Early Spotify investor Creandum joins David Haye in backing UK startup Syft

Lynsey Barber
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Creandum has joined David Haye (c) as an investor in Syft, founded by Novo Abakare (l) and Jack Beaman (r) (Source: Syft)

An early investor in Spotify has joined champion boxer David Haye in backing a UK startup shaking up the recruitment industry.

Creandum has led an £6.1m series A investment in Syft, a marketplace for hiring flexible workers, with PROfounders Capital and Colle Capital also backing it.

It brings total funding for the two-year-old firm to £8.7m after previous backing from Haye and Lord Young, the former enterprise adviser to David Cameron when he was Prime Minister.

Read more: An early Facebook and Spotify backer's invested millions in a UK AI startup

Syft is hoping to disrupt traditional temp agencies with a platform that makes it easier for both employers and workers in the hospitality and events industries, with clients now including Compass Group and Lords Cricket Ground.

Creandum partner Johan Brenner told City A.M. the VC firm was attracted to the startup's potential in a market worth £40bn in the UK alone.

"I fell in love with Syft. Jack and Novo [Beaman and Abakare, respectively, its founders] have done a great job in a short time, making a product people love," he said, also pointing to the growing desire for flexibility and freedom in jobs.

“It’s one of fastest growing [new players] in a huge market,” he said, adding that many customers now stuck to using just Syft, where previously they would have used multiple temp agencies.

It's just the latest investment in a UK startup for Sweden's Creandum. It also participated in a €14m (£11m) investment in digital challenger bank for small business, Tide, over the summer. And it expects more to follow.

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"The UK is the most vibrant startup market in Europe," said Brenner. "It has been for a while, there's been success in the past, entrepreneurs are coming back in and there are have been good exits."

Brenner estimates that around 20 to 25 per cent of its investments now go into innovative UK firms, with deep tech such as artificial intelligence, digital health and fintech on his radar.

"Brexit will be an issue," he said. "But entrepreneurs will work around it - it's the nature of them, finding a way around things."

He added: "We see a lot of exciting stuff""

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