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Job search giant Seek invests in startup accelerator to tackle “threats in HR” – StartupSmart

Slingshot team including CEO Kate Lawson

Multibillion-dollar job search giant Seek and global recruitment platform Hudson have partnered with a Sydney startup accelerator to spot and tackle “threats in HR”.

Human Capital, to be led by Slingshot, will be Australia’s first human-resources-tech startup accelerator.

Seek and Hudson have provided financial backing to be “platinum partners” in the program, along with the University of Technology Sydney, which is a “silver partner”.

Seek has invested $200,000 in the program, according to Fairfax, however Slingshot declined to disclose the investments made by the other partners.

The 12-week program, which kicks off this March, will involve entrepreneurs and high-growth ventures with innovative solutions working with the corporate firms to optimise their large workforces.

“It’s really about finding the most amazing disruptive startups all around human capital, the future of work, the catalyzation of the workforce, looking at the employee experience, looking at the experience of employers, looking at technology [like] AI, VR,” Slingshot chief executive Karen Lawson tells StartupSmart.

Startups in the program will receive up to $50,000 from Slingshot’s investment fund in return for 10% equity in the business.

They will also complete a structured curriculum that covers business modelling, traction and investor-readiness, and work with mentors like Lean Startup Canvas creator Ash Maurya.

Lawson says the program will accept around 10 to 12 startups or scale-ups. She notes Slingshot’s definition of the latter is more aggressive than global standards and they will be focusing on three-year-old businesses that can demonstrate 10% month-on-month growth in revenue.

Seek and Hudson will have have a strong influence on the type of startups that are accepted into the program, Lawson says, but founders will retain full control of their ventures and where they choose to take it after completing the accelerator.

“IP is completely owned by the startups, it’s their business, they’re growing it,” Lawson says.

On completion of the Human Capital program, Lawson says startups will receive a market valuation set by three institutional investors.

“The platinum partner is able to exercise a warrant for a discount for investment in the startup,” she says.

“We normally find [in] every single accelerator that we run, the corporate is interested in investing in a couple of the companies.”

According to Slingshot, the combined market capitalisation of its alumni startups and scale-ups is now more than $40 million, with over 80% still active or acquired.

Seek chief executive and co-founder Andrew Bassat said in a statement the tech giant hopes to be a valuable resource for the program’s participants given its own journey from a startup to a public company with a market capitalisation of $5 billion.

“We believe that Seek has much to offer the next generation of high growth companies,” Bassat said.

“Through this program, Seek will look to share its experience, and hopefully find opportunities to help ‘scale up’ new businesses via our relationships with over 700,000 hirers and 150 million candidates.”

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