UK’s female-founded startup HACE raises €525K to help eradicate child labour with data and AI

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Manchester-based HACE: Data Changing Child Labour, announced that it has surpassed its pre-seed funding target by 20 per cent, securing £450K (approximately €525K).

The UK-based company uses data and AI to assist investors in monitoring and mitigating the risk of child labour within their portfolio companies’ supply chains.

HACE exceeded its funding goal by £75K in a challenging 2023 funding landscape. Manchester Angels led the round, with co-investments from GC Angels, Ada Ventures, Found Capital, and various individual angel investors.

HACE: Data Changing Child Labour

Addressing the global issue of child labour involving 160 million children, HACE has introduced an innovative solution – the Child Labour Index. 

This AI-powered ESG rating evaluates companies and portfolios based on three criteria: company disclosure, public perception, and supply chain practices. 

Tailored for asset managers, consultants, banks, insurers, and other professional services, this index stands as the sole real-time quantitative metric available in the market for reporting on child labour.

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Founded in 2020 by Eleanor Harry, HACE initially received £55K in grant funding from the Greater Manchester AI Foundry and the University of Cambridge. The company initially generated revenue from its initial service but shifted its focus to developing the Child Labour Index.

Capital utilisation

HACE will use the funds to complete the build of its flagship product, the Child Labour Index. This tool aids asset managers in identifying and addressing child labour risks in their portfolios, promoting positive change through the Stewardship Toolkit.

Leveraging AI, HACE’s ESG rating system produces three distinct risk scores for companies and portfolios, specifically targeting child labour issues.

The funding will help continue the ongoing Proof-of-Concept feedback and Pilot phases with select asset and wealth managers. HACE will use the proceeds to enhance its Stewardship Toolkit.

The UK-based company will also invest in the growth of its Independent Business Advisory Board and continued research on the issue of child labour as a business and investment risk.

Eleanor Harry, CEO of HACE, says, “To be able to oversubscribe the funding round in the current economic conditions is a monumental achievement for HACE and a testament to the growing awareness of the scale of the child labour issue and the role that technology will play in sustainably eradicating it.”

“We want to express our thanks to all of those who have supported or contributed to the raise and the success of HACE more broadly, including all of our investors, KPMG Acceleris and KPMG Law.”

“HACE is on a mission to create tangible change, something we wouldn’t be able to do without the help of all those involved,” adds Harry.

Recent developments

In addition to the funding, HACE has also forged a joint development and technological partnership with software provider Equal Experts.

The company has unveiled a new board of directors, led by Eric Solomons, former Office Managing Partner of RSM. The board also includes Paul Inella, CEO of Tetrid Digital Integrity, and John Freeman, Senior Director at Johnson & Johnson.

HACE, with a team of four and a half employees, has appointed Chris Turpin as Business Partner. Leveraging 27 years of financial services experience, Turpin will drive improved engagement to eradicate child labour from corporate supply chains.

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Vishal Singh

Vishal Singh is a News Reporter and Social Media Marketing Lead at Silicon Canals. He covers developments in the European startup ecosystem and oversees the publication's social media presence. Before joining Silicon Canals, Vishal gained experience at the Indian digital media outlet Inc42, contributing to its growth with insightful content. Despite being a college dropout, his passion for writing has driven his career in journalism.

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