Orka Founder Tom Pickersgill: Tech-Based Solutions for Shift Workers

We provide smart, tech-based solutions for shift workers and their employers and our mission is to create an accessible, seamless, integrated experience for this workforce – to make their lives easier and to remove barriers to entry.

Since we started in 2017, we have launched and established our work platform Broadstone and, more recently, introduced our salary advance product Orka Pay.

Broadstone enables hourly workers to easily find shifts with different employers, without the need for multiple interviews and job applications. It also helps them to manage their work-life and pick and choose the shifts they want to work. The platform is currently used by around 50,000 workers in the security, logistics and cleaning sectors and our partners include G4S and ISS. For employers, the platform manages recruitment and HR functions, such as helping companies find workers, fill shifts and manage timesheets, saving them time, money and hassle.

Orka Pay allows hourly paid workers to withdraw up to 50 per cent of their wages as soon as they’ve completed a shift, meaning they don’t have to wait until payday. We know everyone’s budgeting habits are different and our product accommodates this, while helping to deal with unexpected costs in the middle of a month. Orka Pay not only provides workers access to a fantastic benefit but allows our partner organisations to differentiate themselves from the competition, improving their employee satisfaction and retention rates.
About — Orka Pay

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

We launched Broadstone in 2016 – since rebranded as Orka – after recognising that the traditional recruitment and staffing agency model was broken. My team and I firmly believed that technology could be used to make flexible working as easy as possible, including creating one simple vetting process to speed up the time it takes to get people into work.

The worker landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade. More people are looking for work that fits around their life, yet most employers, traditional recruiters and bricks and mortar staffing agencies have not adapted.

What we’re doing is unique in the sector, allowing temporary workers to be algorithmically matched to work they’re qualified to undertake quickly and efficiently. We believe our approach is the future of temporary staffing.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

The main thing is: just keep at it! Start-up life is hard and there are constant obstacles to overcome, but challenges can often turn out to be great opportunities. Build an amazing team around who believe in your vision, that way the burden is shared and the goals are collective.

What can we hope to see from Orka in the future?


We have big growth plans, including a desire to increase our headcount by 50% over the next six months and 100% in a year’s time as we enter an exciting growth period for the business. I want Orka to become the leading brand in a new sector – work-tech – which caters to the growing population of shift workers in the UK.

We want to improve the two products we have, with new features and better tech. To bring these products to the masses we are in conversations with more major partners, meaning that hopefully tens of thousands more workers will have access to our products in the coming year. We also plan to roll out several new products for this workforce.

Winning contracts with organisations such as G4S gives us a real opportunity to expand our operations into multiple sectors and geographies, whilst giving us the scale to fundamentally redefine the way people search for work, get paid and prove they qualify for roles.

Longer-term we have ambitious plans to establish our model in key markets – the US being one we want to move into in the coming years.