City Funds invest in new digital employment training service for vulnerable people in Bristol
AutonoMe raises £406k to grow independent living platform with local partners.
In a bid to help vulnerable people participate in a post-COVID economic recovery, Bristol-based educational technology developer AutonoMe is rolling out new employability services, helping ensure that vulnerable people can learn the vital skills needed to secure and maintain employment and live more independently. Local investors City Funds and Bristol Private Equity Club contributed £150,000 of a total £406,000 raised to fund the expansion.
AutonoMe combines technology with one-to-one support to improve outcomes for vulnerable people in Education and Social Care. The AutonoMe app gives vulnerable people access to personalised, instructional video programmes to develop and maintain their independence and prepare for employment while presenting Social Care and Education providers with real-time data to evaluate impact and progress towards independence.
This challenge needs to be faced; in 2020 Public Health England reported just 6% of working age adults with Learning Disabilities in England were in paid or self-employment. [SOURCE] By applying its innovative instructional platform to employment training, AutonoMe hopes to support thousands of vulnerable people into employment over the next 3 years. The platform is hoping to be able to maximise its impact to support vulnerable people develop and maintain the skills needed to be included as part of the coming economic recovery.
William Britton, Founder and CEO of AutonoMe, said:
“As a company founded and based in Bristol, the importance of having investors from our community who understand what we want to achieve and are behind our mission to help vulnerable people is incredibly encouraging. We want to thank City Funds and all our investors for their support to help vulnerable people to live more freely, gain employment and develop and grow as people.”
Working with City of Bristol College as a local partner, the platform is also being used by organisations across the UK including London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Devon Council, Telford & Wrekin Council, Shropshire Council, Weston College and many more.
The investment, which has been made by City Funds, South East Angels, Bristol Private Equity Club and current shareholders, will also help AutonoMe to expand its support for children and young people by providing further access to its services in schools and colleges, aiding their journey towards more independent living. Finding investors that understood both AutonoMe’s financial and impact goals was key to ensuring the long-term viability of their mission.
Jari Moate, Investment Manager of City Funds at Bristol & Bath Regional Capital said:
“What’s impressive about AutonoMe is their commitment to use technology to increase independent living, rather than build a reliance on the tool itself. This ongoing effect is many times more impactful than a one-time intervention, and will positively change Bristol far beyond the lifetime of our investment—exactly the type of thing our impact fund seeks to support.”
Kristina Pereckaite, MD at South East Angels, said:
“The social care sector is ripe for innovation, and we were really impressed with the simple yet highly effective solution that AutonoMe provides. We believe AutonoMe will execute and move quickly and are thrilled to be supporting William on his mission to improve the lives of vulnerable people.”
Jerry Barnes, founder of Bristol Private Equity Club said:
“Our members first saw the potential of AutonoMe in 2018 when we invested in the company to support bringing in skilled staff and improving the technology. Our belief and commitment in the work of Will Britton and his team has grown further since then and we are delighted to be part of this funding round and join with others to further support this technology.”
This is AutonoMe’s third funding round and the largest investment the company has received to date.
One of the first funds of its kind in the UK, City Funds brings together investment, grant and local authority support in a coordinated place-based approach to tackling inequality. With different types of funding under one roof, City Funds will strengthen Bristol-based initiatives that are working to solve some of the biggest social and environmental problems the city faces. The fund can invest from £50,000 to £1 million with flexible terms that support social or environmental aims. City Funds is actively seeking opportunities to invest in organisations that support these aims, through its investment advisor Bristol & Bath Regional Capital (BBRC).
Initiatives seeking funding can find out more at www.bristolcityfunds.co.uk