Making It Work: tech firm Bowsy raises €500,000 to fund global expansion

Dublin-based company in the process of expanding its service which connects businesses with college students looking for paid jobs and internships

John Brady, chief executive and co-founder, Bowsy: by using the company’s platform, ‘students get valuable, paid work experience opportunities, and employers get to test-drive talent’. Picture: Fergal Phillips

Bowsy, a Dublin-based tech business, has raised more than €500,000 to fund the global expansion of a service it claims can make it easier for college students to find jobs, and help employers improve their graduate recruitment processes.

The company, founded in 2020, has developed a platform where businesses can connect with undergraduate students and offer them paid jobs and internships. In doing so, John Brady, its chief executive and co-founder said, it offers a service that’s a “win-win” for companies and students alike.

“Students get valuable, paid work experience opportunities, and employers get to test-drive talent,” Brady said.

Bowsy had previously raised €300,000 in a crowdfunding campaign. Now it has taken in around €550,000 in matched funding through the Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) fund, Brady told the Business Post.

The business has incorporated an operation in the US and is in the process of setting up a British entity.

“We’re planning to do pilots in the next 12 months in the US, and that’s why we’ve incorporated over there – it’s the first stage in actually preparing for that pilot,” he said.

Bowsy already has three strategic advisers working out of Philadelphia and is working with a number of businesses in Britain. Brady decided to set up the company after noticing that there was little in the way of job opportunities for third-level students beyond working in typical student industries like shops, restaurants or bars.

“I realised that in the 25 years since I left university, not a lot has changed for students in terms of how they can earn a living,” he said. “They’re still working in traditional part-time jobs.”

The issue disproportionately affects students from less wealthy backgrounds, Brady added, given the shortage of paid job opportunities for those without a full degree.

After researching the topic, he found studies showing that students who worked in their chosen fields during college years were among the best academic performers and often enjoyed better careers.

“For most students, the number one thing they want is access to remote, flexible work experience,” he said. “And that’s what we offer on the platform.”

Employers who advertise openings on Bowsy’s platform have to pay the students they source through the company. Bowsy then charges 20 per cent on top of whatever an employer pays a student.

“If a student does €200 worth of work, Bowsy will charge the employer €240,” he said. After the employer says they’re happy with the work that’s been done, the payment goes to the student and the 20 per cent goes to Bowsy.”

Importantly, companies advertising openings on Bowsy have to allow for remote work.

“Rules like that help level the playing field for graduates,” Brady said. “It doesn’t matter where you live or what university you go to.”

The company is aiming to validate its model in Ireland, as well as proving the value of the service in its US pilot scheme. The plan after that is to raise €1.6 million in a Series A funding round.

“After the US pilot, we’ll be looking to really scale Bowsy, bring people in, and take this global,” Brady said.