Management software firm Clear Review has secured £500,000 from Mercia Fund Managers; its first round of external funding.

The investment will be used to grow the seven strong team and allow the company to further develop its product and expand its sales and marketing efforts.

Clear Review is a performance management platform for the workplace, intended as an alternative to annual appraisals. The platform allows managers to set goals and objectives and provide continuous feedback to employees. Managers can also pass the data onto HR in order to influence rewards and promotions.

Founder Stuart Hearn launched the London-based startup in 2016. He has previously worked as the CEO of One Touch Apps and HR Director at Sony Music. He also ran his own performance and talent management consultancy, where he developed the idea for Clear Review. He felt a need to replace standard appraisals with a more effective system.

Hearn said: “Research shows us that the traditional annual appraisal model does very little to improve performance. In fact, in many cases, it is dreaded by staff and managers alike and seen as a tick-box exercise. Clear Review is a simple, easy to use tool that enables organisations to move to continuous performance improvement by focusing on quality conversations, near-term goals and real-time feedback.

“Managers and staff are given a supporting framework which enables them to build a meaningful performance dialogue which improves engagement and productivity, while HR leaders are provided with visibility and insight into key performance metrics,” he added.

Clear Review is used by over 70 companies including Yorkshire & Clydesdale Bank, Aston Villa Football Club, the government’s Valuation Office Agency and the UK Supreme Court, and claims to generate revenues of over £500,000.

Alistair Forbes, investment director at Mercia, said: “As forward-thinking businesses move away from outdated annual performance reviews, Clear Review offers a system that supports a more effective continuous performance management approach.

“The company has built an impressive list of blue-chip clients in a short space of time and has had consistent revenue growth. We firmly believe that Clear Review can appeal to a much wider potential audience, both in the UK and overseas and we are excited to be supporting the next phase of the company’s development.”

Mercia Fund Managers acquired Enterprise Ventures in March 2016. It’s made up of over 60 investment professionals who raise and invest debt, venture and growth capital into innovative SMEs across the UK.

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