Online language-learning platform Chatterbox has raised over £1.5m investment in a pre-seed round led by GMG Ventures. The investment will help the company to expand its services helping businesses tap the huge wealth of talent in refugee and marginalised communities.
The startup, which emerged from Brent Hoberman’s Founders Factory accelerator programme, received funding from Mustard Seed MAZE, RLC Ventures, while Softbank invested in a previous round.
Having established a renowned client roster including Unilever, FTI Consulting and the British Red Cross, Chatterbox will now use the funding to develop its ‘diversity as a service’ offering with new products and services. The remote-first startup is currently making strategic hires across product development, learning, sales and marketing.
This will fuel Chatterbox’s mission of connecting the world’s most talented, yet marginalised, people with rising opportunities in the digital economy.
According to the UK government, advertised tech vacancies have more than doubled since 2020 – hitting a record 160,887 in recent months.
As tech firms struggle with The Great Resignation and the ‘war for talent’, Chatterbox hopes to help them tap the estimated 40 million degree-educated professionals currently living across OECD countries who are either long-term unemployed or underemployed.These are often professionals from marginalised groups including single parents, older workers and refugees – which have risen dramatically in recent years following successive conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and more recently, Ukraine.
Mursal Hedayat, founder & CEO of Chatterbox, said:
“As we’re seeing from the Ukrainian crisis, unfortunately, we live in a world where mass displacement of talented people from war, famine and even climate change is increasingly commonplace. Whether it’s single parents, disabled workers or even refugees – this funding will help us further our mission of helping businesses engage with this amazing pool of marginalised talent, especially as the pandemic accelerates the shift towards globally distributed and remote-first firms.”
Sam Rickard, Director at GMG Ventures said: “Chatterbox enables businesses to access a valuable pool of talent, creating employment opportunities for refugees and other marginalised communities. We have been following the team’s progress since our first meeting in early 2019 and we are excited to support them through the next stage of their growth.”
Chatterbox was launched in 2016 by Afghani refugee Mursal Hedayat MBE in response to the Syrian war and based on her own mother’s experience of struggling to find highly-skilled work in the UK when the family moved from Afghanistan.It initially started out as an online language learning school to help Syrian refugees earn a living by teaching Arabic to professionals looking to improve their language skills but has since grown to encompass other refugee and marginalised groups – with a proven track record of increasing team cultural intelligence, morale and engagement.