When I started building CareerEar, my vision was to empower anyone, anywhere to achieve their career potential and close the gap that holds millions of people back despite their enormous potential, particularly for those who, like me, don't have access to the same opportunities as those born into privilege.
Over the past few years, I made great strides towards that vision. I built a fantastic team of individuals with lived experience of the problem and a wealth of expertise in their respective fields. Together, we developed a comprehensive careers support platform that helped thousands of career seekers and changers discover, explore, and access opportunities across various industries, from construction to media to tech. We secured funding and support from Nesta and the Department for Education to develop our platform, intensely developed new features such as skills assessments and tools integrating labour market intelligence data, increased engagement in the CareerEar platform by 55% in 12 months and found that 80% of our community reported increased levels of career confidence.
We were among an elite group who won prestigious contracts from Department for Work and Pensions (DWP); won awards for the impact we were having including featuring in the Social Entrepreneur Index multiple times and receiving a SME Recognition Award for London & Essex from the UK Government; and featured on BBC News, Entrepreneur Media, The New York Times, and Channel 5.
Last year, we produced game-changing research on defining a skill within the future of work with University of Essex, launched in partnership with City of London Corporation and Connecting Communities and we were welcomed as members of the employability sector by the Institute of Employability Professionals.
We also convinced many great people to join us on the journey, including angel investors, an impact fund, Resolution Ventures, advisers and supporters who have built billion-dollar companies and offer support and advice every single day.
Even more impressive in hindsight, I achieved a lot of this while also practising as a lawyer in private practice (Mishcon de Reya LLP) and then in-house at a venture-backed startup (Wefarm) before going all-in at the end of 2021.
But, as much as we accomplished, we wanted more impact, more growth, larger scale, and more ambition. After seeking advice from smart and successful individuals, we realised that to achieve these things, we needed to be laser-focused on solving one problem for one customer. We were trying to do too much with CareerEar, and it was hindering our growth and impact.
We realised our "one problem" had been hiding in plain sight. Every employability provider we worked with had the same problem: it is costly, time-consuming, and challenging to effectively onboard every single participant seeking support. It's manual, tedious, and takes away valuable time from employment advisers doing the important work that requires human brainpower and a complex set of skills.
This is the problem we're now solving with Earlybird. Earlybird is voice-centric onboarding software for the employability sector. Our conversational chatbot allows job-seekers being supported by employability providers to share critical onboarding information using voice notes. They share interests, skills, personal challenges, and barriers to work ahead of meeting their employment advisor, dramatically reducing the human hours and cost needed during the data collection process and freeing advisers up to focus on what matters most: supporting those individuals to achieve their potential.
We are now pure B2B software that helps employability providers to save time, money and support more job seekers into sustained employment. We're making a positive impact by empowering the people on the ground doing the hard work to rebuild our economy.
We’re incredibly excited to have complete clarity on who we are as an organisation, a renewed sense of ambition, drive and energy, and to be building game-changing software for one of the world's most critical sectors. The learning journey continues to be steep, and I love it!
I’m grateful to everyone - my team, investors, advisers, supporters and even fellow founders - who have been part of our journey. Thank you for your continued support as we embark on this new chapter as Earlybird.
If you’d like to understand your participants better and faster and build trust from day 1 then let’s chat!
If you're an investor, we'll be raising soon so get in touch if you're interested in joining us on our journey.
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