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London Tech Week

Tangent’s tech trajectory: $1.1M pre-seed investment fuels social ascent

Tangent Team Photo
Tangent Team. Image credits; Tangent

As anyone who has tried knows, upward social mobility is hard. The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” still rings true. Platforms including LinkedIn can help, but in many industries, getting a foot in the door without a credible referral is extremely difficult.

Tangent, a dynamic technology startup headquartered in London, aims to rectify this, starting with the tech sector. Tangent has successfully concluded a pre-seed funding round, raising $1.1 million. This investment marks a pivotal moment for Tangent as it strives to amplify social mobility within the tech industry.

The funding round attracted a diverse array of investors, including Zinc VC, Google Black Founders Fund, and the Syndicate Room. Notable angel investors such as Leonard Picardo (Deliveroo), Catherine Lenson (formerly of Phoenix Court Group), and Andrew Robb (FarFetch) joined the initiative. Moreover, scouts from renowned entities like Atomico and Ada Ventures lent their support, underscoring the widespread recognition of Tangent’s mission.

A vision for inclusive tech

Founded by industry veterans Gary Izunwa and Joe Adams, both distinguished alumni of LinkedIn and EE, Tangent is on a mission to bridge the gap in social mobility within the tech sector. The platform serves as a nexus, connecting aspiring job seekers from low socioeconomic backgrounds with seasoned tech professionals for mentorship and employment opportunities.

Addressing disparities in tech

Tangent’s emergence comes at a crucial juncture, as recent data underscores the glaring disparity in socioeconomic representation within the UK tech workforce. Despite comprising 39% of the total UK population, individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds constitute a mere 9% of the tech workforce. In comparison to the finance and law industries, where 29% and 23% of employees respectively come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, this figure is notably worse. Tangent aims to redress this imbalance by facilitating access to opportunities for underrepresented talent.

Empowering through connection

At its core, Tangent facilitates connections between job seekers and leading tech employers in London, including industry titans such as Stripe, Amazon, and Revolut. By fostering mentorship, guidance, and employee referrals, Tangent empowers individuals from diverse backgrounds to navigate the competitive tech landscape with confidence and competence.

“You are nine times more likely to be hired through an employee referral, however if you come from a less privileged background like me, chances are you don’t have a professional network to get referred,” said Tangent co-founder & CEO Gary Izunwa.

A personal journey ignites a collective mission

For co-founder and CEO Gary Izunwa, Tangent’s inception is deeply rooted in personal experience. As an advocate for social mobility and a former LinkedIn professional, Gary witnessed firsthand the barriers faced by individuals lacking access to professional networks. Determined to level the playing field, Gary embarked on a mission to democratise opportunities within the tech realm.

“I ticked lots of the less privileged boxes when I was younger but became socially mobile after joining LinkedIn.” Said Gary. “LinkedIn is an amazing company, but whilst there, I kept on seeing my private schooled colleagues refer their private schooled friends and them landing top jobs. It felt so unfair for those who are just as talented but lack the networks.”

“Companies love referrals but in their current form they damage diversity as the existing referral talent pools are homogenous. We’re building a network of socially diverse, talented individuals who connect directly with tech employees and have access to opportunities they previously couldn’t access.” Added Joe Adams.

A testament to collaboration and innovation

The convergence of Tangent’s founders through Zinc VC’s Venture Builder program epitomises the spirit of collaborative innovation. Bolstered by their shared vision and propelled by Zinc’s unwavering support, Gary and Joe transformed their aspirations into tangible solutions. The successful launch of Tangent’s MVP and its subsequent adoption by enterprise clients attest to the platform’s efficacy in addressing industry challenges.

“Tangent sits at the heart of Zinc’s thesis of building commercial solutions to solve the world’s most pressing problems. We’ve been inspired by the progress that Gary and Joe have achieved in a short space of time and are excited to continue to partner with them on the next phase of their journey,” said Ella Goldner, General Partner at Zinc VC.

Looking ahead

As Tangent emerges from beta, fuelled by the momentum of its pre-seed investment, the platform stands poised to redefine the tech recruitment landscape. By harnessing the power of diversity and inclusion, Tangent endeavours to unlock untapped potential, driving positive change within the tech ecosystem.

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