Online disability services platform Hireup has secured $40 million in growth capital from SEEK Investments to help roll out its service across Australia.
Founded in 2015, Hireup is an online platform that gives about 10,000 Australians with disabilities each year the power to hire and manage their own support workers. The platform stands out from other service-based sites because it directly employs the workers listed on the website, rather than considering them contractors.
Jordan O’Reilly, Hireup co-founder, tells SmartCompany the funding will be spent on improving the platform, hiring more staff and investing in technology to improve the platform’s features.
“Ultimately, all of that is to help us grow into more communities around Australia,” O’Reilly says.
O’Reilly and his sister Laura O’Reilly co-founded the business along with Murray Bunton after they saw firsthand how difficult it was for Australians living with disabilities to access support workers. The founders’ grew up with their brother Shane who had cerebral palsy and relied on support in his day-to-day life.
“Growing up with Shane, we got to see some of the challenges in the traditional sector, where often it was very hard to find a support worker who was right for him,” O’Reilly says.
Within six years, Hireup has grown to help 10,000 Australians with disabilities, employ about 10,000 support workers and have a 250-strong team of office support workers at its Sydney headquarters.
A goal of the business is to pioneer a new future for platform-based service providers by building a scalable model that employs all the workers on the platform.
“That’s a really important feature of the Hireup model, it’s very different to the Ubers of the world that contract their drivers,” O’Reilly says.
Not only does Hireup employ its support workers, it pays industry leading wages and is currently exploring permanent work options with the support workers who don’t want to work on a casual basis.
The strategic partnership with SEEK Investments, which is the investment arm of the online job marketplace SEEK, came about after O’Reilly met with SEEK co-founder Andrew Basset six months ago.
“I was really impressed with the way they approached our work and their understanding of the National Disabilities Insurance Scheme (NDIS),” he says.
“It’s really exciting to see a mainstream organisation like SEEK wanting to get more involved in the disability sector.”
SEEK Investments is leading the $40 million funding round, which will see it acquire a minority stake in Hireup.