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Orka raises £29m to help people find flexible work during the pandemic

James Cook
·2-min read
Orka co-founders James Doyle, Tom Pickersgill and Nick Groves - Orka
Orka co-founders James Doyle, Tom Pickersgill and Nick Groves - Orka

A Manchester technology start-up that helps people find flexible work during the pandemic has raised £29m in funding.

The Orka Works app, which is now used by 50,000 people in the UK, lets people find hourly jobs such as security officer and cleaning shifts from clients including G4S and ISS using their smartphone.

It has seen an uptick in demand and 150pc revenue growth last year as people have sought short-term jobs that can allow them to continue working if made redundant or furloughed.

More than 200,000 jobs have been cut or have been earmarked for axing at major firms in the UK as a result of the pandemic.

Orka, the technology start-up behind the service, now plans to double its headcount to 50 employees and will expand its Orka Pay service that allows workers to withdraw a portion of their pay as soon as they have worked a shift.

“We provide a lot of key workers in the security, events and cleaning sectors so we saw a massive uplift,” said Tom Pickersgill, the company’s chief executive.

“Last year was a decent year for us in terms of growth. Some of our clients were testing centres, infrastructure, HS2, all those types of things were needed more than ever.”

The funding comes from recruitment tech company Sonovate, the Government’s Future Fund start-up scheme and former Adecco UK head Peter Searle.

Continued high demand for temporary jobs through the app means the business is now planning another funding round to take place later this year. An eventual launch in the US is then planned for 2022.

Mr Searle said that Orka is “truly shifting the dial up when it comes to temporary work. They have rightly identified an important gap in the market, as more people seek out flexible employment that fits around their lifestyle.”