Hospitality jobs and training platform Barcats has raised $2.4 million amid the ongoing disruption to the sector caused by pandemic lockdowns.
Existing investors, including business journalist Ross Greenwood and Computershare founder Chris Morris once again backed the latest, round, with the Colonial Leisure Group owner raising his stake in the four-year-old startup from 7.25% to 12.9%. New investors include Garry Lord co-founder of forex fintech OFX, Bain Consulting managing partner David Zehner and early stage VC Investible. Brewing giant Lion was among the venture’s major foundation investors.
Chairman of Stuart Alexander & Co. Garry Browne has taken on additional board duties as the new chair of Barcats.
CEO Jeffrey Williams said the new funding will help Barcats to continue to support the hospitality sector with jobs still demand and training to upskill staff as they prepare for restrictions to lift
“Barcats has temporarily, suspended payments for subscription customers in NSW and Victoria and is working hard to help the industry with a number of initiatives,” he said.
“We are connecting staff to jobs at venues which are still hiring during the lockdowns, and encouraging staff to use the time in lockdown to update their profiles and skills so they are ready to work as soon as it ends.”
Williams said Barcats is also offering free online training via its partners and sponsors.
“The impact of the global pandemic and border closures has created an opportunity for us to really champion home-grown talent and encourage Australians to upskill and consider a career in the hospitality industry,” he said.
“For example, students, unable to go on gap years and travel abroad, can help fill the staffing void left by the international travellers.”
The platform has processed more than 340,000 job applications since it launched in 2017, with 97,000 workers across 27,000 venues now using the platform.
Williams said that Barcats has secured key industry players Diageo, Vitasoy, ResDiary and Payo, as new sponsors and has partnered with various new training organisations including working directly with the federal government’s of Education, Skills and Employment to upskill workers and secure employment outcomes.
“With continued support from top industry leaders Lion, Nestle, Treasury Wine Estates, Brown Forman, Campos and Club Plus Super, Barcats will continue to review growth and expansion opportunities in Australia, New Zealand and further afield,” he said.
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