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Talent relocation startup Jobbatical raises €11.6m Series A round

It plans to expand into 30 new markets, riding a post-pandemic wave of talent moving companies and countries

By Kit Gillet

Jobbatical cofounders Ronald Hindriks (l), Karoli Hindriks and Ankur Agarwal

Jobbatical, the Estonian startup specialising in relocating workers, has raised €11.6m in Series A funding.

The Tallinn-headquartered startup plans to use the money to expand into 30 new markets, riding a post-pandemic wave of recruitment and talent moving companies and countries.

What does Jobbatical do?

Founded by siblings Karoli and Ronald Hindriks in 2014 as a cross-border recruitment platform, Jobbatical pivoted in 2019, and now works with high-growth companies like N26, TravelPerk and Personio to help them move around staff, and bring in talent from abroad.

“We automate all the hideous immigration process so that you don’t have to worry about it. It’s efficient, we don’t use paper and and we make it faster,” Karoli tells Sifted.

“This is a space that was crying out for digital innovation,” she adds.

Today, roughly one in 30 people make a move internationally each year, according to the World Migration Report, though many of these are low-skilled workers rather than the highly skilled (and high in demand) workers that Jobbatical works with in areas like IT and fintech.

“Never before has hiring been as hard as it is today, and it’s going to get harder”

At the same time, the post-Covid period has seen a surge in activity, as businesses look to relocate talent to plug gaps created by the global skills shortage. “Never before has hiring been as hard as it is today, and it’s going to get harder,” Karoli says.

Today, Jobbatical manages employee relocation across 21 countries.

The company is growing fast, experiencing an eightfold annual recurring revenue increase over the past 12 months. From January to April this year, Jobbatical saw its monthly turnover increase sevenfold.

“During the pandemic people were basically shut in their tiny apartments all over the world,” says Hindriks. “All the dreams they had before the pandemic, they exploded after.”

Remote work is actually expanding the market rather than decreasing it, she suggests.

With just €2m raised to date, Jobbatical has built by far the most scalable product in the industry, claims Hindriks.

It now own 95% of the experience, and when it comes to the parts it can’t manage — like bureaucratic paperwork — it is actively working with countries to make it more streamlined.

Case in point: via a collaboration with Berlin Immigration Authorities, Jobbatical has helped fast-track immigration applications through the system in days rather than the three months it used to take.

“I think most forward-thinking countries will be moving from paper-heavy to digital [immigration processes] within the next few years,” Hindriks says.

Who’s investing?

The round was led by Nordic VC Inventure, with additional investors including Union Square Ventures, Swiss Post Ventures, Karma VC, Metaplanet and Devotion Ventures, as well as angel investors like Joe Zadeh, former head of Airbnb Experiences.

Zadeh, who went through relocations himself as a kid, says he was drawn to Jobbatical because of the progress it has made in simplifying the process.

“This will be great for companies since crossing country borders brings in new perspectives and gives employees far more flexibility,” he adds.

What’s the market like?

Jobbatical isn’t alone in seeing opportunities in the relocation space, with notable rivals like Localyze in Germany (which last week announced a $35m Series B funding round led by General Catalyst) and Envoy in the United States, as well as some smaller players. Still, Karoli Hindriks sees plenty of room to grow.

“In terms of whose businesses we’re taking, it’s obviously the Deloittes and KPMGs of this world,” she says. “We have strong competitors who are also doing really well. It’s a market that is on a very, very big growth trend, and there’s a space for us to take that market.”

What’s next for Jobbatical?

According to Karoli the company has been cashflow positive since May, but has raised this new round in order to expand to 30 new countries over the next few years.

“It literally takes us a week or two to get everything adapted to a new country”

Jobbatical can now roll out in a new country in a matter of days — setting up operations for Portugal earlier this year took a month, including hiring staff. “But the platform, it literally takes us a week or two to get everything adapted to a new country. This is one of our strongest edges in terms of competition,” she says.

The company’s headcount has doubled in the last year, to just north of 80, with expectations that it will triple by the end of 2023.

Jobbatical is also bringing onboard partners — vendors who are taking care of other relocation needs like insurance, bank accounts and finding housing. “This market is growing, and being created as we speak,” she says.

Sifted’s take

Gone are the days when people got a job a few miles from home and stayed put. Increasingly we’re looking further afield, at opportunities in other cities, countries and even continents — just look at our team at Sifted!

There is clearly a need for modern-day solutions to staff relocations, of the sort that Jobbatical offers. Whether Jobbatical is the one to become a market leader only time will tell, but it’s certainly been an early pacesetter, and this money will help it to expand further in both size and geographical reach.

Kit Gillet is Sifted’s eastern Europe correspondent. He tweets from @KitGillet

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