Werk in Estonia gets €1.2m to help companies hire and relocate skilled migrant construction workers; here’s how


Tallinn, Estonia-based Werk, a hiring and relocation platform for skilled migrant construction workers, announced on Tuesday that it has raised $1.3 million (about 1.23 million euros) during of a pre-seed financing cycle. The platform enables companies to hire qualified and vetted migrant construction workers, taking care of everything from recruitment and vetting to relocation.

The startup says it will use the funds to expand its team and focus on product development and marketing.

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Werk co-founder Martin Kalamees said, “This first injection of capital will allow us to grow our team and improve our technology.

Investors in this round

The round was led by Change Ventures, one of the leading seed funds in the Baltics. The round also saw participation from Foundamental VC and angel investors such as Anthony Danon and Carmen Alfonso-Rico of Cocoa VC, Declan Kelly of Foreword VC, Gonzalo Manrique of Ironhack and Andreas Klinger, On Deck CTO and Head of Remote at AngelList.

Rait Ojasaar, Investment Partner at Change Ventures, says: “From travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the war in Ukraine cutting off labor supply networks, there are a number of uncontrollable elements affecting skilled migrant workers seeking construction jobs. Werk provides a valuable service to businesses in need of manpower, as well as a safe platform for those seeking employment outside of their home country. We are delighted to lead this first round of investment.

Patric Hellermann, General Partner of Foundamental, adds: “Werk is solving a huge opportunity in Europe: discovering a steady supply of skilled craftsmen and making them mobile across borders. The most important thing is that we do it in a compliant way and that we bring transparency and reduce the administrative burden. »

construction labor market

Founded in 2020 by Martin Kalamees, Marion Kallakas and Markus Tarn, Werk is a platform that enables companies to hire qualified and vetted migrant workers.

The company offers transparency to cross-border blue-collar contracts and supports workers moving to other countries by automating paperwork and visa documentation. It claims to work with companies that guarantee workers the same terms of payment, treatment and protection as those offered to locals.

For contractors, once they have captured the skills they need on site, the platform uses AI to match them with qualified and suitable workers, who have been vetted by experts from industry. Once the worker is hired, Werk also takes care of HR and payroll.

Co-founder and CEO Martin Kalamees says, “Our platform solves two major and growing global problems. First, skilled migrant workers are exploited by unregulated agencies and contractors, who sometimes operate illegally. Second, construction companies are facing labor shortages due to difficulties in finding workers abroad and, of course, the devastating situation in Ukraine. We help connect skilled workers with contractors in a legal, transparent and safe way. »

Recent growth

Werk reports that it has recently experienced 20% monthly growth, has already reached over 2,000 verified and vetted construction workers, and has clients in Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. .

The company is also developing and testing its cross-border relocation feature, which automates visa and residence permit processes, opening bank accounts, airfares, accommodation, access to safe financial services and support for their families back home.

Additionally, the startup is testing a social feature, which allows workers to talk to each other, receive advice, ask questions about living and working in different countries, and consume relevant construction-related content, such as tips and tips.

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