Estonian start-up Werk raises one of the biggest ever pre-seeds in European HR and construction technologies

Tallinn-based startup work raises $1.3 million in a pre-seed round for its construction specialist hiring and relocation platform. Estonian venture capital company Change companies led the round, which is one of the biggest pre-seed ever in HR and construction technology in Europe. Werk’s pre-seed round also saw the participation of many angel investors Antoine Danon and Carmen Alfonso Rico, Declan Kelly, Gonzalo Manriqueand Andreas Klinger with investor ConstructionTech fundamental CV. The funding will help the startup grow its team and work on product development. The Estonian startup also plans to use part of the funds to focus on marketing.

Werk, the leading hiring and relocation platform for skilled migrant construction workers, raises $1.3M in pre-seed

Werk is solving the industry’s labor shortage by using AI to connect blue-collar workers with contractors in a safe, legal and transparent way, while automating the cross-border relocation process

Werk, a platform that enables companies to hire qualified and vetted migrant construction workers, taking care of everything from recruitment, vetting and relocation, has raised a pre-seed round of $1.3m led by Change Ventures, one of the leading startup funds in the Baltic.

Participants in the round, which is among the largest ever pre-seeds in European HR and construction technologies, include Fundamental VC, the world’s largest investor covering the built world – ConstructionTech and architecture, engineering technology and design, and angel investors Anthony Danon and Carmen Alfonso-Rico (Cocoa VC), Declan Kelly (Foreword CV), Gonzalo Manrique (iron hack) and Andreas Klinger (On the bridge CTO and remote control manager at List of angels).
Co-founded in Tallinn, Estonia in 2020 by Martin Kalamees (CEO), Marion Kalakas (COO), and Marcus Tarn (CTO), Werk will use this investment to expand its team and focus on product development and marketing.

Werk brings transparency to the often exploitative world of cross-border blue-collar contracts; support workers moving to other countries by automating paperwork and visa documentation, and only work with companies that guarantee they will provide workers with the same terms of payment, treatment and protection as s they were local.

For contractors, once they have captured the skills they need on site, the platform uses AI to match them with suitable highly skilled workers who have been vetted by industry experts. ‘industry. Once the worker is hired, Werk also takes care of HR and payroll.

With recent 20% month-over-month growth, the startup has already reached over 2,000 verified and approved construction workers and has customers in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. Werk develops and tests its cross-border relocation functionality, which automates visa and residence permit processes, opening bank accounts, airfares, accommodation, access to safe financial services and support to families back home. Additionally, the startup is testing a social feature that allows workers to talk to each other, receive advice, ask questions about living and working in different countries, and consume relevant construction-related content like tips and tricks. tricks.

Labor shortages have been a major issue for construction companies for years, with the process of hiring blue collar workers internationally being extremely long and complicated due to increased regulations, while the pool limited number of intermediaries can be unreliable and sometimes even operate illegally.

Demonstrating the extent of the problem, 30% of workers on construction sites in European cities are foreigners. The labor shortage problem has been exacerbated by travel and work restrictions imposed by the pandemic. With Ukraine, Belarus and Russia providing the majority of blue-collar workers for other European countries, the recent war has further disrupted the European construction industry, which Werk is now helping to rebuild by supplying qualified and approved workers from countries such as Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the Philippines.

Martin Kalamees, co-founder and CEO of Werk, comments: “Our platform solves two major and growing global problems. First, skilled migrant workers are exploited by unregulated agencies and contractors, who sometimes operate illegally. Second, construction companies are facing labor shortages due to difficulties in finding workers abroad and, of course, the devastating situation in Ukraine.

We help connect skilled workers with contractors in a legal, transparent and safe way. We are delighted to welcome Change Ventures, Foundamental and our angel investors on this journey, with this first injection of capital allowing us to grow our team and improve our technology.

Werk, Change Ventures, Rait Ojasar“From travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the war in Ukraine cutting off labor supply networks, there are a number of uncontrollable elements affecting skilled migrant workers seeking employment. construction jobs,” adds Rait Ojasar, investment partner at Change Ventures. “Werk provides a valuable service to businesses in need of labor, as well as a secure platform for those seeking employment outside of their home country. We are delighted to lead this first round of investment.

patrick hellermanWerk, Fundamental VC, Patric Hellermanngeneral partner at Fundamental, adds: “Werk is solving a huge opportunity in Europe: discovering a steady supply of skilled craftsmen and making them mobile across borders. The most important thing is that we do it in a compliant way and that we bring transparency and reduce the administrative burden. »

Click here to read more funding news.

Comments are closed.