Finnish startup Worxia, founded by Estonian entrepreneurs, has developed an online platform that connects labor-seeking companies with staff-leasing agencies. Worxia is one of the first to move in a sector that is ready for change.
Staff leasing is a practice where a company – often working in construction, commercial cleaning or security – sources labor through an employment agency. The agency finds the people for the job, connects them with the company, and takes a fee for doing so.
It’s a fast-growing sector, but it’s also highly fragmented, localized and has yet to realize the benefits of digitization. Small- and medium-sized staff-leasing agencies typically find work through their historical connections, with agreements often made in a pen-and-paper manner. The agencies may have workers in their database who would be well-suited to a task elsewhere, but these opportunities often go unrealized due to a lack of information sharing.
Worxia is aiming to change all this. Its digital platform helps companies seeking labor to connect with staff-leasing agencies that have the right workers for the job.
“We’re basically building an Upwork-type platform for staff leasing,” says Worxia CEO and co-founder Rando Pärna. “There is a lot of digitization going on in different areas of recruitment, but for some reason staff leasing is still relatively untouched.”
Pärna is a serial entrepreneur who used to head sales for Cisco Systems in Estonia. He is currently also a partner in the Baltics’ leading SaaS platform for car repairs: Trumpauto.
More efficient for everyone
The paying party on the Worxia platform is the agency providing the labor, with Worxia charging a percentage-based commission fee on any deal. For the companies seeking the labor, the platform will be free to use. With this model Worxia aims to attract the labor-seeking companies to the platform so that the agencies naturally follow.
Here’s how it works:
- A company seeking workers submits details of the job vacancies
- Worxia distributes these details to various staff-leasing and recruitment agencies
- The agencies submit their bids
- The client selects the most suitable and competitive bids
- Contracts are signed and working hours submitted – all through Worxia’s platform
- Worxia charges the agencies a percentage of each deal
“We don’t participate in the negotiations or set the prices – we just connect the two parties,” says Pärna. “The advantage for the client is that they can see all the offers in one place and can concentrate on choosing the best quality workers.”
Starting out in Finland
Pärna says there are as many as 500 staff-leasing agencies in Finland, putting the country at number one globally for use of the practice. This is one of the reasons Worxia decided to incorporate in Helsinki and tackle the Finnish market first.
“Finland is a safe business environment with a clear and well-organized labor market. There are lots of opportunities here for Worxia’s platform,” he says. “Once we’re established in Finland, we intend to expand to the other Nordic countries, as well as to Belgium and Spain.”
Since October 2020, Helsinki Business Hub has been helping Worxia set up in Finland, connecting the company with service providers, financing, business information and more.
“We have received tremendous support from Helsinki Business Hub,” says Pärna. “They’ve directed me in many aspects of setting up the business in Finland, putting me in touch with the right people and even introducing potential business partners to Worxia. It did not matter that we originally come from Estonia – the support is strong.”
Writer: Andrew Flowers