20 years ago, so many of our favourite brands were born in a founder’s garage. These days, brands often find their beginnings in a coffee shop. For eSwapp, this couldn’t be more true. Uyen Ngo, a former marketer for multinationals such as Danone and GlaxoSmithKline, loved her morning fuel so much, she wanted to master the art of roasting, cupping and pour-over. Barista courses cost about £5,000, so Uyen thought if a barista could teach her to make coffee professionally, she could help them with their branding or digital marketing.
What started as a B2C idea in October 2018 quickly became a SaaS platform in 2019, after Uyen realised the gap of skill sharing within the corporate Learning and Development (L&D) market. £285 billion is spent globally in L&D every year, and yet 77% of employees don’t think they can rely on their employers to upskill them*(Statista and PwC reports, 2019). eSwapp solves that problem by connecting colleagues to upskill one-on-one with each other online or in person, and helping organisations grow businesses using their most valuable assets, their staff’s skills.
Co-founder and COO Ghazal Diani, formerly at RBS and Goldman Sachs, joined the fledging startup to oversee operational functions and lead Business Development. eSwapp has also grown to include a great combination of technical and commercial skills, with team members who worked for Google, Yale University, DDB, as well as AI startups. eSwapp has been recognised early for its vision and technology, becoming one of 14 UK companies selected for a British government mission to the Netherlands on Artificial Intelligence in 2019.
Uyen Ngo, CEO, said, ‘The incredible thing about eSwapp users is, no two are the same. We’re not here to “match” people. We’re here to bring together Swappers and their valued skills and empower organisations to know in real time what skills are missing. Our three-layer mathematical model, developed by a former associate at Yale and Cambridge University, makes skill predictions to help organisations get ahead of the curve with strategic business decisions backed by smart data. This pre-seed round will go towards new hires, fine-tuning our product development, and a solid client acquisition and retention strategy.’
eSwapp’s private investor said, ‘I am thrilled to invest in and partner with eSwapp to bring its array of benefits to more companies through skill sharing and knowledge transfer in the workplace. They help to solve some of the biggest pain points in business, and I see huge potential in eSwapp’s approach towards unlocking the potential that already exists within organisations.
As an investor, I’m laser focussed on the quality of the founders. Uyen and Ghazal bring a wealth of experience from their corporate backgrounds and have the ability to attract first class talent from around the world to join their team.’
Recently joined as Chief Customer Officer is Andrew Read. No stranger to the startup world, Andrew was one of the first employees of a startup acquired by IBM, and recently Director of Sales at Adobe and Head of Sales & Strategy at MediaMelon.
Did Uyen finally get to learn how to make coffee like a pro? She certainly made headway, learning directly from a part-time barista in London (pre-Covid of course) in return for helping him with branding for his graphic design business. Though she has not mastered latte art (yet), she now knows that dialling-in’ in barista speak refers to balancing coffee grind size, dose, and how long the extraction takes for an espresso shot, rather than phoning for coffee delivery. And that’s probably a lot more than most startup CEOs know about coffee.
eSwapp is a complete skill platform enabling organisational success. It empowers users to learn and share skills with their colleagues to excel in their careers and helps organisations to grow businesses using their most valuable assets, their staff’s skills. eSwapp uses Machine Learning for its four solutions: Capture, Upskill, Benchmark, Prediction, to provide actionable insight into current skills, training needs and skills gap analysis, how the organization compares on industry standards and to give skill predictions to make strategic business decisions. With a strong team previously at Google, Goldman Sachs, Yale University, Pfizer and Adobe to name but a few, eSwapp aspires to revolutionise the Future of Work. It was one of 14 UK companies selected for a British government mission to the Netherlands on Artificial Intelligence in 2019, among other achievements.