First investment

27 October 2017



Total investment




100 points rule

Applied have a loose philosophy that everyone has 100 points of talent.

Some people are excellent at detailed analytical tasks – poring over data sets to uncover new insights. Others excel at the part where these insights need to be communicated to diverse audiences. Others still are fantastic at creating work environments where people are their most innovative and creative.

Those with luck have figured out what their talents are. Those with luck and hard work have probably already optimised their 100 points of talent to do one thing very very well. But not everyone is quite there yet, and most of us have yet to discover where our 100 points lie, or how they should be used.

At Applied, everyone should have an opportunity to deploy what talents they know they have, and explore new ones.


Here are some of the ways Applied have operationalised this ethos

Fair hiring and performance management
It should go without saying, but Applied understands deeply the value of hiring on merit and teams with diverse skills and experiences.

Good ideas really do come from anywhere
It goes hand in hand with hiring people better than you, that your best ideas often don’t come from the top.

Transparent pay and equity
From interns to the CEO, we keep no secrets.

Flexible by default
Some of the team live at work, others work where they live, either is fine. This also translates into a ‘just-don’t-take-the-piss’ unlimited holiday allowance: some kind of time off is a requirement not an optional.

Applied: Putting Science And Humanity Into Recruitment

We’ve exited our shareholding in Applied, an innovative platform which uses behavioural science to open up employment opportunities more widely. In this case study we talk about why we invested (and exited) and the exciting journey we’ve shared.

The business has just completed a £1.5 million investment round. Having supported and nurtured the business for some time prior to its investment in 2017, Nesta Impact Investments took this opportunity to sell its shareholding. We’re delighted that the team will now benefit from the expertise of incoming investor Blackbird Ventures, as well as existing shareholder Behavioural Insights Team.

Whether we care to admit it or not, the way we make decisions is influenced by unconscious bias. There are major barriers for individuals without peer-group support, academic achievement and industry experience to be considered for relevant employment opportunities.

In her book What Works, Professor Iris Bohnet, a behavioural economist at Harvard University, argues that rather than trying to alter people, employers should change their processes to limit the opportunity for bias.

That’s exactly what Applied does: anonymised applications and structured review, removal of gender-bias from job descriptions, monitored drop off rate of applications by age, ethnicity and gender. And a lot more…

We looked at different approaches being taken by companies to address the problem (such as diversity training, or job description wording). Applied stood out because of it’s robust, intelligent use of behavioural science (improving candidate fit), scope and sense of humanity (personalised and automated feedback and information about other suitable roles are provided to unsuccessful candidates).

We got to know management in 2016 when Kate Galzebrook, Applied’s CEO, sought our opinion of the business, its impact and our advice in structuring a spin-out from Behavioural Insights Team.

Applied has since gone from strength to strength. The number of candidates on the platform has reached 50,000, from less than 10,000 2 years ago.

So, we’re delighted to have supported Applied, and believe that the successes to date will make a substantial difference to many disadvantaged individuals. We wish the team great success and look forward to them reaching 100,000 candidates soon!

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