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Investment boost for Anglesey online events platform

Tom Burke, founder of Haia

Anglesey-based online events platform, Haia celebrates this week with the announcement of significant investment deals from early-stage funder SFC Capital and Stakeholderz angel funding.

Haia, which aims to rival Zoom and the like was co-founded less than two years ago by Tom Burke and Andy Esser to facilitates online and hybrid events. It has built-in accessibility features and real time Welsh text and voice translation is in development with Bangor University’s Language Technology Unit, Canolfan Bedwyr.

Founder Tom Burke said: “This is great news for Haia and such a boost to our efforts to get our product to market – we’re very grateful to SFC Capital for getting on board and for having confidence in us.

“Haia is a unique platform which aims to make events more accessible – and not just in the work place. It has been designed to be used for community events, art performances as well as meetings and conferences.

“From the beginning we have been driven by a vision to create something that is friendlier than our competitors’ products and makes attending gatherings easier for everyone. As we emerge from the pandemic, we need to remember that online worked well for some but shut others out. Haia has been designed to meet these challenges and to exceed expectations of online and hybrid events.”

Ed Stevenson from SFC Capital adds: “SFC Capital are delighted to invest in Haia and the outstanding team behind it. With the increased prevalence of events and conferences being held remotely, there has never been a better time for the product and technology that Haia has developed. We fully expect the shift in attendance to continue going in this direction even as we leave the pandemic behind us, and we are sure that Haia will be at the front of this moving forward.”

Megan Snijman, VP of Operations, Stakeholderz added: “We are thrilled to have been a part of this funding round for Haia bringing angel investment to the business. Tom was brilliant to work with and we look forward to watching them grow. As a platform that does a lot of online and in-person events, we are looking forward to using Haia ourselves.”

The SFC Capital, Stakeholderz and individual angels investment totalled £210k is in addition to the £470k funding already secured from Innovate UK.

From its base at the iconic M-SParc in Gaerwen, Haia already employs a team of 5 and aims to launch this summer. With bold ambitions to grow, the team is now calling on groups, businesses and organisations to register to run test events using the “Haia Hosts” service free of charge.

Tom explains: “As we finalise the development and design of our platform, we are keen to speak to people who would like to use Haia for their events supported by our technical team. If anyone is interested in learning more, I would urge them to get in touch with us.”

News of the investment comes a few weeks after Haia was nominated as a finalist for the Daily Post Business Awards. This is the company’s second award nomination in less than 12 months and heralds the next phase of development for the business as it scales up with a growing team.