MEIF - Proof of Concept

Online recruitment platform set to double in size after £2m investment

The company behind a fast-growing online recruitment platform is planning to double in size after raising a further £2m in investment.

Smart Recruit Online has secured investment from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), Mercia’s EIS funds and private investors.

The Milton Keynes-based company, which currently employs 14 staff, is set to open a digital sales office in the East Midlands and plans to create 15 new jobs in the next two years. The latest funding will also enable it to enhance and scale up its platform in the run-up to raising a Series A investment next year.

Smart Recruit Online enables businesses to find and hire the right staff online while reducing costs. The system provides everything needed to run recruitment campaigns – from advertising jobs to screening and appointing candidates. It is used by clients including Next, Securitas, Cap Gemini, Oak Furnitureland and Whistl. It claims an average cost per hire of under £295 and an average time-to-offer of 16 days.

The company achieved a ten-fold increase in annual recurring revenue (ARR) to over £950,000 in the past 12 months. Smart Recruit Online was founded by Mark Stephens, who previously ran a recruitment firm, and received initial investment of £630,000 from Mercia, MEIF and angel investors in early 2021.

Mark Stephens, founder and CEO, said: “We are reimagining recruitment and rebuilding it better for our digital world so that our customers can benefit from lightning-fast, low-cost, and high-quality recruitment outcomes – every time. Our rapidly expanding client list proves that we are winning in the marketplace, and the latest investment will enable us to take that success to scale via investments in our talent and technology.”

David Baker of Mercia added: “Smart Recruit Online addresses a key challenge for businesses right now – how to find and attract the best employees in a competitive labour market while minimising time and expense. The business has made significant progress since the initial investment. The latest funding will enable it to move to the next stage of its development.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director at the British Business Bank, said: “Smart Recruit Online is the kind of innovative business with significant growth potential that MEIF was created to support. I look forward to seeing their continued expansion following the Mercia investment.”

Vicky Hlomuka, Growth Hub Manager at SEMLEP, said: “Recruitment is proving to be a major problem for companies right across the South East Midlands. Smart Recruit Online is doing fantastic work to make finding the right person easier, and it’s wonderful to see local businesses receiving the funding that they need to grow and expand.”

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund 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.