Culture Shift has secured a GBP1.35 million investment in a funding round led by Praetura Ventures, a VC firm which targets early stage businesses in high value sectors.
The investment in Culture Shift is Praetura Ventures’ fourth from its Praetura EIS 2020 Fund, which closed in January. Other recent investments include Patchwork, a rapidly growing healthtech start-up on a mission to solve the NHS staffing crisis, and SteamaCo, a technology provider to energy suppliers in emerging markets.
Praetura Ventures has raised more than GBP22 million since May 2019 to invest in early-stage businesses in the North and across the UK. Its current portfolio includes AI and machine-learning business Peak and online delivery platform Sorted.
The funding 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.
Based in Manchester and founded in 2018, Culture Shift is a technology business that has created a platform for people to safely report workplace harassment following a string of stories about bullying and harassment in high-profile businesses across the UK.
The company 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, according to the company.
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, the startup said in a statement.
A 2017 survey published at the height of the #MeToo movement, revealed that 40% of women and 18% of men had experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace. However, only a fraction of these incidents are reported to or acted upon by employers. Workplace bullying is also estimated to cost the UK economy GBP18 billion a year in absenteeism, staff turnover and lost productivity.
“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,” said Gemma McCall.