Poplar Technologies (t/a Breakroom) secures £4.935 million Seed investment led by PROfounders and Revent

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Breakroom lands $7m from leading investors to expand its global job comparison platform and help hourly workers find the best jobs

  • Breakroom helps shift and hourly-paid workers choose the best jobs and encourages companies to offer fair opportunities
  • Breakroom also helps companies to solve labour shortages by making their jobs more competitive
  • Top tier venture firms have participated in the round including PROfounders, Revent, Northzone and others

1st November 2021, London-based startup Breakroom has announced its $7 million Seed round from leading European VC firms to improve the quality of jobs for shift and hourly-paid workers.

The round was led by PROfounders and Revent, with participation from Northzone and Nomad Capital, alongside prominent angel investor Jeremy Yap, Peakon CEO, Phil Chambers and co-founder of Simply Business, Chris Slater. Breakroom is also backed by the Resolution Foundation, a think-tank focused on improving living standards for low-and-middle-income workers in the UK, who help set the real Living Wage. Breakroom rates employers using crowdsourced data from workers at organisations including the NHS, Tesco and Amazon. Information shared by more than 160,000 employees has been used to create ratings for 1,400 UK employers so far. Breakroom analyses workers’ opinions on topics that really matter to them such as sick leave, safety at work and flexible shift patterns. With in-depth experience and product focus, Breakroom radically improves the quality of jobs for the 50% of workers who are in shift-based and hourly work by signposting them to better employers.

Breakroom has already found big differences in people’s experience of hourly work:
Hospitality-related roles score most poorly on Breakroom’s measures, whilst rail transport workers come out top. The data also shows big differences between employers within industries. Aldi is the highest scoring supermarket: they pay breaks and are more likely to give good notice of shifts, whereas Iceland is at the bottom on measures of both pay and flexibility.

Whilst working from home has been a reality for many workers during the pandemic, the majority of the labour force doesn’t have that option. 100 million people in the US and the UK are in shift-based and hourly-paid roles, and recent labour shortages have highlighted the need for companies to become more competitive in hiring. In the UK and across Europe, Brexit and the pandemic have exacerbated problems we’ve seen recently in sectors such as hospitality and care. Where the tech industry is accustomed to creating more of these kinds of jobs through gig economy apps, Breakroom is focused on making these jobs better.

The company was created in 2019 by co-founders Anna Maybank, James Weiner and Tom Taylor to prove that good quality jobs can be better for both workers and companies. By bringing transparency to labour markets, their aim is to help workers choose better jobs and to help companies compete for talent by becoming better employers. Breakroom co-founder and CEO Anna Maybank said:

“Breakroom’s mission is to make every job a good job. Most people don’t work from offices: they’re on the frontline, working shifts and many of them are paid by the hour. The pandemic has shown that there are too many jobs that are undervalued and need to improve. The recent labour shortages in sectors like logistics and hospitality show that now is a great time to make sure that things are different in the future. Breakroom will help workers find the best job for them and help employers compete on the quality of the jobs they offer.”

Quote from PROfounders

“Hourly workers have long been neglected by the tech world, but Breakroom helps everyone find the job that is best for them,” said Sean Seton-Rogers.

Quote from Revent

“From the beginning, we’ve been extremely impressed by the team’s complementarity, execution power, and the strength of their shared vision,” said Lauren Lentz, GP at Revent.

“Anna, James, and Tom are on a mission to make hourly work better for workers and for employers, and to demonstrate, through their proprietary insights, that seemingly small changes can have outsized effects on worker happiness and employee retention.”

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Safiya Marzook

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