US-backed payroll software co Humanforce is the latest owner of fintech Earnd

- February 9, 2023 2 MIN READ
The original Earnd team in 2019
Sydney payroll and workforce management software company Humanforce has acquired the Australian arm of fintech Wagestream – formerly Earnd – for an undisclosed sum.

Its the second local startup acquisition in six months by Humanforce, which is now backed by Californian private firm, which snapped up Airtree-backed competitor Ento in September last year.

Accel-KKR spent $60 million acquiring a majority stake in 21-year-old Humanforce in May last year. That means the Wagestream acquisition will need Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

Wagestream Australia began life in 2018 as Earnd, cofounded by Josh Vernon and Serge Kotlyarov, to give employees access to income as they earn it. After a $2.5 million raise in 2019, backed by NAB Ventures, Alvin Singh and Bosco Tan, and financial services execs including John Banfield,  Andrew Birch and Rob Lederer,

It was a wild ride from thereon in, with the now notorious supply chain financing company Greensill snapping up the business for around $20 million in 2020. When Greensill collapsed in early 2021 Earnd’s founder, Josh Vernon, managed to convince UK fintech Wagestream, also founded in 2018, to acquire the business from Greensill’s administrators.  A year on, Earnd raised A$81 million in a series C in April 2022, led by new US investors Smash Capital and BlackRock, alongside existing shareholders Balderton Capital, Northzone, and charity fund Fair By Design.

It rebranded as Wagestream Australia and is now being offloaded the business to Humanforce less than two years later.

Around 1 million employees at companies including Pizza Hut, Hungry Jack’s, JD Sports, BPAY, Freedom Furniture and Carnival Australia use Wagestream to get their pay early. The platform also offers financial wellbeing advice to users.

Humanforce CEO Clayton Pyne said the acquisition of Wagestream Australia aligns with the company’s focus of empowering deskless workforces with the tools and tech “to make work easier and life better”.

“Humanforce is fully committed to helping Wagestream Australia customers continue to deliver a positive employee experience,” he said.

“We are thrilled to join forces to alleviate employees’ financial burden while helping businesses beat the talent crunch, so they can focus on improved productivity, compliance confidence and cost control.”

Vernon said that while financial stress is heightened for deskless workers as their earnings are typically irregular.

“With the combined power of Humanforce’s integrated workforce management and payroll solution, employees can manage their shifts, rosters, track their pay, and manage their financial wellbeing with complete transparency through a single, unified Humanforce solution,” he said.