Sheffield tech firm ploughs £1m into creating jobs

21st January 2021

Tribepad aims to strap rocket launchers on budding tycoons with cash, office space, mentoring and access to clients including the BBC, Tesco and the NHS.

The firm’s software allows people to apply for jobs online. Since coronavirus blew a hole in the economy it has seen the number of users soar from 1m-a-month to a record 850,000 in just two days.

Now it is launching Tribepad Ventures, an ‘incubator and accelerator’ to help entrepreneurs turn ideas into new businesses, and help existing firms grow. It is focused on the ‘work-tech’ sector of job applications, careers advice and human resources.

Co-founder Dean Sadler said the 52-strong company had done very well in the pandemic and it was time to ‘pay it forward’.

He added: “It’s like the economy has shifted to a war footing with whole sections shut down, such as hospitality, and other areas massively up like logistics and delivery. “It’s off the charts, with more job seekers applying for more roles than ever. We can see there are a lot of worried people. When furlough was due to end we saw a dramatic surge in activity. We partner with more than 70 firms based in London, North America, Australia and Europe. There’s no reason this tech can’t be built in Sheffield. We have a lot of resources a small business could take advantage of. Self employed people wake up every day significantly incentivised. It’s about empowering people to take a leap. It can be risky but you get to choose the direction. People with good ideas can generate jobs and wealth while having fun.”

Tribepad securely holds information on more than 37m candidates and the work-tech sector is in its infancy, he added. Anonymised data could be used to write a programme that suggests career moves, based on people with similar careers but who are older. Or it could advise on the perfect job - and the skills needed to get it - based on a CV, questionnaires and a video interview. Or it could show candidates the town with the most positions matching their skills.

Mr Sadler said that when he was at school he was advised to become a bricklayer - even though he hates the cold and DIY.

"My daughters are asking the same questions as I did, not much has changed. We’re right at the beginning of this. But we can’t do everything, we want to partner with other companies to deliver this stuff and take it to the next level. We want to encourage an eco-system in Sheffield. We keep hearing the UK lags behind in productivity and it’s partly because the wrong people are in the wrong jobs. If they get the right one early in their career they’ll earn more money and be happier and more productive.”

He and fellow co-founder Dan Kirkland will work for Tribepad Ventures up to one day a week each. Alex Raubitschek, a work-tech adviser with more than 20 years’ experience will lead its investment committee.

Member firms could receive up to a total of £250,000 at stages over two years, he added, potentially more. A share of their sales will go back into the incubator to make it self-financing, hopefully within 18 months.

Mr Sadler acknowledged £1m could be used for a lot of other things. He added: “It’s a medium to long term project that will hopefully benefit us all. It’s not the safest way and not the most financially rewarding. But it’s the most fun.This is one of the most exciting things I’ve done. Seeing a business grow and seeing ideas turn into businesses is really exciting. One day I want to be able to look back and say, ‘I did the right thing’. I don’t want to be the richest man in the graveyard, I want to be the happiest.”

Applications for Tribepad Ventures are now open.

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