Administrators have been called into Manchester-based hiring platform Orka Technology Group.

The worker tech platform, formerly known as Broadstone when it launched in 2016, has previously raised more than £30m in investment.

Orka claimed to be the market leader in providing tech solutions for shift workers but had been struggling for several months and were unable to turn their fortunes around.

Administrators Lisa Moxon and Chris Barrett, of Dow Schofield Watts Business Recover, have been appointed and it’s hoped that some of the 24 jobs can be saved.

It’s all a far cry from the heady days of 2021 when the startup raised £29m, partly on the back of the success of its Orka Works product.

At the time Orka Works was being used by over 60,000 people in the UK to find work and had reported 150 per cent year-on-year revenue growth, with G4S and ISS among its clients. 

The £29m was a mixture of debt financing from Sonovate and equity funding involving the British Business Bank Future Fund and existing investors, including former UK CEO of Adecco Peter Searle.

Temping recruitment platform Orka raises £3m

In 2022 Orka raised another £3m in Series A funding from Praetura Ventures. Orka Technology Group’s products included a flexible payment product that allowed workers to access 50 per cent of their wages as soon as they’d been earned.

At the time Orka was helping 6,000 people a month source work across more than 2,000 sites nationwide, and was working with over half of the UK’s top 30 security companies.

In 2022 Orka moved into the ABC Building on Manchester’s Quay Street as it continued to tap into the move towards shift working.

However, as the economy slowed, so did Orka’s fortunes as it struggled to get traction from large customers and partners.

Like many other tech firms, Orka also found it a lot harder to raise new funds and the move towards administration looked inevitable.

Two weeks ago the company’s head of operations, Mark Robertson, took to LinkedIn to say he’d been made redundant just three weeks after having a baby.

Rebranded Manchester start-up Orka raises £29m

The administration will be painful for everyone, particularly Orka’s co-founder and CEO Tom Pickersgill, who has very much been the face of the company.

A former professional footballer he played central midfield for Morecambe in his early 20s before heading to Indiana University in the US to read business management on a full scholarship.

He launched Broadstone in 2016, later rebranded as Orka, after identifying  that the traditional recruitment and staffing agency model was broken and tech could provide the solution.