Case Study

Kooth's founder and CEO Tim Barker tells us about tackling the crisis in mental health.

Kooth is a leading digital mental health provider for children, young people and adults, who are now the largest provider of digital mental health services to 11-25 year olds in the UK. 5.4 million children, young people and adults were able to access Kooth, as of December 2019. We spoke to Tim Barker, CEO, about the company and recent IPO in London.

What does your company do?

Kooth is a company focused on tackling what is one of the biggest challenges of our times, which is the crisis in mental health.

While we started with support for children and young people through the NHS, clearly the world of work is where there is an increasing focus on employee wellbeing and a need, especially in the new normal, to support every employee. So Kooth Work is a big area of focus for us, providing our service to organisations so they can protect and support their employee’s given mental health issues are the number one cause of long term sickness in organisations.

We are seeing a serious and worrying rise in mental health conditions in this climate and we are here to help.

What are the advantages to having your company in London?

Born in Manchester, the company was later acquired by a London-based private equity firm which helped give us access to the equity in helping us scale up and grow the business. Being in London meant we had access to incredible talent to grow our commercial and technical teams with a network of expertise available. This was particularly important given we were building a digital platform.

Based in our office near Moorgate we have access to a great ecosystem of talent, alongside finance and sales we have built an exceptional technical team with technical experience in engineering, product design marketing and data scientists. London is the best place to find that talent.

What has the IPO enabled?

AIM was the ideal market to list on, as a UK founded small-cap with international expansion plans it was a no-brainer listing on this market in London. The IPO is a way for us to raise proceeds for growth in the long term and there are three real benefits we are seeing from the IPO:

  1. Use of proceeds. We have net proceeds of eight million which we can use to invest in our technology and teams to scale up to meet the immense need for mental health support we are all seeing, in an innovative way with a digital platform.
  2. An extra level of governance and transparency. This is particularly significant as we work frequently with the public sector.
  3. Provides a seal of approval in a trust-orientated market. We sometimes have vulnerable people coming to us for support and we are in a market that is built on a foundation of trust. By listing on the London Stock Exchange and particularly AIM, a highly regarded exchange and market, that elevates us both from a customer perspective as a trusted provider but also in talent acquisition, to be demonstrably at a level of trust having completed a successful listing with full transparency going forward.

Given the timing of IPO, we dug into the surface as to some of the possibilities of a virtual IPO, using pre-existing tools such as Zoom and protected portals for sending confidential documentation. We even conducted the test marketing and then the entire investor roadshow on Zoom, without meeting a single investor in the real world. We were astonished as to how well that all worked in London. We assessed the impact of Covid-19 and found that what we needed to do as a service would be in high demand going forward and the real network of trust and relationships helped make this a smooth and successful process.

Trust in the ecosystem is really what you have in London, the teams we engaged with throughout the IPO process were phenomenal in knowing the balance between science and art that goes into taking a company onto the London Stock Exchange.

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