Helpster, an Southeast Asian startup that helps companies fill short-term staffing needs, announced today it has raised a US$2.5 million pre-Series A round led by Mojo Partners and Wavemaker Partners. All of the company's existing investors, like Convergence Ventures, participated in the round. It brings the company's total funding to US$5 million. The money will be used to improve the underlying technology and invest in the sales team. The startup is split between its two key markets in Thailand and Indonesia. Helpster connects companies to a curated platform full of people who can be hired on a for one-off jobs or short-term contracts. For example, if a business needs to ramp up for a few months, but knows they will slow down afterwards, they can often waste money using temp-staff agencies. Helpster views itself as an on-demand technology-driven alternative not just for companies, but also for people who need another avenue to find work. "Helpster is different because we operate more like a staffing agency in that we manage the staffing process end-to-end. This includes screening, interviewing, and even payments. Ultimately, we are reinventing the staffing agency model in the region,” said Co-founder Mathew Ward in a statement. Also Read: Medtech startup Advent Access raises US$1.9M from Temasek-backed Accuron MedTech The platform takes care of the pre-screening and interviews so companies can hire a new employee in minutes. Employees get notified of new job opportunities via a smartphone app and a core part of the service is making sure workers are paid weekly. The company boasts notable clients like aCommerce, Central Group, Sephora, Grab, and Uber. The type of industries targeted by Helpster include the service economy, warehouse workers and promotional staff. “There are 100 million workers in Southeast Asia who work in semi-skilled jobs in service industries. 40 percent of them are under contract or take casual work assignments,” said Ward.
“Most of them have traditionally found work via offline channels, such as word-of-mouth, or via traditional staffing agencies, yet the majority now prefer to use their smartphones. This has opened up the way for technology to improve the way businesses and these workers find and engage with each other.”The company was launched in January 2016 by Ward and John Srivorakul, who has quite a resume to his name. Srivorakul has Co-founded aCommerce, Admax Network, Ardent Capital and Ensogo. Also Read: Meet the 30 startups participating in the Unilever Foundry programme While short-term staffing is not an enormously crowded sector, Helpster does have some competition. Other regional startups include Rocket Internet's UShift and Genie Staffing from Hong Kong. — Disclaimer: Convergence Ventures and Ardent Capital are investors in Optimatic Pte. Ltd., the parent company of e27.