Announcing our £4.25m investment round
I’m delighted to announce the closing of our £4.25m fundraising round with ScaleUp Capital. These funds will provide the investment required for Sanctus to continue to grow. Most importantly, it allows us to continue to evolve Sanctus Coaching in order to reach and deliver on our mission of championing healthier workplaces and normalising the conversation around mental health in the workplace.
Whilst this marks an important milestone for Sanctus, this is not purely a celebratory post. It’s not about how good we are or how, just because we’ve raised, we are now better than the next business. Nor is it about the top five tips or lessons of raising. It’s a post which I’ve written to talk about the necessity of raising money to help a business get to the next stage, in a world where success for us is measured by the people we impact and the employees we support.
The reality is that to help more people, we needed cash to do this. And to that extent it’s job done… but now the hard work begins.
Having only been in my role for a few months it became clear at the start of 2021 that for Sanctus to meet the ambition its people, customers and investors had, we needed to invest. The pandemic rightfully (and finally) placed the mental wellbeing of employees as a top five priority at board tables around the globe – and demand for support exploded.
The ramifications of multiple lockdowns were rippling through teams forced to work remotely, and with leaders still trying to figure out how to best support their people whilst also trying to keep businesses alive. We were seeing the needs of our customers shifting and whilst demand for our coaching sessions grew, the buyers were getting more sophisticated, and more desperate for wellbeing solutions.
Alongside our Board and supportive investors, I realised we needed to strengthen our push towards preventative support and with competition increasing we needed to build much more into our product to help meet as many employees where they are on their various life journeys.
And so with pitch deck and financial plan in hand we went on the (virtual) road and began our journey. Having been involved in fundraising rounds in the past, I knew the challenges of raising money. I’d never done it virtually and of course I wanted to ensure we found the right investor. One who not only believed in our mission, but also shared our values. We wanted a valuation that met current shareholder wants. And I wanted to ensure the business was not distracted by the inevitable flurry of data requests, meetings, and unanswerable questions.
We weren’t a tech stock able to sell the dream of a 100x return in 24 months so the pool of investors narrowed quickly. We had a coaching product that lots were interested in. We had strong revenue built up over four years with a good breadth of customers and employees that loved us. We had a brand and community that loved Sanctus. That believed in what we stood for and what we believed in when thinking about building for longevity. For all stakeholders. And that we were ‘human-first, tech-enabled’, not the other way around.
Nine months later, and the emotional rollercoaster complete, I believe we have found someone in ScaleUp that shares some of the same beliefs in what it takes to build a business in the mental health and wellbeing market, and has seen what potential lies in Sanctus. To realise this we are going to be making some clear and early investments in the following:
- Product. We have listened to employees and organisations alike. We need to meet more of our employees where they are on their individual journeys. To do that we will be releasing features that improve flexibility, that build further reach and give people the important tools they need to grow. More to come.
- Team. We will continue to invest in our current group of talented people who have supported the growth to date as well as bringing in more specialists to meet demand. (No need to ping me recruiters. We have already selected)
- B-Corp. Enshrining our core beliefs of building business as a force for good, we plan to embark on the B-Corp journey in short order and put in place the plan we want to help all stakeholders in our business.
Plenty to get on with but at the right pace. The next phase of foundation building and organisational change requires careful and deliberate actions, balanced with moving promptly to support our partners.
So as I reflect on the journey and transition into focusing on the future and a few final words and observations of the last 12 months.
It was wonderful to hear all parties in the transaction talk about their family. For corporate lawyers to say “I can’t do that time because I’m picking up the kids”. For everyone to realise the deal was just a priority amongst all other of life’s priorities. I was thankful to the Sanctus team, to the Board and my wife for picking up the extra physical and emotional load that comes with closing a round. And I’m satisfied that whilst compromises were made, all parties can step into the next stage of our growth confident we’ve done what was necessary to put the business on a stronger footing for the future.
To helping shape what it means to be human at work and to Sanctus coaching helping every employee to thrive.