Cranberry Panda

Year founded 2011
HQ Location London
Sector HR/Talent
Staff count 14
Turnover £1.2m
E-commerce recruitment agency Cranberry Panda’s founder and chief panda Jonathan Hall attributes his company’s rapid scale-up success to investing in the company’s vital human capital.
www.cranberrypanda.co.uk
As a recruitment business, our people are our main asset, so that’s clearly why we invest a lot in them.

Jonathan Hall

Founder

Creating happiness – not filling jobs

“Our purpose is to create happiness, one job at a time,” says founder Jonathan Hall, “and that is true for our clients and candidates as well as us.” Hall says this sets the company apart from its competition, “which can be aggressive and very salesy”, he says. “While we are in sales, there are ways you can adapt your approach and that’s what we’ve done.”

The London-based recruiter is set to increase its turnover by 60% and double its headcount to 30 this year. Hall believes that finding good people – and keeping them – is the key to Cranberry Panda’s success. That’s why he’s invested in creating a culture where employees feel supported and inspired to thrive.


Retaining the best people

Hall points to some key initiatives that aim to help achieve his people’s happiness. The company has invested in a mental health coach who comes to the office once a month to spend an hour with each employee. “It’s completely confidential and they can talk about anything they want, whether it’s work, home or personal,” he says.

And it’s easy for management to keep track of how the team are feeling. The company uses a system called Officevibe, an online sentiment tracker that looks at everything from general happiness and wellbeing, to how well you get on with your co-workers.

We work with 70% of our clients exclusively for their e-commerce roles and that is how we like to work.

Jonathan Hall, Cranberry Panda


From one scale-up to another

As a scale-up business itself, Cranberry Panda is perfectly placed to serve its many client companies that are looking to grow. “Seeing it from all sides, including our own scale-up journey along with our clients’ experiences, you get to see all the trends,” Hall says.

“We work with a lot of really fast-growth rapid scale-up companies,” he says. “And we are attuned to their needs of bringing in the right sort of people at the right time to accelerate and support their ambitious growth.”


Building client partnerships

Hall sees his company’s role as very much a strategic partner and he hopes to build increasingly long-term relationships. “We work with 70% of our clients exclusively for their e-commerce roles and that is how we like to work,” he says.

Simba, the scale-up mattress company, is one such company. Cranberry Panda has placed “about 17 or 18 people” with the company. Simba has the cash to hire having secured £40m in its latest funding round. Hall says that many rapidly growing companies often need extra support when looking to fill newly created roles for the first time.


Staying open to possibilities

As for the future, Hall is looking to increase the company’s turnover to around £1.75m by the end of 2018 and increase gross profit by around 30%. He is looking to achieve this growth “organically”, but is not ruling out potential mergers with other companies “to give us that instant scale”.

But his golden rule remains clear: “Investment in people will remain our number-one priority.”


Key Metrics

140+

Number of clients

87%

Retention rate of clients

20%+

Turnover growth

Sources of capital
Supported By

Related Stories

The Intern Group
The Intern Group began in 2011 with three friends who arranged for a dozen volunteers to work at the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia, scaling up to become a £10m cashflow-funded business. Read more...
GapCap
Offering a fresh and flexible approach to SME finance with invoice factoring, GapCap’s scale-up journey is fuelled by a combination of private debt supply, technology and data. Read more...
busuu
Founder and CEO Bernhard Niesner says that having the wrong culture created a “near-death experience” for busuu, but a concerted turnaround has put the mobile language-learning platform at the top of its class for the past few years. Read more...
Earth Immo
Founder and CEO Dan Johnson is scaling his real estate marketing business with intellectual and human capital, and despite the financial crisis denting his funding confidence he plans to raise more funds to expand into new markets. Read more...
Lavanda
Lavanda is spearheading a movement for best practice in the often legally complex short-term residential rental sector, in a mission that’s guided by industry-leading investors. Read more...
Calcivis
Founder Adam Christie credits early hiring of top talent and funding from Scotland’s Archangels as key to his scale-up success, helping Calcivis to revolutionise dentistry with its novel tool that diagnoses active tooth decay. Read more...