Movemeon employer spotlights are a series of articles highlighting our clients. They detail the internal company culture, employee experience and outline their ideal candidate.
Here, we speak to Alex, the Founder & CEO of Beam.
What is your current role at Beam and what were you doing before?
Im the founder and CEO at Beam, I love to run and grow businesses by attracting and nurturing the most talented people and obsessing over product. In my last role as CEO of JustPark, I grew revenue over 10-fold in 3 years, built a top-class team from 2 to more than 40, raised funding from Index Ventures, and closed the largest equity crowdfunding for a startup at the time.
I’m also the author of a book on the sharing economy, The Business of Sharing (Macmillan, 2015) and have provided expert comment on the topic at Bloomberg TV, Sky News, FOX, NPR, and the BBC among others.
I currently work with a stellar team at Beam to solve the complex problem of homelessness. Beam is the world’s first crowdfunding platform that helps people from disadvantaged backgrounds to train up and get into rewarding work.
What does Beam do and how has the company grown?
Beam is the world’s first online platform that crowdfunds training for homeless people and supports them into skilled work.
We now have big ambitions to provide a global service which will create employment opportunities for disadvantaged people all over the world. We aim to create an incredible human experience for the public, the best upskilling opportunities for people on the platform and a new great pipeline of talent from disadvantaged backgrounds for other companies to hire from. A lot of corporates struggle to hire from a diverse talent pool because they don’t have the right channels. It’s important that someone fills that niche and Beam is in the perfect position to do that.
Our real strength lies in our use of technology – which allows us to be incredibly scalable – as well as the calibre of our team. Coming from some of the world’s top companies and startups, you will be working with an incredibly smart and ambitious team if you join. We also benefit greatly from not being a charity but a social impact business. This allows us to scale faster and ultimately have a far bigger impact.
Why did you decide to set up Beam?
When I was working at my previous start-up I’d got to the point of burning out and, after a period of rest, was looking for the next thing to do. I had a lot of chats with founders of tech start-ups, but ultimately the most impactful conversation I had was with a homeless man outside my local tube station. He told me that he would sit there specifically because there was a security camera overhead and it made it less likely that he would be attacked. I learned his story and discovered that he’d never had a job.
I spoke to him often and would buy him cups of coffee and, in winter, thermal socks. Then, one day he disappeared. When he returned a few weeks later, he was clean-shaven but looked years older. As it turned out, he’d been in hospital after suffering a heart attack.
I realised that his situation was only getting worse, despite my small efforts to help. So I began to think about what I could do to make a lasting difference to his life. Surely he didn’t need another coffee – he needed the training and confidence to support himself. That’d cost a lot more, but what if everyone chipped in? What if we could crowdfund training for homeless people and empower them to support themselves?
I knew nothing about homelessness but eager to learn more. One of the first things I learned was that for every one person on the streets, there are more than 30 homeless people in shelters and other temporary accommodation. There are more than 300,000 people without a home in the UK. Worse yet, over 120,000 of them are children.
It became my mission to meet as many homeless people as I could, as well as leaders in the world of charities in order to work out if crowdfunding training for homeless people was possible. Ultimately, I discovered it was. That’s how Beam was born.
What is the company culture like (what are the values and what kind of person would it suit)?
We are a diverse, super smart and experienced team drawn from leading tech startups and corporates passionate about the potential to use tech for good.
The most important thing is that you never get to the end of the day and wonder what you’ve achieved. We’re very aware of what we’re working toward and are always striving to reach those goals. The team is an extremely talented group of people who create, rather than sap energy which makes the office an electric environment to work in.
We’re ultimately driven by our five core values:
- We’re Optimists – We believe we can solve the hardest social problems. We see the potential in everyone. We bring positive energy.
- We’re Thinkers and Doers – We bring bright ideas. But changing the world takes more than just bright ideas. We value action, grit and hustle.
- We’re Open and Transparent – We’re open and honest with each other. We are transparent when it comes to our data, metrics, successes and failures.
- We Prioritise Safety – Our priority is keeping people safe – even when that slows us down. We are considered and risk-aware.
- We Support Each Other – We support each other and care for everyone’s wellbeing. We support people to achieve their goals.
Click below for Beams roles on Movemeon:
“Beam is the type of company which I love to work with – one which I strongly believe in its mission and am excited to see succeed. I’ll be following and supporting its progress long after we’ve helped them hire for their current roles “
Jack, Beam’s Growth Manager
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