HireHand hunts for expansion funds to tackle ‘worrying’ under-employment issue

A staffing platform business is on the hunt for a major funding boost to drive major expansion plans, amid a “worrying” rise in under-employment.

UK employment is at a record high but the increasing prevalence of short-term and zero-hours contracts has created a growing number of workers falling short of sufficient regular earnings to make ends meet, according to HireHand founder Scott Erwin.

Mr Erwin, who is also the chief executive of the recruitment platform said he developed HireHand to help workers on incoherent shift patterns fill gaps in their schedules to boost earnings.

HireHand also works with companies, particularly in the food and drink sector, looking for staff at short notice or to fill gaps in rotas.

The firm, launched in 2015, has grown in the UK by predominantly working with street food businesses and restaurants such as Ottolenghi, Rosa’s Thai and Bao.

But now the fast-growing business has set its sights on expansion into New York and into the construction sector to cater a desire for greater short-notice staffing.

To finance the move, the company has launched a £1 million campaign with crowdfunding platform Seedrs.

Mr Erwin said: “London has seen a rise in the number of so-called “working poor” despite improvements in unemployment, and HireHand is designed to help those people gain work which fits their schedule to increase their earnings.

“The funding will partly go towards moving into the construction sector, because that is an area which faces many of the same challenges we’ve seen working in food and events.

“Its all about ensuring the platform helps people find work that suits them, that is flexible enough for modern workers and companies.”

Mr Erwin claimed HireHand has helped over 2,000 people take home over £3 million in total pay in the four years since its launch.

The tech company, which is backed by London investment group Mustard Seed, also works particularly with employment-related charities such as Thames Reach and Prince’s Trust to help people back into work.

Orson Stadler, investment director at Mustard Seed, said: “We back companies that are able to combine solving the biggest global social issues with the utmost commercial rigour.

“HireHand exemplifies this by being a leader in defining how the human workforce can thrive in an age of automation and doing so with blue-chip expertise and technical skill.”

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