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Ones To Watch 2021

Gritty Talent Group

Gritty Talent GroupGritty Talent Group

The Gritty Talent app is a game-changing piece of technology, transforming the way that TV and the wider media industry engage with talent and break their ‘diversity deadlock’.

Designed, built and launched during lockdown to tackle the urgent diversity and inclusion challenge faced by the UK’s TV and Film industry (a problem amplified by Covid-19), our services are already being used by BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and a long list of production companies.

Founder Mel Rodrigues came up with the idea to design inclusive, anti-bias technology while running a slate of talent pipeline and technology projects for the BBC. When the pandemic hit, the crucial business of finding and nurturing on and off screen talent on the ground was brought to a standstill.

Mel set about innovating a technology-based solution that would not only tackle barriers to accessing untapped and under-represented talent, but make the industry more resilient to future shocks like Covid-19, by moving this business-critical workflow online. Funded by an £100k grant from Innovate UK - our platform transforms the formerly ‘in person’ process of talent discovery and connection into a simple seamless, digital service.

By taking an anti-bias approach in our software and people matching algorithms, the platform ensures that the best talent, regardless of background, connects to decision makers. We believe we are one of very few companies with knowhow and IP in inclusive people-matching tech.

With the MVP launched, R&D has begun to deliver more sophisticated functionality, spin off products (like diversity and pay monitoring), and the collection and analysis of quality data points to test/train anti-bias algorithms.

Surprise factor: This is state of the art: using diversity data and anti-bias algorithms to bring forward high potential creative talent has not been done before. Designed by TV people, for TV people it combines an intuitive, industry friendly interface with best practice D&I, and the latest in data science.

Purpose factor: This product addresses an urgent and complex problem. Talent is the lifeblood of the sector, but the media is currently un-representative of the diverse UK population. This technology tackles the industry’s ‘diversity deadlock’ head-on, as well as creating new and previously inaccessible opportunities for talent, and saving productions significant time and money.

Disruptive factor: Our ambition is to deliver a digital diversity toolkit, with a range of smart applications. Our platform has potentially huge ramifications for how the sector monitors and acts on its diversity and pay gaps. We collect data points that have not been gathered and analysed at this granular level before. This technology will help the best talent be retained and progressed, with tracking and analysis via reliable metrics.

Cross-sectoral impact / global collaboration: Our app is already being used by companies from other sectors: events, education, finance companies and charities looking for diverse talent/speakers. We are talking to potential global partners OneWorld Media and TED.com. Our ambition is to take the product to international media markets and adapt the diversity toolkit to other key sectors (education, technology, engineering etc.)

Commercial impact: Commercial viability has already been proven, with a pre-launch income of £50k secured and interest from all major broadcasters. With a team of 8 and counting, and early interest from seed investors, we are a high-growth start-up, switching up the way that the TV sector interacts with technology and talent. Forecast revenue from subscription and sales June 2021-22 is £240k.

The future potential of this platform to scale, innovate spin-out products and enter new markets is high. With all UK and some international broadcasters committed to diversity targets, and the wider creative industry and other sectors examining their D&I shortfalls, Gritty Talent is uniquely positioned to lead with tech driven solutions.

Being a CIC CreaTech One to Watch would enable us to reach these new markets and build strategic partnerships with international platforms/broadcasters more rapidly. The accolade will provide credibility and visibility with investors for our seed round, and enable us to connect with high calibre-collaborators. Professional advice to review and refine our business plan would be invaluable.

It will also amplify the inspirational stories of our founder and team. A mixed-race woman from a working-class town in the Midlands, Mel Rodrigues never imagined she’d become a senior media practitioner, let alone a tech entrepreneur. Our all-female development team, based in South Wales, have also worked hard to beat the odds, and serve as brilliant role models to raise aspirations for women of all backgrounds in Createch and STEM. If you can see it - you can be it.

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