Employment Hero hits unicorn status after $181m raise and KeyPay acquisition

Employment Hero hits unicorn status after $181m raise and KeyPay acquisition

Employment Hero CEO Ben Thompson

HR-tech platform Employment Hero today became Australia’s latest unicorn following a $181 million raise and the acquisition of workforce management and payroll solution KeyPay.

The milestone was hit as Employment Hero reached a $1.25 billion valuation - putting it well into the unicorn club alongside the likes of Go1, Pet Circle, Airwallex, Tritium and SafetyCulture.

The company’s latest funding round was backed by return investor SEEK Investments, with participation from OneVentures, AirTree Ventures and other shareholders, and follows a $45 million Series D closed in March 2021.

Co-founded by CEO Ben Thompson and CTO Dave Tong in 2014, Employment Hero also announced the acquisition of KeyPay today for an undisclosed amount.

With the acquisition, Employment Hero now has more than 80,000 SME clients, collectively managing more than 750,000 employees and boats a team of more than 500 full-time equivalent staff globally.

“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 CEO Thompson said.

“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.”

Post-acquisition, KeyPay will be retained as an independent brand and receive ongoing investment to grow its team.

Founded in 2010 by Phil Bernie, Richard McLean, Paul Duran and Kristian Reynolds, KeyPay has a foothold in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and the United Kingdom - scale that Employment Hero hopes will accelerate its growth initiatives in these markets.

Bernie and Duran will stay on as KeyPay managing director and chief technology officer respectively.

“We’re excited to become part of the Employment Hero team whilst maintaining our independence as a brand,” Bernie said.

“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.” 

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