Employment Hero extends Series A round to include new investor AirTree VC

Employment Hero reopened and closed its Series A round to include AirTree VC in its investor mix, bringing the total amount raised in the round to AU$4.5 million.

Employment Hero, an Australian HR, payroll, and employee benefits platform, has extended its Series A round by 50 percent to include new investor AirTree Ventures, bringing the total amount raised in the round to AU$4.5 million. Existing investors One Ventures and AMP Ventures contributed more funds following the reopening of the round.

Ben Thompson, former lawyer and founder of Employment Hero, said the Series A investment is being used to fund further product development, as the company looks to establish itself as an all-encompassing platform for employers and employees.

He also said that adding AirTree to the mix will bring a lot of value to the company as it expands its footprint in Australia.

"AirTree has a strength in software as a service online businesses. They've got a fantastic portfolio of existing clients and also have a large fund that they've raised that's really focused on this area. We thought that they could bring a lot to the table in terms of their experience," Thompson said.

Founded in 2014, Employment Hero allows employers to take care of onboarding, employment contracts, rostering, timesheets, and the provision of superannuation.

"In Australia it's incredibly complicated to be an employer and to stay compliant with all of our laws and regulations. We're helping employers to achieve that," said Thompson.

"Our system is updated by employment lawyers and HR consultants nationally. When an employer accesses the system, they're getting access to best practice employment contracts, HR policies, and other processes, as well as know-how for dealing with workplace issues."

In addition, Employment Hero claims its built-in employee benefits program makes it easier for employers of all sizes to offer and administer a range of employee benefits that are typically associated with big corporates.

Employees get access to exclusive deals ranging from mortgage refinancing, health and insurance services, mobile phone plans, gym membership discounts, utility discounts, and more via Employment Hero's marketplace.

"Because of the volume of employees we have on the platform, effectively we can bring small businesses together and provide them with the buying power of Australia's largest employers," Thompson told ZDNet.

"Some of the banks might have 40,000 employees and can negotiate fantastic deals for their staff because of their size. Now we can bring together hundreds of employers and tens of thousands of employees the same type of deals and save them the same type of money.

"This means introducing financial literacy and employee benefits to 70 percent of employees in this country who have never had access to those services before."

Thompson said employment and wealth management needs to be centralised and that one of the aims of Employment Hero is helping employees improve their financial well-being.

"We would love to be able to show that we can help an employee extend their salary by 10 percent by saving them that amount of money on their largest expenses. For example, if you save half a percent on your mortgage, that's a few thousand dollars a year," Thompson said. "We believe the source of somebody's wealth should also be the place that brings them the greatest ability to manage and grow their wealth.

"Up until now, financial advice and superannuation have been largely dealt with outside of the workplace, particularly within small and medium sized businesses. But it's all part of employment and should all be done in the same place."

Thompson said Employment Hero has experienced its most significant growth this year. In the first nine months of 2016, its subscriber base grew more than 300 percent to sit at around 1,000 employers and 40,000 employees currently using the product.

"We have everyone from mining contractors through to aged care facilities, child care centres, accountants, law firms, hospitality venues, restaurants, pubs, the whole lot. We're getting a lot of traction across the board," Thompson said.

Expanding into the UK is part of Employment Hero's 2017 plans. Thompson said there is a good opportunity in the UK because employers are required to auto-enrol eligible employees into pension plans, which is similar to when the Australian government launched compulsory superannuation in the 1990s.

Employment Hero's closest competitor in Australia is Elmo, which offers an integrated talent management system that includes solutions for recruitment, onboarding, learning, performance, succession planning, and leave management.

In October, Elmo announced that its revenues would increase to AU$18 million in the 2017 financial year following the "multi-million dollar" acquisition of e-learning solutions company Techniworks.

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