Press Release: Syft Acquires PBL Chefs

The Venture Capital-backed flexible staffing platform makes its first acquisition, continues its expansion in the hospitality and events sectors.


LONDON, UK – April 2018 – The UK’s market leading flexible staffing platform, Syft, is pleased to announce the acquisition of the culinary recruitment agency PBL Chefs. Operating across the hospitality sector with 600 chefs working at all levels, PBL Chefs provides staff to a range of prestigious brands, such as the Hurlingham Club, Delaware North and Mews of Mayfair.

The exact terms of the deal are not being disclosed publicly, though it consists of a cash and shares-based arrangement which involves all of the company’s current team joining Syft. It represents the first acquisition made by the London-headquartered firm.

PBL Chefs’ Managing Director and former chef Phil Houlihan joins Syft as Chef Director, heading the department which is responsible for close to 1000 chefs across the UK post acquisition. The deal represents a further expansion into the hospitality sector for Syft, which has to date raised £8.75 million in funding from investors such as Creandum, PROfounders Capital, Lord Young, David Haye and others.

Launched in November 2015 by Jack Beaman and Novo Abakare, Syft operates in the hospitality, events and industrial sectors across London, the Midlands and the North. Syft is cost and time efficient for employers, offering them direct access to high quality, fully trained staff via the app. This allows employers to view a range of jobseekers with varying experience at an average cost of 55% less than a traditional temp agency.

In under 3 years, Syft has drawn over 8,000 jobseekers to the app who benefit from the start-up’s flexibility, transparency and most importantly higher pay. The jobseeker is able to be their own boss by seeing exactly who they are working for, and what the role involves prior to the shift, without the need to go through a middle-man. After a few swipes on the app, job seekers can find shifts in a variety of different roles that pay above average wages.

“We are really excited to bring Phil and his team over to Syft. We have worked with Phil for a year, so we are confident in his skills and the chefs he has working for him. Phil’s clients and chefs love him and his team, and we plan to achieve a lot more success together. We are planning on investing heavily in chefs this year; our first priority is to ensure all the chefs we have get an increase in pay as well as the 200 perks all our workers at Syft benefit from.”

Syft Co-Founder & CEO Jack Beaman

“We have formed a great working partnership over the last couple of years, which has now been solidified as we aim to expand as one team. We share the same vision for how technology is changing the staffing industry and in particular driving up wages for workers. It was a big decision for me and wasn’t something I had considered, but after spending lots of time with Novo and Jack, it felt like the right thing to do. Everyone at PBL Chefs is very excited with what the future holds together.”

Phil Houlihan

For more screenshots and assets, please access here.

About Syft

Syft is the UK’s largest technology enabled staffing platform, providing fully vetted, skilled workers for the hospitality, events and industrial sectors. Launched in late 2015, the London-headquartered company has since opened branches in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham. Breaking from the traditional staffing agency model, Syft offers employers control, choice and low agency fees, plus provides workers with higher pay and benefits.

About PBL Chefs

Founded in September 2014 by former chef Phil Houlihan, PBL Chefs provides chefs working at all levels to venues in London, the South East, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The firm’s team has a combined recruiting and hospitality background of over 45 years and is trusted by brands such as Delaware North, Marriott & Starwood Hotels, and Lords Cricket Ground. PBL has utilised app technology for the last three years, viewing itself as a ‘pro-tech agency’.

Founders Info

CEO, Jack Beaman is a Cardiff University political science graduate and was part of the founding team of Fuse Universal, one of the world's most innovative enterprise software startups having raised over $10 million in venture capital funding to date. Jack worked across sales and marketing collaborating with brands such as Vodafone, Google, Linkedin and Lloyds.


COO, Novo Abakare is a Philosophy and Economics graduate from Bristol University, who had spent the previous six years as a senior trader at alternative instruments investment firm Tradelink Worldwide.

For more images of Syft and the platform, please download the press kit from:

For further information and queries:

Fin Murphy
Content and Social Media Executive, Syft

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