Slinger raises £500k investment from Ufi Ventures and others to help tackle the UK’s hospitality vacancy gap
Ufi Ventures has announced their latest investment into Slinger, supporting people to find quality work and develop careers in the hospitality industry.
The £500k investment round was led by Fuel Ventures with participation from Ufi Ventures, Resolution Foundation, Andrew Gale, Dan Cobley (Ex Google MD), Cornerstone VC, Tim Parsons (Wage Stream CFO), Gary Elden (EX SThree CEO), plus the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, where Slinger was selected alongside 15 other businesses across Europe.
The investment will support the Slinger team to focus on three key areas:
- Ambitious product development: To help people move into hospitality and raise awareness of the variety of career paths available, Slinger will develop a career programme comprising mentorship, up-skilling, interview preparation and work experience . The platform will also be developed to provide a safe alternative to the hospitality industry's ‘trial shift’ problem, and help Slinger cement its reputation as a hiring solution for short and long term contracts.
- Client growth: Slinger has already experienced high organic growth, with over 10,000 shifts added to the Slinger platform and over £1m+ paid out to hospitality workers in the last two years. The investment will enable Slinger to complement their organic growth with paid efforts to drive client acquisition.
- Team growth: Slinger will grow the team with a specific focus on customer care and community, as well as supporting the company’s ambitious product plans.
Seizing the opportunity for change
Following Brexit and then Covid, the UK hospitality industry is struggling to fill vacancies, resulting in venues reducing their opening hours and trading days due to a lack of skilled staff. According to Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality vacancies are still 72% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
At the same time there is a clear appetite to work in the UK hospitality industry. The Q1 2023 Hospitality Hiring Insider report from Caterer.com reported that 2.9 million people are thinking of moving to hospitality from another sector, and 2.1 million are considering hospitality as an additional job, drawn by the sociable elements of hospitality work, greater flexibility, additional income and job security.
But with employers working with tight margins and traditional recruitment expensive, the situation for hospitality businesses is extremely challenging.
As founder, Theo-Lee Houston, explains, this is where Slinger sees their opportunity for impact:
"This is the moment for Slinger to really show up for the hospitality industry as we want it to survive and thrive. The hiring process needs to be shaken up completely."
The Slinger team, almost all of whom have previously worked in the industry, are revolutionising the hiring process in hospitality. By only offering roles paying the UK Living Wage or above, replacing traditional CV's with video submissions, and a frictionless route to signing-up, shifts are being claimed within an average of just 60 seconds. Hospitality businesses are also benefiting from the platform, with access to a growing pool of pre-vetted staff and the option to transition part-time workers into full-time positions. Theo continues:
“Where the challenge is financial, we’re coming up with cost-effective ways for people to onboard full time staff. Where the challenge is flexibility, businesses are securing staff on average within 60 seconds of posting. Where the issue is vetting staff, we are training them, and developing a platform that doesn’t discriminate or de-value people with out-dated process such as the CV and trial shifts.”
Commenting on the investment, Ellasaid Woodhouse, Investment Associate, Ufi Ventures said:
"The UK hospitality sector has significant, enduring vacancy rates, but it is too often a career that people ‘fall’ into. We’re delighted our investment will support Slinger in tackling those challenges head-on, reducing the barriers to hiring, training, pay and progression and ultimately creating flexible, long-term career paths across the industry.”