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3rd June 2021

£630k investment to boost growth of Milton Keynes online recruitment business

A Milton Keynes firm which has designed a software platform that helps businesses 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 (MEIF), 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, while expanding its 12-strong team, creating up to six new jobs.

Smart Recruit was designed by Mark Stephens, who has over 20 years of experience in the sector, 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 over 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, the company's CEO, 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: “The MEIF Proof of Concept Fund is well suited to early-stage businesses with potential for expansion.  Smart Recruit is an example of an innovative, growing business seeking funding to scale up its activities and we would encourage other similar businesses across the Midlands to consider MEIF as a possible funding option.

Vicky Hlomuka, SEMLEP’s Growth Hub Manager, commented: “Having first engaged with Mark in August 2020, it’s 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.”

Alistair Hammerton of Shoosmiths provided legal advice to Mercia, while Michael Pearce of DAC Beachcroft advised the company.

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

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