9 start-ups transforming the future of work

19 Sep 20192.09k Views

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Whether you’re an employer considering a benefits platform or you’re working in the gig economy, there are a wealth of start-ups out there with the goal of improving life in your workplace.

Future of Work Week

To mark Future of Work Week here at Siliconrepublic.com, we have rounded up a list of nine start-ups that are shaping and contributing to the workplaces of the future.

These emerging enterprises cover a range of issues and trends affecting workers and employers. From offering rewards, benefits and wellness platforms, to providing income management and childcare options, these start-ups have adapted to changes in work over the last decade, and are preparing for the decade ahead.

Trezeo

In 2016, Garrett Cassidy and Flavien Charlon founded Trezeo. The company, which is now based in Dublin’s Digital Exchange, helps self-employed people such as gig workers and taxi drivers “smooth” out their income, paying them a steady weekly pay cheque, even during time off, by averaging out their pay.

Trezeo was designed to help workers with unreliable incomes know what they’re set to bring home each week.

Since its launch, Trezeo has opened an office in London and has plans to expand to another two or three European countries. The company has raised €776,000 to date from investors including Voxpro’s founders. At NDRC’s Investor Day in 2017, the fintech start-up took home €30,000 in follow-on investment for what NDRC CEO Ben Hurley called an “outstanding solution”.

Catch

Another start-up trying to make things easier for contractors is Catch, which, as TechCrunch once put it, is “cleaning up the mess created by Uber, Postmates and the gig economy”.

The Boston-based start-up was founded by Andrew Ambrosino and Kristen Tyrrell to sell health insurance, retirement savings plans and tax withholding directly to freelancers, contractors or anyone who is not covered in these areas by their employers.

The founders realised that setting up a benefits plan as a freelancer or contractor is quite a pain. You have to become an expert in the space and, even when you do, it can still quite difficult. Catch’s solution also enables workers to save money to cover themselves during time off, providing them with a little bit more stability.

Since founding in 2017, Catch has raised $8.1m from investors including Khosla Ventures, Kindred Ventures and Nyca Partners.

Scoutible

San Francisco-based start-up Scoutible was founded in 2013. Founder and CEO Angela Antony’s vision grew into a platform that uses gaming and AI to increase the odds of a successful hire.

Scoutible is a psychology-based recruitment platform that uses immersive adventure games and sophisticated machine learning to pinpoint perfect-fit candidates for jobs.

The start-up measures a person’s unique cognitive abilities and personality traits through gameplay, then spots opportunities where those individuals are certain to thrive.

The start-up is a member of Stanford University’s StartX accelerator and IBM’s Global Entrepreneurs Programme, and is backed by Mark Cuban, Learn Capital and NEA. To date, the company has raised $6.5m.

Koru Kids

Koru Kids, the London-based platform set up to make childcare more accessible, recently raised £10m in funding. Investors included Atomico, AlbionVC, Samos, JamJar, Global Founders Capital, Forward Partners and 7 Percent.

Founded in 2016, Koru Kids is changing two aspects of work: how nannies and childcare professionals find work, and how parents in the workforce arrange childcare.

Koru Kids seeks suitable university students and older adults and trains them to become after-school nannies. Some of the older adults working on the platform are former teachers or childcare workers.

There are more than 1,000 nannies using the platform, who are all trained in first aid, educational philosophies, homework and risk assessment. Parents can select a suitable, local nanny and the platform arranges childminding for £13 per hour or £9 per hour if parents are willing to share a nanny with another local family.

BetterUp

BetterUp was founded in 2013 by Alexi Robichaux and Eddie Medina. It provides a career coaching SaaS platform for enterprises, and has clients including AirBnb, AppDynamics, Instacart and 28 of the Fortune 1000.

To date, it has raised $144.8m, from investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Threshold Ventures, Freestyle Capital, Crosslink Capital, Tenaya Capital and Silicon Valley Bank.

It’s a mobile-based leadership development platform with a “holistic, science-backed methodology” that can be used to develop new behaviours and mindsets in employees, enabling high performance amid constant and accelerating change.

BetterUp does this through its on-demand virtual coaching sessions.

Pento

Pento is a Danish provider of payroll SaaS. It was founded by Jonas Bøgh Larsen and Emil Hagbarth Rasmussen, who recognised that payroll can be a frustratingly error-prone process and an area that has plenty of room for improvement.

Pento estimates that companies using its automated payroll service can cut between 50pc and 80pc off the time they typically spend on payroll each month.

What’s even better is that employees with zero payroll experience whatsoever can operate the software. If they run into any issues, Pento offers instant support via online chat or over the phone.

Since Pento was founded in 2016, the company has raised $3.5m from investors including Point Nine Capital, Seedcamp, Hustle Fund, Futuristic.vc and PreSeed Ventures. Following the company’s latest funding round, Pento has plans to launch a UK office soon.

Benefex

While Benefex was founded in 2003, the company has gone through many changes over the years and has rebranded and relaunched some of its products in recent years.

The Southampton-based firm was founded by Matt Macri-Waller, who developed its RewardHub system, which has since been rebranded as OneHub.

OneHub is a flexible benefits platform for employees, combining all-things relating to employee benefits, reward and recognition, as well as employee communications and workplace wellbeing.

Benefex has BT as a client and recently opened a second office in Wrocław, Poland, where its engineering team is based. Since it was founded in 2003, the company has raised £4.2m in funding from BGF and Bain Capital Private Equity.

WrkIt

Dublin start-up WrkIt was founded in July 2016 by Peter and Mark Jenkinson and Tom O’Driscoll. The company has created a work/life development hub that supports users in getting recognised at work, while helping them to further their skills.

The start-up, which now has more than 200,000 registered users from 200 companies, says that the platform has a 93pc retention rate.

Earlier this year, WrkIt participated in Google’s Adopt a Startup programme, which aims to grow start-ups into scale-ups over an eight-week period at Google’s EMEA headquarters.

The company also has offices in London and Boston to serve its multinational clients around the globe. The companies include Paddy Power, FedEx, Bank of Ireland, Hays, Aldi, ESB and Vodafone.

Soldo

While based in London, Soldo has also opened a Dublin office since it was founded in 2015 – a strategic move that makes Soldo “Brexit-ready” for all of its European customers, if and when Brexit finally rolls around.

By the end of 2019, the fintech start-up plans to operate more than 50pc of its business out of Dublin, providing business clients with the ability to manage company-wide spending from one easy-to-manage account. Administrators create cards for employees and departments, with custom spending limits and rules to allow businesses to proactively manage costs.

Back in July, the company closed a $61m Series B round, bringing its total funding to date up to $82m. The most recent funding round was led by Battery Ventures and Dawn Capital, with participation from Accel and Connect Ventures.

Soldo plans to consolidate its position as a market leader in the UK, Italy and Ireland over the next 12 months, doubling its existing workforce with the investment it raised this year.

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Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com