Tyneside volunteering app onHand has secured backing from Shazam’s co-founder Dhiraj Mukherjee for a second time as part of a £3.2m funding round.
Last year the Gateshead tech firm – which makes volunteering easier for company employees – secured a £1m investment in the region from investors including the music app’s founder. Now Mr Mukherjee is ploughing further funds into the company, which has been described as ‘Uber for volunteering’, in a $4m (£3.2m) pre-Series A funding round.
Launched in 2019 by Sanjay Lobo, the app offers businesses a way to engage and support employee wellbeing in the new world of work. It has been used by countless businesses, including Newcastle Building Society, which used it to help employees complete more than 1,000 sessions to help local communities.
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Skipton Building Society also worked closely with onHand last month, to help identify foodbanks across the country that needed support and fulfil donations, and it has been a past winner of the Lord Mayor’s Award for Innovation During Covid 19, winning praise for mobilising volunteers to shop for vulnerable people during the pandemic.
The latest funding round aims to help even more companies around the world do more good and is led by 24Haymarket and backed by Northstar Ventures, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and Shazam co-founder Mr Mukherjee. The funding round looks to ramp up international growth and fuel further product expansion.
onHand’s platform – which saw 300% growth last year – focuses on some of society’s biggest challenges, from actions to protect the planet to poverty and homelessness support, as well as befriending phone calls to tackle loneliness, tasks to support the elderly, youth mentoring, crisis support and more.
Mr Lobo said: “Whilst most companies have some form of volunteering or a social good programme, typically engagement is really low. We solve that by making doing good bite-size, on-demand and based on your exact location with off-the-charts employee engagement results. That’s because the world wants to do good: we’ve just made it so much easier. This raise lets us help businesses everywhere deliver incredible impact.”
Mr Mukherjee said: “At a time when companies are increasingly putting ESG and impact at the centre of their business to address social, environmental, and wellbeing needs, onHand has delivered a solution with makes it super simple to do good while doing well.”
Khadija Ashfaq, investment manager, Northstar Ventures, said: “We are delighted to continue supporting onHand, which is helping companies and their employees make a real difference in their communities. We’re looking forward to the next part of their journey, scaling up to have an even bigger impact on more lives.”
George MacGinnis, healthy ageing challenge director at UKRI, said: “Social enterprises, like onHand, can play a vital role in developing products and services that can be scaled up to deliver real benefits for healthy ageing. That’s why UKRI’s investment, which helps absorb some of the risk from commercial investment in the early stages, is so important.”
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