Rebranded Manchester start-up Orka raises £29m

Posted on February 22, 2021 by Jonathan Symcox

Tom Pickersgill

Worker tech firm Orka is to double its headcount to 50 this year after raising £29 million. 

The Manchester start-up, formerly known as Broadstone, claims to be the market leader in providing tech solutions for shift workers. 

The company’s first product allowed workers to quickly and easily find fair and flexible temporary employment with large organisations working in traditional, regulated industries such as security, cleaning and logistics.  

Now known as Orka Works, it is used by over 50,000 people in the UK to find work, saw 150% year-on-year revenue growth in Q3 of last year and counts G4S and ISS among its growing client-base.  

Orka said it will use the investment, 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, to drive further UK expansion and fuel the rapid growth of its second product, earned wage access solution Orka Pay. 

Launched last year, Orka Pay enables shift workers at partner organisations to withdraw up to 50% of their wages as soon as they have earned them, providing an alternative to high-interest loans and credit card debt. 

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This year, the company will launch its third core product, Orka Check, to improve the process for worker background checks. 

“Four years ago we set out to transform the experience of hourly paid workers, who make up 85% of the global workforce,” said co-founder and CEO Tom Pickersgill. 

What we’re doing is unique in this sector, and thanks to this funding, we’ll be able to reach many more businesses and their employees in the coming year – and improve the service that we can offer them. 

“The worker landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade. More people are looking for work that fits around their life and want the entire process to be less onerous.  

Our success since launching proves that there is real appetite amongst businesses and employees for an innovative alternative to the traditional recruitment, onboarding and payment model, saving both time and money.” 

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Peter Searle, existing investor and former CEO of Adecco, said: “Having followed Orka’s journey closely for a few years now, it’s clear that this is a company truly shifting the dial up when it comes to temporary work.  

They have rightly identified an important gap in the market, as more people seek out flexible employment that fits around their lifestyle, and they have unquestionably established themselves as a leader in worker tech.  

I’m very excited to be supporting them as they enter their next stage of growth.” 

The fundraising news comes shortly after the company was recently named in Tech Nation’s Upscale 6.0 programme, reserved for the UK’s leading scaleups. 

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