Employment Hero soars to unicorn status with new funding and acquires KeyPay

Source: Employment Hero

All-in-one HR, payroll and benefits platform, Employment Hero, today announced it has closed a £96 million funding round, led by return investor SEEK Investments with participation from OneVentures, AirTree Ventures and other shareholders.

The support from investors at the ‘unicorn’ mark reflects Employment Hero’s strong and sustained revenue growth and prospects. This news comes on the heels of Employment Hero’s acquisition of workforce management and payroll solution, KeyPay.

KeyPay will be retained as an independent brand and receive ongoing investment to grow its team, as Employment Hero continues to execute on its vision to become a leading Employment as a Service provider. Additionally, with KeyPay comes Pensionsync, one of the fastest growing pension clearinghouses in the UK. PensionSync seamlessly connects any payroll software to any pension provider, allowing users to effortlessly manage auto-enrolment pensions.

KeyPay will still serve the broader industry and its partners, as Employment Hero commits to powering its purpose through all channels, whether directly through its platform or via a myriad of partners, from other HR providers to accountants in public practice to financial institutions.

With the acquisition, Employment Hero now has over 12,000 SMEs in the UK, collectively managing over 120,000 employees using its platform, and boasts a team of over 500 FTEs globally, with more than 35 in the UK.

Founded in 2010 by Phil Bernie, Richard McLean, Paul Duran and Kristian Reynolds, KeyPay has a well-established footprint across the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Malaysia, which will allow Employment Hero to further accelerate its growth initiatives in these markets and deliver on its purpose ‘to make employment easier and more valuable, for everyone.’ Co-founders of KeyPay, Phil Bernie and Paul Duran will stay on at KeyPay as Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, respectively. Co-founder and CEO of Employment Hero, Ben Thompson, saw KeyPay’s potential from its inception, acting as an exclusive seed investor in 2012.

In combination with KeyPay, Employment Hero now offers a leading suite of total employment management solutions that covers Talent Solutions, Core HR, Payroll and eBenefits. This suite of solutions will offer UK SMEs and their employees a seamless employment management experience and specifically help them to grow their engagement and work relationships with employees.

With its new cash injection, Employment Hero’s primary objective for 2022 is to bring its groundbreaking pillars together in ways that will completely transform what businesses and their employees can expect from employment. It has plans to grow exponentially in the UK over the next few years, introducing new service lines and increasing its market share.

Ben Thompson, Co-founder and CEO at Employment Hero, said: “Our latest valuation is recognition of all the hard work everyone has contributed to building a great company and a testament to our mission of creating as many quality employment opportunities as possible. 70 per cent of all jobs on earth are provided by SMEs (who represent 99 per cent of all businesses) but most business owners still feel anxious, under qualified and under-resourced as employers. Employment Hero’s four pillars allow us to deliver a complete employment platform and service that people can use to find work, manage work, get paid, spend and save. This, combined with KeyPay joining the Employment Hero family, will set a new bar for what people expect from employment. It’s incredibly exciting and we have a lot of work ahead to continue to make employment easier and more valuable, for everyone.”

Phil Bernie, Managing Director at KeyPay, said: "We’re excited to become part of the Employment Hero team whilst maintaining our independence as a brand. It opens up incredible opportunities for KeyPay’s staff, customers and partners by adding greater capability and capacity to all areas of the business. Joining a company that is aligned on culture, core values and a drive to deliver the best customer experience is an extremely motivating way to kick-start KeyPay’s next chapter.”
Investor testimonials
Andrew Bassat, SEEK Investments
“We are delighted to lead the investment in Employment Hero. The business has performed exceptionally well over a sustained period. Employment Hero is still early in their growth journey with enormous opportunities to pursue and the addition of KeyPay expands the potential significantly.”

Dr Michelle Deaker, OneVentures
“As the first lead investor into Employment Hero back in 2016, we believed in the thematic foundations of the business as well as Ben’s depth of experience in HR services and business leadership. His ability to build great teams along with his vision to change the world of work was fundamental to our investment decision and we are delighted to see the business go from strength to strength - to what is shaping up to be a $100-billion-dollar market opportunity.”

John Henderson, AirTree
"The acquisition of a leading payroll provider is a strategic no-brainer for Employment Hero and will see it deliver an even more seamless product experience. 80,000 SMEs now have access to an enterprise grade HR solution. With Ben and the team's relentless execution, I expect that number will be much larger in short order."

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