Bristol-based TalkLife is a new kind of engaging global peer support social network to help young people struggling with the ups and downs of life, tackling mental health issues including self-injurious behaviours, eating disorders, anxiety and those battling depression. They have recently completed their latest funding round of £390k from some key local investors.

The business was founded by Jamie Druitt, whose personal experience inspired him to create TalkLife. It is now helping 750,000 users (in 125 countries) and they have recently developed a world first machine learning engine in partnership with Microsoft Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, to better identify at risk users and launch interventions in real time. They have recently moved to Bristol, as Jamie explains, “TalkLife has been growing quickly and we saw Bristol as a fantastic place to establish a base. We’re only a small local team now but we’re a global business so we’re delighted to add to the knowledge base in the region. It’s also refreshing for us to have investors nearby who can really support us.”

South West investors will now include the founders of Pukka Herbs (Sebastian Pole) and Vouchercloud (Greg Le Tocq), both from well-known businesses who have embraced innovation in their own sectors. Sebastian said, “Everyone wants to be happy, but life often asks more of us than we can manage on our own. So, in our time of complex mental health pressures, we support TalkLife in their pursuit of helping people find a voice in the digital sphere. A confidential, discreet and effective listening ear is essential to help people when the going gets too painful.”

Charles van der Lande and Philip Edmonds from Bristol based law firm Roxburgh Milkins provided corporate law advice to the TalkLife team throughout the process (with Shaw & Co. giving corporate finance support).

Philip Edmonds (Solicitor at Roxburgh Milkins), commented, We were really pleased to be able to help TalkLife with this next stage of their development, supporting their growth in the area as well as some great technological advances that they have in the pipeline. We always enjoy helping people develop amazing ideas, so we look forward to continuing to support them in this journey”.

Jennifer Russell (COO at TalkLife), said, “The teams at Roxburgh Milkins and Shaw & Co have really helped us during this process.  The funding will allow us to develop beyond our current platform, as we move to support both veterans and university students in 2019.  We work alongside some of the top universities in the world, so we’d equally love to be able to support the students locally.”

Jim Shaw (Partner and founder at Shaw & Co), added, “We are delighted to have helped TalkLife with their recent raise. The business is addressing one of the most fundamental needs in our evolving society with highly innovative and scalable technology. There is certainly an exciting future ahead for the business and one we are delighted to be a part of.”