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Yorkshire-based start-up more than doubles team during coronavirus pandemic

A Yorkshire Ed Tech start-up has more than doubled its team in the last 6 months, growing from three full-time members to eleven during the global pandemic.

Natterhub is a safe and educational social media platform that allows children to learn about the internet, social media and screen use.

Based in Sheffield, the company was founded by chief executive officer Manjit Sareen, chief operating officer, Deepak Sareen and chief creative officer and former sssistant headteacher, Caroline Allams. As parents of young children they recognised the increasing need to equip children with the knowledge and skills to use the internet wisely and safely.

The company has seen exponential growth since its launch in April, with over 2,000 schools in 38 countries already using the platform.

As a result of this, Natterhub has hired eight new full-time team members: Gemma Exelby as marketing manager, Phil Bayles as a content writer, Sam Harris as a software developer and Peter Millard as a senior developer. Kitty Crowther also joins Natterhub as a teacher support advisor, Ruby Qaimkhani as a business development consultant, and Rio Athwal as an intern. Thomas Woodward will also be joining the team as a junior developer in October.

Natterhub is part of TwinklHive, the business accelerator created by the global educational publisher Twinkl. The Natterhub platform was created by the founders but developed further by  educational experts and developers at Twinkl. Although the team at Twinkl and TwinklHive will continue to support the business, Natterhub is delighted to be growing its own inhouse team of talented individuals.

Gemma Exelby joined Natterhub as marketing manager from Purple Agency, where as a senior account executive she managed internal projects and supported the project management process across international teams. Gemma also previously trained and worked as a primary school teacher, with her combined experience making her an ideal advocate for Natterhub.

She said: “I’d been working in project management since 2018, and whilst I enjoyed the work, there was always something missing. Natterhub’s ethos and purpose is so important and meaningful for education and it has become clear to me that this was the missing piece.

“It’s wonderful to work with a team where everyone is willing to get their hands stuck in for anything and everything. An ideal scenario for a startup business.

“None of us have actually met each other face-to-face as we have all been hired during the coronavirus pandemic, but it feels like we’ve known each other for years.”

Former primary school teacher Kitty Crowther has also joined Natterhub as a teacher support adviser. Kitty’s role focuses on helping the teachers and schools using Natterhub to have the best user experience possible, from supporting them to sign-up to helping them with any future questions or queries.

Kitty, who has worked as a primary school teacher for the last four years, said: “As a teacher, you are an important role model in a child’s life and it’s our duty to support them to keep as safe as possible when online. Natterhub provided an exciting opportunity to join a growing company that has a vision to support our future generations.

“Natterhub is helping to transform education about the online world in an engaging and creative way and I wanted to be a part of that journey.”

Natterhub was launched in April this year, a month earlier than planned, as the team recognised that it would be useful for teachers and children to use during school closures.

They knew that children would be using the internet for learning and socialising and Natterhub could be used by teachers to share work and for pupils to learn and develop their digital skills in a safe environment. Originally created for classroom use, the team quickly adapted Natterhub to make it ideal for home-use too, and made it available for free.

Natterhub was the first start-up company to join TwinklHive, which was launched by Twinkl at the end of last year. By providing support to EdTech start-ups, TwinklHive brings together emerging companies set to transform areas of education and make a difference to the lives of teachers and pupils.

TwinklHive provides residency, investment and a range of business support to emerging companies that make a difference.

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