Berlin-based Propel, an HRtech startup that developed a managed services platform for communities and talent, announced on Monday that it has secured €2.5M in a fresh round of funding.
Propel says it will use the funds to expand its community platform, launch new tools to its value stack, and strengthen its ecosystem of communities.
The company has so far raised over €3M and was a Google Black Founders Fund winner in Europe last summer.
Mariama Boumanjal, Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Manager Europe and Africa, says, “If we want technology to work for everyone, it needs to be built by everyone.
“Propel’s inclusive approach to tackling the global skills shortage problem is inspiring.
“We are proud to have supported them through our programme, and excited for what they’d do next.”
Investors supporting Propel
The round was led by Amsterdam-based No Such Ventures.
APX (Axel Springer & Porsche), Golden Egg Check, and Future of Learning Fund also participated in this round.
Sophie Heijenberg, an investor at No Such Ventures, says, “Propel’s unique, community-focused approach to driving the open talent economy sets them apart and is a solid addition to the Future of Work category. We’re bullish about their roadmap, and super-excited to partner with them on this growth journey.”
“Powering the open talent economy”
Founded in 2020 by Sunkanmi Ola, Seun Owolabi and Abel Agoi, Propel offers solutions that tech talent communities (developer groups, talent incubators, training institutions, etc.) can utilise to address last-mile issues such as linking their members to employment opportunities, financial services (loans, asset financing), and other perks and rewards.
Propel provides this ‘value stack’ as a single platform that communities can use to better serve their members.
With offices in Lisbon and Lagos, the company collaborates with over 100+ tech communities in 15 different countries, serving almost 400,000 members.
Highlights include Niyo Network, a UK-based organisation that runs Web2 and Web3 bootcamps for underrepresented women; SheCodeAfrica, one of Africa’s largest female-focused communities; Ingressive for Good, an open community that annually trains thousands of people in tech; and others like Datafest, People In Product, Friends of Figma, and various Google Developer Groups.
The communities that make up the Propel ecosystem vary greatly in terms of size, geography, gender distribution, tech stack, etc.
Sunkanmi Ola says, “Communities are the building blocks of any ecosystem – and tech communities, especially across high-growth markets like Africa and within underrepresented groups, have emerged in their thousands to cover the massive gaps in education, capacity building, and inclusion.”
“They discover, up-skill, and mentor talent; organise hackathons, events, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and respond to global trends quicker than is possible for traditional institutions.”
“However, they are constantly on the lookout for how to solve problems faced by their members and become more financially sustainable, while still pushing to achieve their impact goals. That’s a very tall order. But by giving communities access to a plug-in platform that solves their last mile, Propel helps them focus on what they know how to do best.”
“And with communities being able to grow and connect deeper on a local level, Propel is looking to tangibly impact the growth of millions of people on a scale that has not been seen before,” adds Ola.
Propel connects to the diverse talent pools within tech communities, stretching across numerous skill sets, from software development to design, data science to no-code, and other digital transformation talents, in return for providing last-mile infrastructure.
This pipeline is made available to multinational corporations under a paradigm referred to as “Community as a Service”.
Propel has collaborated with organisations including Porsche, Mercedes, Orange Telecoms, Farfetch, Stepstone, as well as a number of startups and scaleups, particularly in Europe, for a variety of reasons, including hiring talent, co-creating hackathons for certain communities, and developing DEI projects.
Seun Owolabi says, “At Propel, we’re championing more responsible and regenerative ways of hiring/building talent pipelines. Rather than deploying opportunistic practices like headhunting or poaching, we participate deeply in ecosystems, using proprietary technology to find the best talent within communities.”
“And when we place people in jobs, our revenue is shared with the community they belong to – which is reinvested into programmes and initiatives needed to get more people into tech.”
“In summary, Propel is where ambitious companies come to find the talent that is just right for their needs and crowd-solve tech challenges while doing good at the same time,” adds Owolabi.
Culled from Siliconcanals