Anti-bullying platform raises £750k investment
An anti-bullying platform has raised more than £750,000 investment as it adapts its education-focused app for the workplace.
Tootoot was launched in September 2015 and is active in schools, colleges and universities to allow students to anonymously report incidents of bullying and cyber-bullying.
A version of the app is now being developed for use within sports organisations and the workplace.
CEO Michael Brennan founded Tootoot with Kieran Innes after he experienced bullying at school.
"Our purpose as a company is to give young people a way to raise issues, and give schools the right tools to intervene early and address these issues," he said.
"To us, it's vital that schools are able to measure the right things and I know from personal experience that wellbeing and academic attainment go hand in hand.
"We're lucky that our new investors believe in the importance of a tool like this, as it gives us the ability to continue our growth and introduce Tootoot to new markets to support the mental health and wellbeing of adults as well as young people."
Former Great Britain rugby league player Terry Flanagan, Tangerine PR and The Juice Academy founder Sandy Lindsay and AO.com non-executive director Chris Hopkinson are among the investors in the series A round.
Former Oldham star Flanagan is chairman of the Warrington firm.
"We're all becoming more aware of the impact of bullying and harassment, not just in schools but in sport and across workplaces and society as a whole, so supporting a tool that gives people a voice and helps schools and companies to prioritise mental health is an easy decision to make,” he said.
"For me, it is not just about the solution; it's the people making it happen. Michael, Kieran and the team are personally invested in making a real difference and this means we're involved in a journey that's both transformative and rewarding."
Lindsay said: "Having experienced a small amount of bullying myself at school, I do remember the feeling of helplessness and the difference then was that we could escape to our families at home – young people nowadays can never get away from bullying as it's done on their mobile devices, all hours of the day and night.
"I am very involved in the world of education and skills as chair of skills groups for the IoD and NWBLT and I know how vital school attendance and engagement is – 18 per cent of school absenteeism is caused by bullying and so this app is a vital tool in supporting our next generation."