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How may I help you? Thailand's Helpster raises US$2.1M to help blue collar workers find jobs

The money will be used to boost product development and support the company’s recent expansion into Indonesia

By Kevin McSpadden

Helpster FINAL2
Helpster, a Thailand-based company that helps blue collar workers find jobs, announced today it has raised a US$2.1 million Seed Round led by Convergence Ventures.

Wavemaker Partners and other unnamed strategic investors also participated in the round.

The money will be used to accelerate product development as well as support the company’s recent expansion into Indonesia.

“We are very excited about the next phase in our journey as we expand into Indonesia, and are honoured to have the support of both Convergence and Wavemaker as we work to make it easier for businesses and job seekers to make valuable connections, and improve the overall efficiency of the labour market,” said Helpster Co-founder and CTO John Srivorakul in a statement.

Helpster works by allowing people to post gigs, part-time jobs and full-time staffing opportunities to its curated platform of workers from industries like F&B, events, cleaning and retail. Helpster is promoting speed as differentiating factor as it says it can connect people to the correct workers in its area with minutes.

Also Read: Convergence Ventures surpasses original target, closes US$30M early-stage fund

“We started Helpster after speaking with many businesses in these sectors who still cite hiring and staffing as their biggest pain point in running their business,” said Mathew Ward, Helpster Co-Founder CEO in an official statement.

“They were looking for a solution that enabled them to tap into the large labour supply quickly and cost efficiently, and traditional methods such as job boards or agencies weren’t fast enough and just didn’t deliver the quality of workers they required,” he added.

Helpster is not a first-mover in this industry and will be competing with other hiring apps both in Thailand and regionally. Helpster is more focussed on the F&B and hospitality and offers jobs like ‘data entry’ and ‘customer service’.

Those of us in Southeast Asia would probably associate ServisHero — the Malaysian startup that entered Thailand in March with a US$2.7 million funding — with the term ‘on-demand jobs’. However, calling Helpster a competitor would not be fully accurate. ServisHero focusses more on gig-work, and it targets cleaners, handymen and repair services. Meanwhile, Helpster is more focussed on recruiting temp workers and full-time employees.

Also, in Thailand, Fixzy is an ‘uber for handymen’ startup that has raised a US$300,000 seed round in June. It is more niched and focuses on one-off jobs.

So while both ServisHero and Fixzy competes in the ‘on-demand job’ business in Thailand, they operate in slightly different industries.

Also Read: YesBoss secures seed funding from 500 Startups, IMJ, Convergence

It is worth pointing out that the Founding team of Ward and Srivorakul have an impressive background in entrepreneurship.

Ward was the CEO of Admax Network, an online advertising company that was bought by Komli Media in 2012.

Srivorakul was Co-founder at Admax and was also part of the founding team of Ensogo, Ardent Capital, and aCommerce with his brothers Paul and Tom Srivorakul.

“The enormous, fast growing F&B and hospitality sector in Indonesia in particular will benefit from their mobile app-based solution and we’re excited to join them on this journey to create a revolutionary hiring platform for the region,” said Adrian Li, Managing Partner Convergence Ventures in a statement.

Helpster launched in Thailand in April 2016 and now has 35 staff in Bangkok and Jakarta.

Pear Moskwa, who was previously the head Grab in Thailand, was recently hired to be the new Country CEO for Thailand.

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Disclaimer: Convergence Ventures is an investor in Optimatic Pte. Ltd. the parent company of e27.

  • ServisHero
    ServisHero Malaysia ServisHero is a mobile-first platform that connects customers with local service providers such as Wedding Planners, Plumbers, Electricians, Cleaners, Movers and more. Funding: 2.7M Series A Investors: Golden Gate Ventures
  • Admax Network
    Admax Network Singapore Established in 2006, Admax Network is the largest online advertising network in Southeast Asia with offices in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.
  • Helpster
    Helpster Thailand Helpster is a new type of staffing platform that instantly connects employers with a network of prescreened, qualified workers in real time, providing a fast and efficient solution for finding staff. Funding: 2.1M Seed Investors: Convergence Ventures
  • Fixzy
    Fixzy Thailand Fixzy is the first app which save your time to search for handyman in just 3 steps! Funding: 300K Seed Investors: Undisclosed

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Joey Alarilla
Joey Alarilla • Head of Community and Social Media at e27
Hoping this will help more people find sources of income.
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Mohan Belani
Mohan Belani • Co-founder and CEO at e27
This already feels like an extremely crowded space
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Mathew Ward
Hi Mohan. We are actually focused on staff for businesses vs services for consumers, so are not actually a competitor of ServisHero / Fixy etc. The employment / hiring space for this sector of the workforce is growing in interest though - big rounds of funding for others in Europe in this space already this year (CornerJob, JobandTalent, JobToday).
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Mohan Belani
Mohan Belani • Co-founder and CEO at e27
Thanks for clarifying Mathew :) but don't you think ServisHero and the likes will get into your space really quickly though?
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Mathew Ward
Potentially, but the target market is very different. Our customers are businesses - not consumers :) So it would be quite a large pivot.
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Mohan Belani
Mohan Belani • Co-founder and CEO at e27
Good stuff :)
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Daryl Chung
Daryl Chung • Project Director at e27
I guess Helpster and the likes are a transition for the next 5 - 10 years before businesses start to catch up on the digital economy agenda and start replacing data entry/customer service functions with more automation technology?
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Daryl Chung
Daryl Chung • Project Director at e27
Sick management team though!
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Kevin McSpadden
Kevin McSpadden • Southeast Asia Correspondent at e27 (Optimatic)
It does seem like a bet on digital economy hitting the blue collar sector, which Im not entirely sure is inevitable. Even in Singapore the 'smartphone economy' is not crazy popular in that group.
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