Online disability services platform Hireup has secured $ 40 million in growth capital from SEEK Investments to help implement its service across Australia.
Founded in 2015, Hireup is an online platform that gives some 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 as contractors.
Jordan O’Reilly, co-founder of Hireup, tells SmartCompany that the funds 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 in more communities around Australia,” says O’Reilly.
O’Reilly and his sister Laura O’Reilly co-founded the business 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 his brother Shane, who had cerebral palsy and depended on his support in everyday life.
“Growing up with Shane, we were able to see some of the challenges in the traditional industry, where it was often very difficult to find a suitable support worker for him,” says O’Reilly.
In six years, Hireup has grown to help 10,000 Australians with disabilities, employ some 10,000 support workers and have a team of 250 office support workers at its Sydney headquarters.
One business goal is to pioneer a new future for platform-based service providers by building a scalable model that employs all platform workers.
“That’s a really important feature of the Hireup model, it’s very different from the Ubers of the world who hire their drivers,” says O’Reilly.
Hireup not only employs its support workers, but pays industry leading salaries and is currently exploring permanent job options with support workers who do not want to work on an occasional basis.
The strategic partnership with SEEK Investments, which is the investment arm of the SEEK online job market, emerged after O’Reilly met with SEEK co-founder Andrew Basset six months ago.
“I was very impressed with the way they approached our work and their understanding of the National Disability Insurance Plan (NDIS),” he says.
“It’s really exciting to see a mainstream organization like SEEK wanting to get more involved in the disability industry.”
SEEK Investments is leading the $ 40 million funding round, which will see it acquire a minority stake in Hireup.