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UK tech scale up Clear Review secures further £2.6m in funding

Clear Review, the UK HR technology scale-up which raised £500,000 in March 2018 from Mercia Technologies, today announced a £2.6m Series A investment led by AlbionVC with Mercia also participating. AlbionVC, based in London, is a leading investor in B2B SaaS companies with over £450m invested across more than 40 fast growing technology companies. The funds will be used to accelerate product development, build out a US presence, and consolidate Clear Review’s position as the UK category leader in a new breed of performance management technology.

Clear Review’s mission is “To enable individuals and teams to achieve what matters most to the organisation and themselves.” Its cloud-based performance development platform, which promotes frequent employee feedback and continuous employee-manager conversations, has experienced rapid growth since launching in 2016, with more than 200 customers adopting its new performance management technology. Key customers include CYBG/Virgin Money, Ricoh, Kennedys and The Valuation Office Agency (VOA). Clear Review has surpassed £1.5m annual recurring revenues, and has grown headcount x5 over the past 18 months.

The company has seen strong interest from the US market, which now represents 20% of annual revenue. Clear Review’s leadership team will further build out its presence in the US, scaling up its operation later this year. Chief Revenue Officer, Daniel Anticich says: “The same clarity of focus within the product and unrivalled simplicity of user experience has allowed us to consistently win in the US against competitors. We’re excited to get closer to this market and continue to build momentum.”

Founder, CEO and former HR Director of Sony Music International, Stuart Hearn credits Clear Review’s pedigree in the performance management space and a superior user experience as the core drivers for its success:

“With the war for talent raging as strongly as ever, performance management is quickly moving up both HR and the C-suite’s priority list. Annual appraisals are no longer cutting it and companies are looking for clear guidance as to how to move to more effective and engaging models. Crucially we’re seeing organisations view our technology as a catalyst for change, as opposed to an afterthought. Clear Review’s simple yet powerful user experience is worlds apart from the outdated performance module on legacy suite solutions. We see customers such as CYBG/Virgin Money enjoying 96% monthly user adoption – unheard of with traditional models and systems. Market awareness and adoption of new performance management models is increasing dramatically and we’re confident the recent funding will allow us to take things to the next level at just the right time.”

Clear Review has consistently aimed to differentiate itself from its competitors by prioritising engagement and adoption over complexity. Following the recent build-out of language functionality, the new funding will see the product develop in areas such as an Outlook extension, Natural Language Processing (to enable employees to set better goals), API/integrations, and further development of the way the product supports collaborative team performance.

Clear Review has also enjoyed notable industry recognition this year – a clear indication that it is on track to become the UK’s undisputed leader in new performance technology. Recent accolades include winning ‘Vendor of the Year’ at the 2019 UK Employee Engagement Awards, and being shortlisted in the category ‘Best L&D/HR Supplier’ at the CIPD People Management Awards 2019. The company also received ‘Gold’ accreditation from Investors in People at the first time of asking.

The Clear Review leadership team is also committed to building and growing a community of employees who are passionate about delivering on the company’s mission: to improve people’s working lives whilst driving better performance and productivity gains for business. The company has plans to rapidly increase headcount throughout 2019, and to accommodate these ambitious recruitment plans, the Clear Review team has recently moved into a larger office space in Farringdon, Central London.
Emil Gigov, Partner, AlbionVC, explained what attracted AlbionVC to invest:

“Businesses are increasingly disappointed with their performance management tools and processes and the impact that ineffective annual appraisals are having on organisational performance. Clear Review’s flexible software solution and thought leadership in continuous performance management are delivering on employees’ rising expectations of continuous feedback and agile goals. We were particularly impressed by the overwhelmingly positive customer comments and the high user adoption rates of Clear Review’s system. Stuart and the talented team at Clear Review have an exciting opportunity to continue supporting businesses in transforming their performance management approach. We’re excited to support Clear Review in their next stage of growth.”