Employment Hero raises $45 million to help “democratise the global talent pool” for SMEs


Employment Hero co-founder and chief Ben Thompson. Source: supplied.

Human resources startup Employment Hero has secured another $45 million in funding, valuing the business at $250 million as it gears up for global expansion and embraces the post-pandemic future of work.

The funding round — the biggest in Australia this year so far — was led by long-time backer Seek, and also included repeated investment from AirTree Ventures and One Ventures, as well as cash from brand new backer Salesforce Ventures.

Founded back in 2014, Employment Hero is a platform offering payroll, benefits and other employee management services to small businesses.

This funding follows a $22 million Series C raise in July 2019.

Founder and chief Ben Thompson doesn’t reveal the exact revenue growth figures the startup has seen since then, but he tells SmartCompany the business has enjoyed “sustainable and consistent” growth, despite the economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also reveals that user numbers have been increasing 100%, year-on-year since the last capital raise. There are now about 6,000 businesses using the platform to manage some 250,000 employees.

Headcount has also increased by about 50%, with 200 employees spread across regional hubs like Musswellbrook and Wollongong, and overseas in Auckland, Singapore, Manila and the UK.

While the COVID-19 pandemic posed a challenge for Employment Hero, as for all businesses, it quickly launched a suite of resources, tools and services to help with managing remote workers.

About 75% of customers upgraded to take advantage of these. And, as the crisis continued, Thompson says he felt a responsibility to try to alleviate the burden on SMEs further, and on a larger scale.

That was the driving force behind the raise, he explains. And, as Employment Hero itself has hired overseas without travelling at all, he’s setting out to make that a reality for its clients, too.

“We see an opportunity to democratise access to the global talent pool,” he says.

“Geographical barriers have been a fundamental constraint to employment, and solving this challenge is a major strategic advantage that will undoubtedly help businesses to grow and scale.”

The funding will fuel a further push into Employment Hero’s existing markets, and expansion in Southeast Asia.

Ultimately, Thompson has global domination on his mind. The goal is to be “the number one platform for finding, managing and motivating employees, regardless of geography”, he says.

Financially, he’s working towards a goal of hitting $100 million in annual recurring revenue.

That means supporting customers as we move towards “a more balanced way of working in this new hybrid-remote future of work”.


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