Investment boost for Anglesey tech firm aiming to rival Zoom

AN ANGLESEY technology company is celebrating this week following the announcement of significant investment deals from early-stage funder SFC Capital and Stakeholderz angel funding.

“Haia”, which aims to rival Zoom and others, was co-founded less than two years ago by Tom Burke and Andy Esser to facilitate 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.

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 workplace.

“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.”

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Ed Stevenson, from SFC Capital, added: “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, vice president of operations at 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.”

This £210,000 investment is in addition to the £470,000 funding already secured from Innovate UK.

There is still a small amount of space for potential investors in this round, before Haia progresses to Series A funding.

From its base at Menai Science Park in Gaerwen, Haia already employs a team of five 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 said: “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 me.”

For further information, contact Tom Burke on tom@haia.live.

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey