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The Disruptors: How this Norwich start-up is modernising recruitment

PUBLISHED: 11:04 27 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:13 27 August 2019

Kane Halsey founded staffing platform Pickr in 2017 after years of staffing challenges limiting the businesses he worked for.          Picture: Pickr

Kane Halsey founded staffing platform Pickr in 2017 after years of staffing challenges limiting the businesses he worked for. Picture: Pickr

Pickr

Sourcing skilled workers at short notice is a consistent challenge for industrial businesses. The latest in The Disruptors series, Pickr founder Kane Halsey explains how its platform is streamlining that process.

Kane Halsey, founder and chief executive of Pickr     Picture: PickrKane Halsey, founder and chief executive of Pickr Picture: Pickr

Pickr is a digital skilled industrial staffing platform that helps businesses to reduce the costs of building and managing a flexible workforce. We've digitally automated the recruitment process to eliminate the challenges associated with traditional agencies and personal referrals.

What was the opportunity you identified that led to the launch of your business?

Industrial businesses need multi-skilled workers on a flexible, short-term basis, which causes severe personnel challenges. These companies win and lose contracts worth millions based on how fast they can scale their workforce - but relying on expensive recruitment agencies doesn't deliver a quantity or quality of workers quickly or cost-effectively. I started the platform in 2017 after years of staffing challenges limiting the businesses I worked for.

How did you use invention and innovation to disrupt the market?

Pickr is creating the UK's largest community of skilled industrial workers, using machine learning, automation and talent clouds to connect companies' hiring requirements to workers with the skills and availability they need. Intelligent matching algorithms streamline the whole recruitment process, from sourcing the right candidate to hiring and managing performance on shift.

What were the challenges you faced along the way and how did you learn from them?

We're doing something that's never been done before and that means there's no blueprints for success. From the start, we tried to instil a positive company culture where it's okay to get things wrong.

I think we've learnt that this 'fail fast' mantra is a good one, but it doesn't mean it's any less frustrating or disappointing when something doesn't work out as you'd hoped. Ultimately, it's sharing in those successes and failures that nurtures innovation and could spark your next big idea. I think if you're doing something inherently difficult, like building a technology platform from scratch or challenging the status quo, it's important to celebrate the processes you go through that take you closer to the answer.

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What has been the moment you are most proud of so far in your business' development?

Securing £1m funding from venture capital fund Episode1 Ventures this year was one of our biggest milestones so far. The investment validates Pickr's potential and scope for disruption in industrial recruitment. Since then we've predominantly been focused on acquiring great tech talent who can build a product who can make our vision a reality.

If you were starting from the beginning again, what would you do differently?

Have more confidence in our convictions and talk to prospective customers sooner about what we wanted to do. You may want to go to your biggest customer with a polished product but a quest for perfection will delay you and may even harm your product development. Our customers have loved consulting with us in the early stages and their input has been invaluable.

What advice would you give to someone launching a disruptive startup?

Vision is essential but you can't expect to wake up with a fully formed idea, or know how the industry you're targeting will adopt it. You need to respect that. Despite what you may think, industry disruption is a staggered process. Have the patience and determination to see it through.

What are your plans for the future?

To ensure our platform is the leading staffing solution for the industrial sector. That means pursuing Series A investment to support growth and the validity of the product. The functionality of the platform will be key in securing a foothold in new markets, including international expansion.

The Disruptors is a new video series highlighting the Norfolk, Cambridge and Suffolk businesses shaking up their respective industries. Read more and follow the series here.

Want to tell us about how your business is disrupting its sector? Contact David Fieldhouse on 01603 772456.

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