paid to providing solutions that facilitate effective mentoring relationships. Pushfar, launched in 2019, is a cloud-based mentorship and career progression platform that provides mentor matching, mentor relationship management, and mentor reporting in a simple-to-use solution. The platform is available for organizations to implement and is also available for free for mentors and mentees in the open network. Rounding out the mentorship piece are personalised professional event recommendations, job listings and networking opportunities to keep users’ careers on track.
London TechWatch sat down with CEO and Cofounder Ed Johnson to learn more about the inspiration behind Pushfar, the company’s future expansion plans, and recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Ed Johnson, PushFar: A collective of angel investors, who put in a combined £250,000 in seed investment.
Tell us about your product or service.
PushFar’s a platform that we developed to help individuals and organisations with mentoring and career progression. The platform uses data points to recommend mentors and mentees, with the most suitable mentoring matches. Once individuals are in active mentoring relationships, they can schedule meetings, set and track goals, network with others and explore additional opportunities to help with career progression. At the same time, organisations using the platform for internal mentoring can track engagement, mentoring activity and feedback.
It was a personal need. I was looking for a mentor and really struggled to find one. I wasn’t part of a larger organisation so there were no internal mentoring schemes and within my network it was hard to identify who might be willing to mentor me. So, I set about building PushFar to bring mentors and mentees together.
How is it different?
There are a couple of ways in which we’re unique. The first is that we go above and beyond just mentoring, and look at career progression and development as a whole. So, we offer mentoring, networking, professional event recommendations, job opportunities and goal setting too. In addition to this, we offer our platform to both individuals and organisations. We recognise that a huge segment of the working world is either sole-traders or part of smaller businesses where internal mentoring isn’t an option, so a wider and more open mentoring platform can serve them. At the same time, we offer a solution to help those larger organisations with internal mentoring in a scalable, resource-effective manner.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We’re targeting organisations that have more than 50 employees and any individual, globally, looking to get involved with career mentoring. We’ve started in the UK and Europe but are already seeing people joining from further afield too, which is fantastic! So, it’s a significant market! When you consider that even those who’ve retired can make incredible mentors, given the skills and experience acquired it really does give you an idea of the scale of the market.
What’s your business model?
We licence our platform to organisations on a standard SaaS model. Our open network is free to both mentors and mentees and operates on an entirely voluntary basis.
What was the funding process like?
As our second funding round for PushFar, it was certainly faster than the first one. That said, it still always takes longer than you hope. Our existing investors have been incredible at backing our second round and putting us in contact with other prospective investors who have subsequently added to our round, which is great.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
I think the logistics of getting everything signed, and all the paperwork from several different investors together, at the right time, is a challenge. It has certainly been made easier by using SeedLegals.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Undoubtedly the current position of the business and the rate at which we have scaled to date. Having been live for less than a year when we had initial discussions and at the same time already revenue-generating with a significant number of considerable clients was a big ‘tick’ for investors.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We’re already beginning to scale-up our sales outreach, partnerships and the team here to support that too. We’ve a few big clients that we’re in the process of onboarding, which is exciting. In addition to bringing on new clients, we’re continually looking at improving our technology and adding additional functionality.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Focus on generating revenue or metric-growth as early-on as possible and then always focus on your key growth metric. If you’re not growing, look at why not and fix it quickly! If you can grow without a cash-injection, then do that. I meet lots of startups that don’t generate any revenue and ask investors for funding without a clear way to return that investment. The end-goal for a business has got to be growth and, ultimately, revenue generation.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’re looking to really expand the number of mentors and mentees on the open platform. We saw huge growth in year one and our target for this year is even more ambitious. Ultimately, we want as many people as possible to experience the benefits of mentoring, find relevant career mentoring matches and develop careers, globally. That’s the really exciting piece for us. Seeing that we’re making a difference.
What is your favorite restaurant in London?
Francos on Jermyn Street, sitting outside on a sunny Saturday.
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