Exeter graduate launches HR platform with support from Exeter alumnus

Published on: 26 April 2016

Tom Carrington Smith, Rob O'Donovan and Ben Gateley are Co-Founders of CharlieHR, The free HR platform for small business.

The most important asset to any company is its people, says Tom Carrington Smith Exeter graduate and Cofounder of CharlieHR - The free HR platform for small business.

So it’s no surprise that the ethos of CharlieHR is to focus on people by making it easy for companies to take on board new hires, manage time off and employees’ data securely. Meaning directors and managers are able to focus on running their business without the ‘administrative burden’ of HR processes.

Tom revealed: “With Charlie HR, we're building a platform that quietly and effectively automates many of those tedious headaches you experience when starting and growing a company. The aim is to give more of the very thing people need the most: time.”

He continued: “We believe it’s the small companies of today that will solve the important problems of tomorrow. Charlie itself might not change the world — it’s unlikely to lift millions out of poverty, solve world peace or cure a life threatening disease — but we’re building the tools to empower the people that will.”

The CharlieHR platform has already been used by 650 companies in more than 20 countries.

They have also announced a £1million seed investment round led by Connect Ventures and early-stage fund Seedcamp as well as a group of angel investors that includes Exeter alumnus, Nick Hungerford, Founder of Nutmeg, the UK’s first online discretionary investment management company.

Nick said: "The experience of building Nutmeg has taught me the value of every second. The admin of running a company can distract from doing what is needed to earn success. I'm really excited about Tom and his team's vision for how CharlieHR can help create time for founders and how smart their automated service is. Happier teams equal happier entrepreneurs!"

The future for CharlieHR is to extend the services it provides by offering companies the opportunity to upgrade their account to include various additional attributes such as employee pensions. This is in-line with impending legislation requiring all small businesses across the UK to automatically enrol their staff in a workplace pension scheme.

Tom developed his own business Unisport Online whilst studying for his degree at Exeter. He then went on to become a Student Entrepreneur in Residence (SEIR) based at the Innovation Centre working with students at the University eager to discover more about pursuing a career building their own business.

Tom explained: “It was very much an accident that I fell into the world of technology and startups. I wasn't selling football stickers at school, or someone who always wanted to start a company. But by having an idea whilst studying at Exeter, I ended up in the Innovation Centre talking to Joe Pearce and wound up starting a business. That moment and experience of trying to start a business whilst at University taught me more than I could ever have possibly imagined about myself and about small businesses.”

Tom commented: “Without the support the University of Exeter, The Innovation Centre and specifically, Joe Pearce, I would not have stumbled into the world of startups. I'm forever grateful for the moment I ended up at Joe's door.”

 

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