Staff engagement platform Trickle secures almost £1m in seed funding

Left to right: Ross Dempster, Paul Reid, Ed Henderson and Marcella Peacock of Trickle (Photo by Nick Mailer)

A tech platform which allows staff to feedback their views in realtime to senior management has secured almost £1m in seed funding.

Trickle, which has been used by a string of public sector organisations, including the Scottish Government’s Digital Directorate, where it was deployed for 400 users, has received the backing of venture capital firm Techstart Ventures.

Founded in Edinburgh by entrepreneur Paul Reid in 2018, the platform entered the Digital Directorate’s CivTech Challenge accelerator programme and recently won its 4th Cohort (Challenge 8) to work alongside West Dunbartonshire Council on a people engagement initiative.

Trickle aims to drive improved people engagement for large corporates and SMEs across their organisations. Trickle launched into the UK market earlier this year and is already winning business across the commercial and public sectors, with recent client wins and assignments including Scottish Power, the Scottish Government, Disclosure Scotland and more.

Trickle’s technology platform features an analytics dashboard which highlights the top-5 issues or suggestions from employees, called “trickles”, so a company’s senior management and HR function know where to focus their attention.  Industry research regularly points to a positive work culture, where people feel listened to and valued, translating to a significant competitive advantage for high-performing organisations (see Mckinsey & Company’s Culture: 4 keys to why it matters report in 2018).  

CEO and co-founder Paul Reid previously founded geospatial solutions specialist Sigma Seven, which was acquired by FTSE 100 business outsourcing giant Capita plc in 2015.  Reid brought in some of the Sigma Seven team to launch Trickle, including fellow co-founder Ross Dempster who is Trickle’s CTO. A number of angel investors who had previously backed Sigma Seven, along with Techstart Ventures, have supported Trickle with seed funding of almost £1 million.  

Trickle CEO and co-founder Paul Reid said: “When Sigma Seven was acquired by one of the UK’s largest companies, I saw first-hand how corporate culture can impact people and I was always thinking about how I had to feed or trickle my team’s sentiments back to the new management. With Trickle, we’ve built a people-first technology platform so that a conduit exists to channel employee issues and suggestions to senior management and HR. The end result is a virtuous circle that helps people feel more valued within the organisations we’re partnering with.”

While Trickle is working alongside large national and international companies, some of whom are going through or have gone through restructuring or transformational change, the SME market is also proving to be a fast-growing segment for the team where areas like staff attraction and retention, employer brand and growth phases can have the kind of seismic impact experienced by much larger companies.     

Trickle’s COO, Marcella Peacock, said: “Studies show that a happily employed person is more than twice as productive as a satisfied one and more than three times as productive as a dissatisfied person at work. Today’s startups are thinking more about culture than ever before from day one.  For the more established organisations, they realise that in today’s corporate world, putting real focus on engaging your workforce results in higher productivity, increased loyalty and reduced staff churn.”

Trickle, which was one of the companies who joined the third cohort of the Scottish Government’s CivTech digital accelerator programme in 2018,  plans to grow headcount from 6 to 10 over the next twelve months.  At the end of October, Trickle also won CivTech’s 4th cohort (Challenge 8) to work alongside West Dunbartonshire Council on their people engagement.