My Startup: Broadstone, Manchester
As part of our weekly My Startup feature, we look at some of the best startups from entrepreneurs in the North of England. This week, it's Broadstone, a temporary security staffing platform that leverages AI and machine learning to match job seekers with some of the UK's largest employers.
The platform also features facial recognition identity checks, automated invoice and payroll processing, an AI-driven chatbot and a geolocation punch clock – making the product one of the most innovative staffing platforms in the market.
Founder: Tom Pickersgill
We spoke to Tom to find out more about Broadstone.
Why did you start Broadstone?
We want to challenge the temporary staffing space to provide a high-end product for both employer and job seeker.
The current staffing solutions are broken and not aligned with today’s job seeker. Traditional agencies haven’t really changed how they behave in many years, but with rising use of technology, how people want to work and find that work has significantly changed.
That’s where Broadstone’s concept really comes to life.
Tell us more about the tech behind the product?
Broadstone’s “Labour-as-a-Service” temporary staffing platform allows job seekers to find fair and flexible temporary work opportunities with some of the largest employers in the UK. Broadstone works in heavily regulated service industries that have been left behind in the wake of firms such as Deliveroo, Uber and TaskRabbit, all of which are adding strain to casual labour markets by syphoning many workers into their platforms with the offer of flexible work.
While the Labour-as-a-Service proposition is relatively simple, the technology behind it is complex. What Broadstone is doing is uniting staff matching, recruitment payroll and staff engagement to create one integrated workforce management solution. This requires a comprehensive suite of integrated technologies that all seamlessly work together.
For the industry currently, this process is very people-driven, however, Broadstone’s technology, which combines AI, Machine Learning and Gamification, to name a few, is offering a full technology-driven solution that consolidates and drives efficiencies.
One example is our ‘Auto-Schedule’ feature which uses AI to plan and book workers into rotas by identifying shift patterns and matching the most suitable worker for that particular job. Another application of our technology is how we process workers’ pay. Traditionally this is a very labour intensive task that requires a lot of resource in the back-office function. Broadstone has automated this duty, thereby reducing the requirement for a physical payroll function.
These enhancements allow us to pass on more of the margin to workers and incentivise them to perform better.
Where are you at right now?
We are targeting the heavily regulated service economy, and specifically, the £350bn global temporary staffing sector. While our initial focus over the past 12 months has been on tackling the security and events sector, we are driving plans forward to target the facilities management, logistics and warehousing sectors in the coming months and years.
Our job seeker acquisition is hitting that elusive viral growth phase that all tech companies strive for; our customers continue to work closely with us to define our product road map and our ongoing experimentation and analysis ensures the evolving service we provide is desired.
We’re achieving 100% month-on-month growth in terms of new sign ups and we’ve developed one of the fastest growing communities of security and events workers.
We’ve always believed we’re building something that is creating genuine value and that people will want to be a part of; whether that be the community of job seekers, employers or our internal team.
What are your aims for the next year?
2019 is going to be a big year for Broadstone; we have an extensive roadmap laid out ahead of us which we’re fully focused on delivering. We will also seek to close our Series A fundraise later this year with top class investors in order to achieve our ambitious scale-up plans.
We are aiming to achieve a considerable presence in the UK, where we will be known as the market leader in temporary staffing solutions across a range of heavily regulated, traditional industries such as facilities management and logistics. Once established here, we will then look to drive forward our global presence.
What's been the hardest thing about getting Broadstone off the ground?
Three things stand out. Firstly, making sure we have a strong team that’s a cultural fit for the business - doers and thinkers are crucial and finding them can be a challenge.
Getting into the mindset that constant improvement based on robust assessments and analysis is the catalyst to success. As an entrepreneur, it can be quite difficult to embrace this, but making changes to the product or service roadmap when necessary is vital.
Tackling regulated industries has also proven to be a major challenge given the level of compliance required, which is where our collective knowledge and understanding of the sector has been invaluable.
Why should more people be using of the app?
Broadstone brings much needed flexibility to the temporary staffing space. What we’re doing is unique in the sector, allowing temporary workers to be algorithmically matched to work they’re qualified to undertake quickly and efficiently. Our ‘Instant Pay’ feature is also ensuring payroll is as instant and flexible as the work we are seeking to fill, allowing temporary staff to access their pay as soon as they have finished their shift.
We believe our approach is the future of temporary staffing, so joining us at the start of this journey will enable workers to harness the benefits of the platform and all of the technology that sits behind it ahead of many others.
How much will it cost users? - and why is it worth the investment?
Broadstone’s job seekers can access the platform and jobs for free. Employers pay an hourly transaction fee for each worker that they book, which is far less than your typical temporary staff agency fees, as we utilise technology to remove expensive infrastructure costs.
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