ProFinda has received one million pounds of funding from Nesta Impact Investments, the venture capital arm of one of the UK’s leading innovation foundations, to accelerate the deployment of its platform across the private, public and third sector, and increase social impact.

Nesta Impact Investments supports businesses like ProFinda which have the potential to deliver clear social impact as a part of their business model.

ProFinda’s mission is to revolutionise how organisations and their supply chains of people assess, identify and develop the skills, knowledge and capabilities of the people involved with them.

The Nesta investment will be used to:

  • build on success with blue chip clients and partners
  • make its technology available to non-profits
  • improve it proprietary skills machine learning IP

ProFinda’s ground-breaking technology uses a machine learning platform to build a dynamic and detailed map to far better understand the skills and knowledge of the total workforce. This is based on a skills ‘ontology’, which utilises tools such as semantic parsing and matching to dramatically increase understanding of skills. It is part of a new category of workforce optimisation technology that is becoming essential for organisations wishing to be more adaptive and agile.

This “science of skills” enables organisations to improve how they leverage the skills of their collective workforce, including internal employees, contractors and alumni. It intelligently matches project requirements to ability and knowledge.

Nesta supports innovation in building the workforce of the future, skills, and developing the ‘collective intelligence’, where technology unlocks human potential and improves collaborative working. This focus is essential as the workplace faces unprecedented change in both its structure and the roles that are carried out within it.

Nesta’s innovative programmes further the science of skills and future of work and directly complement ProFinda’s mission of enabling organisations and their workers to extract more value and reward from their skills.

Nathan Elstub, Nesta’s Chief Investment Officer, said:

“Nesta Impact Investments has a strong track record of supporting businesses using cutting edge technology to develop novel approaches to emerging societal challenges. ProFinda is exploring two of our key areas of research – the future of work and collective intelligence.  We want to continue to support organisations like ProFinda that are developing innovations that will uncover the hidden skills and capabilities across society and enable new ways of working. 

“ProFinda is a platform that will help transform the workplace, empowering people to demonstrate, use and develop their skills more effectively and facilitating the development of new forms of collaborative working that break down the limitations of traditional enterprise structures.”

Roger Gorman, ProFinda’s CEO, said:

“We are already working globally with some of the most knowledge intensive firms, helping them adapt to the future of work through a skills lens. Nesta’s investment is key to enabling us to use these corporate deployments to light the way for organisations everywhere to see that there is a better way to match a person to a piece of work for the benefit of everyone.

“People work better when their work makes the most of their skills and interests and builds in purpose. The challenge is that it’s all too easy for skills and interest to be wasted. Talent is hidden behind job titles or departmental walls. Talented people feel trapped or lost.

“We can deliver impact through ProFinda by transforming how the right people are matched to the right work, enabling people to find meaningful projects and experiences, and helping businesses to harness the potential of their employee and contingent workforces. This leads to greater satisfaction at work and smarter personal development which unlocks huge social good. Alongside, we can contribute to those organisations who are solving the world’s most pressing problems by helping clever groups like Code First: Girls and onPurpose to deploy their talent better. Our partnership with Nesta and their investment in our platform enables us to grow and significantly extend ProFinda’s impact.”

Since 2011, the impact of ProFinda’s technology has been demonstrated in some of the most demanding client environments. It is used in a wide range of contexts including workforce resource management by global professional services partnerships, client network support by leading private banking organisations and network mobilisation by international disaster management bodies.

Formerly NESTA, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, NESTA was established in 1998 with an endowment from the UK National Lottery and became an independent charity in 2012.

FutureGov sale

We are happy to announce that we completed the sale of our investment in Futuregov to The Panoply last month.

FutureGov was one of our impact fund’s initial investments and we invested three tranches of capital spread between January and November 2014, as lead investor alongside Surrey County Council.

The company has been changing public sector organisations through digital transformation for over a decade, using design, technology and organisation development approaches to create public services fit for the 21st century. Their client base ranges from Homes England and Essex County Council to NHS Digital. During our investment horizon, we helped the company’s organic growth and strategic mission alignment, building out a senior management team, and expanding the service offering through acquisition. This resulted in the company becoming a thought leader and a rare asset with few specialist competitors of scale.

With an 8 figure enterprise valuation led by a strong team and a fast growing EBITDA margin, this transaction is likely to be a strong venture capital benchmark for GovTech businesses, especially social enterprises, for some time to come. It also underlines the results that management teams with grit and resilience, coupled with patient capital from Nesta and others, can achieve.

Our heartiest congratulations and best wishes to CEO Dominic Campbell, Chairman Peter Martin, and the entire team in scaling the next stage of growth in their new roles at Panoply.

Pensions For Purpose Award

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