020 7993 5371 matt@daviesis.com

A Liverpool company which has developed a system to help medium and large organisations to improve their performance has secured a £500,000 finance package from the North West Fund for Venture Capital, managed by Enterprise Ventures.

The investment will help Thirsty Horses Ltd to boost sales and marketing for its Inspire system, which combines HR and organisational development techniques within a software platform. The company plans to create 29 jobs within the next three years.

Thirsty Horses was co-founded by its CEO Ray Pendleton, the former Director of Organisational Development at Aintree University Hospital, and Maurice Spillane. Ray’s experience in both the private and public sectors has included acting as ‘troubleshooter’ in local authorities and NHS bodies. During that time he developed a way to assess the performance level of an organisation and engage staff to bring about rapid improvements.

Inspire replaces traditional performance reviews with a more collaborative approach, and uses social media principles. It allows managers to set goals, guide their team and recognise outstanding performance. It also incoporates diagnostic tools to help leaders monitor the progress of change management programmes.

Inspire is geared to the needs of private and public sector organisations ideally with over 1,000 staff, and has been trialled in organisations throughout the UK, ranging from local authorities to hospitals and large corporates.

As part of the investment deal, Glyn Read has been appointed as Chairman and Fintan Kelly as a Director. Glyn has extensive experience in software businesses and is Chairman of the virtual reality business Virtalis while Fintan is Director of Technology at Appligenics, an Irish software company which is a strategic partner of Thirsty Horses.

Ray said: “I am thrilled to have secured the investment that will allow the company to deliver its plans for growth. I regularly speak with leaders from all sectors and it’s clear that, especially in these austere times, there is a need for an approach that empowers people to act in a way that is aligned to organisational goals and values. Inspire has been proven to do this and, with the team I am now growing, I look forward to continuing to help leaders optimise their performance by engaging their biggest assest; their people.”

Will Clark and Lisa Ward from Enterprise Ventures worked on the funding. Will Clark, Investment Director for the North West Fund for Venture Capital, said: “Inspire software benefits from Ray’s experience in both the public and private sector and is the only program which links individual performance with tools to help managers improve the business. With public sector budgets under particular pressure, it could play an important role in improving service and performance in the NHS and local government.”

Andrew O’Mahony from Brabners in Liverpool provided legal advice to the North West Fund while Phil Whitehurst from DWF in Liverpool acted for the company.