Gig economy hiring app Pickr attracts interest from blue-chip brands

The team at Pickr. Left to right, Kane Halsey, Callum james, Jonathan Martin, Harry Cranfield, Stewa

The team at Pickr. Left to right, Kane Halsey, Callum james, Jonathan Martin, Harry Cranfield, Stewart Halsey and Carl Cassar. Picture: Pickr - Credit: Pickr

A work-finding platform is aiming to expand across East Anglia after signing up 5,000 users in its first three months.

Pickr connects people looking for casual hours and businesses who need to fill a gap in their workforce quickly through an online app and website.

The Norwich-based start up was founded by Kane Halsey, Jonathan Martin and Carl Cassar as a side project to help businesses deal with fluctuations in staffing – such as from sickness or due to seasonal changes.

It came about after a chance conversation with Lisa Angel, founder of the eponymous gifts firm, which led to Pickr helping the Future50 firm over the Christmas period.

Now Pickr, which currently has a turnover of around £750,000, has developed a full platform, grown to a team of six and is working with several brands including Mattressman.

Mr Halsey said: 'Our plan is to expand in a sensible way. We are looking at East Anglia first and then the home counties.

'We have also had three or four national companies get in touch which are keen to make a tech-based staffing system.'

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Mr Halsey said businesses such as Wincanton, Royal Bank of Scotland and Travis Perkins had all spoken to the firm to explore the idea.

Pickr first launched with 1,000 pre-registered 'pickrs', as the firm calls them, and now has more than 5,000 active users in Norfolk. The next stage for the platform will be to develop its artificial intelligence so firms can be better informed about workers' performance, for which Pickr will recruit three developers.

This would allow businesses to get analytical feedback on staff as well as identifying areas of high demand or low availability.

While the platform may encourage more businesses to use a 'gig economy' style of staffing – which has come under scrutiny for the lack of security it offers workers – Mr Halsey said users enjoyed the flexibility of picking and choosing their shifts. Some 70% of staff had won permanent roles with companies they have met through Pickr, he added.

'We have talked to quite a few people and some love our gig economy approach, others are a bit wary of it,' he said, adding the system was 'very clear' about how it worked.

'Companies decide how much they are willing to pay for a shift, which must be at least the minimum wage.'