Last-minute job-filler WorkNinja has a hire purpose – StartupSmart

A Sydney startup is looking to capitalise on increasing interest from enterprise for on-demand labour.


WorkNinja partners with traditional temp agencies to offer a mobile and web-based platform that allows businesses to hire temporary staff urgently. It’s the full ‘on-demand’ experience. Businesses can request workers for positions like a bartender or kitchen hand, and the app notifies workers on the platform that are nearby. Once the job is accepted the user who requested help can then watch the temp worker arrive in real-time.


WorkNinja, which is currently only available in Sydney, takes care of payroll and timesheets, and bills the business at the completion of each shift. Temporary staff are covered by both public liability and workers’ compensation insurance.


According to IBISWorld the temporary staff services market in Australia is worth $18 billion and growing by 1.8%. WorkNinja co-founder Matthew Knee says the like consumers, businesses are increasingly after on-demand services, and their desire for temporary workers is no exception.


“The whole world is moving towards last-minute on-demand services,” he says.


“What we’re doing is partnering with leading labour hire agencies, guys who have been around for a long time and have a great reputation. They’re very good at the training side of it, but they don’t know where to start in terms of the technical side.”


Knee knows the industry well, he founded his own staffing business which supplied temporary workers to hotels.


He says WorkNinja has the added benefit of helping temp agencies book more work and estimates an agency that employs 1000 people, would probably only have 75% actively in work at any one time.


WorkNinja also gives the business the option of adding their own staff into WorkNinja’s app. This means if someone calls in sick, they can push the request for a shift cover to their own employees, before then moving to external workers if nobody is available.


Knee says WorkNinja’s notification system is particularly popular with many employers who complain that it’s difficult to get younger workers to answer their phones. It allows all the workers on the platform to determine when they’re available, and when a job request comes in, WorkNinja’s algorithm finds the best workers based on availability and proximity.


The startup has not yet received any external investment, Knee says, but the founding team is currently in talks with potential investors.


“What we want to do is get the model sorted out across the industries, bring a few more agencies on board, get that model fine-tuned, and the plan is definitely to look overseas,” he says.


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