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HRtech Employment Hero becomes a unicorn with £96M funding; acquires KeyPay

Employment Hero
Image credits: Employment Hero

Employment Hero, a cloud-based platform that enables businesses to manage HR, payroll, and employee benefits, announced that it has closed a £96M funding, at a valuation of over $1B, reaching unicorn status. 

The latest round was led by return investor SEEK Investments with participation from, OneVentures, AirTree Ventures, and other shareholders. 

With its new cash injection, Employment Hero plans to grow exponentially in the UK over the next few years, introducing new service lines and increasing its market share. 

Acquired KeyPay 

Besides funding, the Australian company has also acquired a workforce management and payroll solution, KeyPay. With this acquisition, Employment Hero offers a suite of total employment management solutions that covers right from Talent Solutions, Core HR, Payroll, and eBenefits. 

This suite of solutions will offer UK SMEs and their employees a seamless employment management experience and specifically help them to grow their engagement and work relationships with employees. With the acquisition, Employment Hero now has over 12,000 SMEs in the UK, collectively managing over 120,000 employees using its platform, and boasts a team of over 500 FTEs globally, with more than 35 in the UK. 


Now, KeyPay will continue as an independent brand and receive ongoing investment to grow its team. Additionally, with KeyPay comes Pensionsync, one of the fastest-growing pension clearinghouses in the UK. PensionSync connects payroll software to any pension provider, allowing users to manage auto-enrolment pensions easily.


Founded in 2010 by Phil Bernie, Richard McLean, Paul Duran, and Kristian Reynolds, KeyPay is a cloud-based and automated app that eliminates the pain points associated with payroll. The platform reduces the time spent on payroll processing & increases employee interaction through Employee Self Service. 

The Sydney-based company has a well-established footprint across the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Malaysia, allowing Employment Hero to accelerate its growth initiatives in these markets. 

Co-founders of KeyPay, Phil Bernie and Paul Duran will stay on at KeyPay as Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, respectively. 

Phil Bernie, Managing Director at KeyPay, says, “We’re excited to become part of the Employment Hero team whilst maintaining our independence as a brand. It opens up incredible opportunities for KeyPay’s staff, customers and partners by adding greater capability and capacity to all areas of the business. Joining a company that is aligned on culture, core values and a drive to deliver the best customer experience is an extremely motivating way to kick-start KeyPay’s next chapter.” 

HRtech leader Employment Hero 

Founded by Ben Thompson and Dave Tong in 2014, Employment Hero helps SMEs to manage people, payroll, and productivity. 

Employment Hero services over 80,000 businesses, collectively managing over 750,000 employees. Its core platform reduces admin time by up to 80 per cent, claims the company. 

Ben Thompson, Co-founder and CEO at Employment Hero, says, “Our latest valuation is recognition of all the hard work everyone has contributed to building a great company and a testament to our mission of creating as many quality employment opportunities as possible. 70 per cent of all jobs on earth are provided by SMEs (who represent 99 per cent of all businesses) but most business owners still feel anxious, under qualified and under-resourced as employers. Employment Hero’s four pillars allow us to deliver a complete employment platform and service that people can use to find work, manage work, get paid, spend and save. This, combined with KeyPay joining the Employment Hero family, will set a new bar for what people expect from employment. It’s incredibly exciting and we have a lot of work ahead to continue to make employment easier and more valuable, for everyone.”

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