Tech Pitch: Syft

Eschewing the traditional recruitment agency model, this online platform is enabling employers to find temps and flexible workers, minus the hefty fees...

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Company name: Syft
Founders: Jack Beaman (30), Novo Abakare (31)
Background: CEO Beaman was part of the founding team of Fuse Universal, working across sales and marketing and collaborating with brands such as Vodafone, Google, Linkedin and Lloyds. COO Abakare spent the previous six years as a senior trader at alternative instruments investment firm Tradelink Worldwide.
Based in: London, England
Launched: November 2015

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

  • Syft is an online platform that connects employers and employees for flexible work. Syft offers quality flexible staff for businesses in hospitality, events and warehousing sectors.
  • With Syft’s technology, and by removing the traditional agency model, Syft enables clients to save up to 55% over traditional agency fees, whilst giving them total control and choice over who they hire along with a fully transparent platform that allows them to see worker ratings from previous shifts.
  • Syft ensures workers on the platform are vetted face-to-face with skillsets and prior experience verified before being able to take on work. The workers are paid at a higher rate than industry standards, are paid weekly and have access to hundreds of benefits and rewards, such as free mobile phone insurance, discounted healthcare and much more.
  • While we have worked with many traditional users of agencies such as caterers, hotels, etc., hundreds of bars and restaurants now view us as a reliable and trusted extension to their full-time workforce.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

The global temporary staffing market is truly massive. Based on very antiquated methods that benefit neither the worker nor the employer, the market is dominated by thousands of small agencies and a few very large ones. Workers are treated like a commodity and the pay is low.

Our approach and model is worker-centric in that our aim is always to get workers paid more whilst also giving control and choice to both employers and workers whom have never had it before. Syft, in little time, has completely changed the UK temp market and its traditional players are all now trying to follow our model.

With Brexit making recruitment of talent even harder and the workforce shifting towards flexible ways of working, it’s increasingly important for employers to view Syft as a necessary extension to their full-time workforce which is easily accessible at the point of need.

Are you funded?

We recently raised £6.1m in a Series A round led by Creandum, with PROfounders Capital following on from their seed investment. We also have a number of interesting angel investors such as boxer David Haye, Lord Young and founders from start-ups such as Photobox, Gamesys, and Velocity.

What were you doing before you started Syft?

Beaman: Over my time studying political science at Cardiff University, I spent many summers working in a bar on a Greek island. During one of my last summers, I met a guy called Steve Dineen. He was about to start a company called Fuse Universal at the time. After spending days having fun and connecting, we came to the conclusion that I would need a job soon since I was graduating from university.

Steve said I should get involved with his start-up and I joined as one of their first few employees. It was a mad few years going from getting my first office job to learning about how to scale a start-up and mobile tech, becoming their first investor and then finally raising a venture capital round (the start-up has raised over $10 million in venture capital funding to date). You could say I had an ideal preparation with Fuse for what would come next with starting Syft!

Abakare: After graduating from Bristol University, where I studied economics and philosophy, I went straight into the city to become a trader. I thoroughly enjoyed my job, but I always wanted to do something more entrepreneurial and so when Jack mentioned his idea to disrupt the staffing sector, I simply couldn’t refuse such a huge opportunity.

What’s the best thing about where you’re based?

We’re very central, making it easy for staff all around London to visit our offices and get verified.

Also, there are many lovely bars and restaurants around Covent Garden such as All Bar One, Hawksmoor, The Hoxton, etc. It’s a great area for us to connect to the hospitality professionals as well as promoting Syft to the potential clients.

Looking to launch a business in London? Browse our free guides to starting up in the city here.

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