fit refinement to win new business.”
Hannah Tapsell, Investment Manager at Mercia Asset Management, says: “Around 80% of the global workforce are considered deskless, leaving them largely underserved by traditional learning and development solutions. With its mobile-first approach, Talkout helps organisations to retain valuable knowledge and upskill workers through peer-to-peer learning. We are excited to be backing Paul and the team as they scale the business and further enrich the technology.”
Mark Wilcockson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank said: “The MEIF supports innovative SMEs investing into the region and this funding for Talkout will support the creation of a substantial number of new job roles for a Midlands-based company, with ambitions to operate on a global scale. We look forward to seeing Talkout progress their plans, which will not only benefit the business but the growth of the region’s economy too.”
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.