‘Platform solves a key problem for employers’: Online recruitment business secures £630k investment for expansion plans

Jun 03, 2021

THE DESIGNER of a software platform that helps businesses to optimise online recruitment has raised £630,000 to support its growth plans.

Smart Recruit Online secured the funding from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, and private investors.

Smart Recruit’s system combines the latest technologies with insights from behavioural science and tried and tested recruitment processes. It enables companies to address the problem of how to attract the best talent online quickly and at low costs.

The funding will allow the company to develop its technology further and to expand its team of 12, creating up to six new jobs.

Smart Recruit, based in Milton Keynes at Fox Milne, was designed by Mark Stephens for use in his own recruitment business. After recognising its potential, the team rebuilt the platform in 2015 to enable clients to use it directly. 

It is now used by more than 700 businesses, including Next, JCB, Securitas and Whistl, with an average cost per hire of under £300 and an average time-to-offer of 16 days, with 94% of vacancies successfully filled.

Mark Stephens

Mr Stephens, who has worked in the recruitment sector for more than 20 years, said: “Our platform solves a key problem for employers – how to recruit the best talent online quickly and efficiently and achieve better value from their budget. Our existing clients are proof of the benefits it offers and the latest investment will enable us to roll it out to many more companies.”

David Baker of Mercia added: “Smart Recruit Online is ideally suited for today’s digital world and remote working practices. Mark and his team have already built a strong client base and the latest funding will allow them to enhance the technology further and scale up the business.”

Grant Peggie, director at the British Business Bank, said: “Smart Recruit is an example of an innovative, growing business seeking funding to scale up its activities.”

He urged other businesses seeking funding for expansion to consider MEIF as an option.

Alistair Hammerton, of national law firm Shoosmiths, provided legal advice to Mercia, while Michael Pearce, of DAC Beachcroft, advised Smart Recruit. The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership’s business support arm Growth Hub has also worked with the company to develop the online offer.

Growth Hub manager Vicky Hlomuka said: “Having first engaged with Mark in August 2020, it is great to see the business securing funding to continue to develop Smart Recruit Online. Not only will the platform continue to support businesses to optimise online recruitment, the funding will create additional job opportunities in Milton Keynes.”

  • The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
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