Chatterbox, a London-based online language learning platform, has raised over €1.7 million in a pre-seed round led by Guardian Media Group Ventures (GMG), with participation from Phil Libin’s All Turtle.
The round was also backed by Not On The Highstreet, Goldman Sachs, Mustard Seed Maze, RLC Ventures and SoftBank.
With the fresh capital, the startup plans to expand its services to tap the huge wealth of talent in refugee and marginalised communities. It will also use the funding to develop its ‘diversity as a service’ offering with new products and services. The remote-first startup is currently making strategic hires across product development, learning, sales and marketing.
Founded in 2016 by Afghani refugee Mursal Hedayat MBE and Y Combinator alumna Guillemette Dejean, Chatterbox is on a mission to shake things up in the labour market. The platform is helping the growing numbers of marginalised professionals find opportunities in the online economy, whilst at the same time helping global brands build the diverse globally distributed teams that will lead to post-pandemic success. The refugee-powered AI-driven online language learning platform will now attempt to connect refugees impacted by war, famine and even climate change.
The company’s vision is to see a world where people are valued for their talent regardless of their backgrounds and life experiences. One where overlooked talent is transformed into the secret weapon of the most innovative organisations that are leading the way in how business will be conducted in the future – globally. It envisions a workforce empowered by language skills, cultural intelligence, and the freedom to navigate the global economy with confidence and flair.
Commenting on the funding, Founder and CEO of Chatterbox, said,
“As we’re seeing from the Ukrainian crisis, unfortunately, we live in a world where mass displacement of talented people from war, famine and even climate change is increasingly commonplace. Whether it’s single parents, disabled workers or even refugees – this funding will help us further our mission of helping businesses engage with this amazing pool of marginalised talent, especially as the pandemic accelerates the shift towards globally distributed and remote-first firms.”
Chatterbox, currently operates out of London and Lisbon, initially started out as an online language learning school to help Syrian refugees earn a living by teaching Arabic to professionals looking to improve their language skills but has since grown to encompass other refugee and marginalised groups with a proven track record of increasing team cultural intelligence, morale and engagement.
The startup’s trained professionals are working with Unilever, PwC and the British Red Cross.
Sam Rickard, Finance Director, GMG Ventures, added:
“Chatterbox enables businesses to access a valuable pool of talent, creating employment opportunities for refugees and other marginalised communities. We have been following the team’s progress since our first meeting in early 2019 and we are excited to support them through the next stage of their growth.”
In May 2019, Chatter had raised an undisclosed amount in non equity assistance from Maze X. Prior to that, the company had raised £230,000 in a pre-seed round from Bethnal Green Ventures, among others in 2016.