Posted on March 13, 2020 by staff

Culture Shift secures £1.35m investment

Praetura Ventures led the funding round into the Manchester company, which has built a platform to combat workplace harassment.

Culture Shift was founded in 2018 following a string of stories about bullying and harassment in high-profile businesses across the UK. It is led by Gemma McCall, CEO and a prominent commentator on workplace harassment, COO Stuart Bradley and CTO Carl Sadd.

The software is designed to empower those who are reluctant to report wrongdoing, by removing barriers to reporting, and ensuring they have a secure and confidential platform in which to do so.

The software also allows victims or witnesses of harassment to access support for what they’ve experienced as well as giving organisations oversight of any worrying trends, helping them to tackle them.

Culture Shift currently has more than 50 customers, mostly in the higher education sector. However, it is now set to target the professional services sector, which has endured a series of workplace scandals.

GC Angels joined the round and invested £100,000.

Founder Gemma McCall said: “Recent high-profile events concerning bullying and harassment have ignited a long overdue public debate about how we behave towards each other, both in society and more specifically in the workplace.

“This heightened awareness of the issue, along with the clear signal from the public, regulatory bodies, and the courts has empowered people – both women and men – to report abuse and seek support.

“Though this progress is encouraging, a lack of confidence in employers’ processes for reporting bullying and harassment is still a barrier for many victims of such behaviour to come forward.

“Culture Shift are proud to be both leading that debate and offering a real solution to help overcome that barrier through our innovative, trusted software.”

Praetura Ventures’ funding, and the support of its team, will help Culture Shift to develop its proprietary software and accelerate its rollout to business customers, with a focus on FTSE 350 and heavily-regulated sectors.

The software also allows businesses to analyse data to identify worrying behaviour trends and take appropriate action.

“Our software offers businesses the opportunity to show they take the issue seriously and empowers their employees, while respecting the desire of some to remain anonymous,” said McCall.

“Importantly, it also means senior management can draw insights from the data to create a safe working environment and a culture that aims to stamp out abuse.”

The deal was led by Praetura Ventures’ Louise Chapman, Myrto Lalacos and Pete Carway. Carway will join the Culture Shift board as a non-executive director.

He said: “Culture Shift is an impressive start-up offering a way for companies to tackle a serious problem that is afflicting business and wider society, as well as attracting increasing media attention.

“Gemma, Stuart and Carl are passionate about empowering people and giving them the confidence and tools to report abuse, as well as providing firms with the platform to show they are taking the issues seriously.

“There is a clear market opportunity here targeting enlightened organisations that recognise the risks – reputational, financial and cultural – of failing to tackle workplace bullying and harassment.

“With our investment, Culture Shift will be able to take its platform beyond its current core market of universities to professional services firms and SMEs, which we know remain behind the curve in proactively combating the issue of bullying and harassment.”

Jessica Jackson, Investor Director at GC Angels, who provide early-stage market funding for Greater Manchester businesses, said: “GC Angels are pleased to be investing alongside Praetura Ventures into this fantastic business, who are building a market-leading product with a strong social purpose.”