London tech startup Slinger receives £500,000 pre-seed funding

Written by Alex Bredeen

Slinger today announced a new round of pre-seed funding of £500,000. This round of funding was led by Fuel Ventures with participation from: Andrew Gale, Dan Cobley (Ex Google MD), Cornerstone Partners, Resolution Foundation, Tim Parsons (Wage Stream CFO), Ufi Ventures, Gary Elden (EX SThree CEO), Ben Westwood, Richard Ng, plus the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, where Slinger was selected alongside 15 other business across Europe.

What is Slinger?

Slinger is a job platform that is revolutionising the hiring process in hospitality, and making the CV redundant. Currently Slinger is the first Hospitality job platform to offer the fairest pay and the easiest way to get hospitality work in the UK, owed due to its commitment to paying the UK’s Real Living Wage (jobs cannot be posted unless they meet this), and the lack of traditional friction to signing up on the platform—outdated CVs are replaced with videos and creative written submissions, and staff are vetted in advance, so if a Slinger claims a shift, it’s theirs instantly.

This approach saves time-poor Hospitality businesses money and precious time. They get fast hiring, and flexible staff options in the moments they really need it. Plus with Slinger’s innovative approach to trial shifts, they can find full time staff at significantly lower costs. In Slinger’s Beta of this product it was revealed that a staggering 80% reduction in hiring costs, and a 90% acceleration in the time taken to fill roles was achieved, when compared to conventional practices involving job boards, CV vetting, and interviews.

What will the investment be used for?

Ambitious product development - Slinger has creative solutions to tackle hiring inefficiencies: the platform will be developed to provide a safe alternative to the hospitality industry's ‘trial shift’ problem, human-first alternatives to the CV—which better asses people’s skills, and help Slinger cement its reputation as a hiring solution for short and long term contracts.

Additionally, Slinger will help people move into hospitality and raise awareness of the variety of career paths available, Slinger will develop a career programme comprising mentorship, up-skilling, interview preparation and work experience. Paid acceleration - Slinger has already experienced high organic growth, with over 10,000 shifts added to the Slinger platform and over £1m+ paid out to hospitality workers in the last two years. The investment will enable Slinger to complement their organic growth with paid efforts to drive client acquisition.

Team growth Slinger will grow the team with a specific focus on customer care and community, empowering Slingers to be their best when representing the company. In addition they will hire people who can support the company’s ambitious product plans.

Why now?

On the business side, post Brexit and Covid, **the hospitality industry is struggling with staff vacancies**, which has led venues to reduce opening hours or trading days. According to trade body UKHospitality—vacancies are still 72% higher than pre-pandemic levels and that the industry is currently having to turn away £25 billion worth of business in the UK. In addition recruitment is expensive endeavour, with margins so low in hospitality, the situation is precarious.

Simultaneously on the worker side, a recent survey from showed an appetite for hospitality roles in the UK. That in fact, 2.9 million people are thinking of moving to hospitality from another sector, and 2.1 million considering hospitality as an additional job

Reasons cited for this appetite from the UK public were: people wanting a more sociable job, to secure an additional income, for greater flexibility and for ongoing job security

The solution to this is clear from the perspective of Slinger’s founder Theo-Lee Houston:

“The hiring process for the Hospitality industry is currently not fit for purpose and needs to be shaken up completely—we have a vision to make the CV redundant”

London-born founder Theo has worked in hospitality for nearly 10 years, both on the worker and business side—an industry he was so passionate about that he quit his career as an investment banker to run his own hospitality business.

Slinger’s inception was born from Theo’s time working with food stalls in fact, and actually began as a Whatsapp group that connected businesses with staff, that he started one day from a stool in Maltby St Market. Once the traction started to show, he realised he could create something to truly serve the industry’s needs, by people who have lived and breathed it. Slinger’s team has almost all worked in hospitality in some point.

“Knowing the industry intimately, we know things such as CVs, trial shifts, and other outdated processes are not the best way to find quality workers. And in a worker’s market, its no longer going to work to continue practices that discriminate and de-value staff, we have to give them suitable conditions and train them. Our product development is laser-focused on developing more human-led Tech solutions to connect people with businesses in a sustainable ways.”

“We’ve found this helps businesses save time (the average shift goes in 60 seconds), offers them flexibility (temp staff), and saves them money (quick filling of shifts means they can open any time they want to, and our model offers a significantly cheaper pipeline to full time staff."

“This is the moment for Slinger to really show up for the hospitality industry as we want it to survive and thrive.”

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