A Birmingham City University (BCU) alumni is celebrating after the virtual co-working business he co-founded was acquired by a leading US firm.
Posted 24 August 2022
“Proud, happy and excited”
BCU graduate Shrevan Marath’s startup, Work Simplr, a virtual collaboration and co-working platform, has been purchased by Colorado business UPSKLS, a leader in on-demand work sourcing.
As part of the acquisition, UPSKLS will change its name to Work Simplr. The combined company will deliver the world’s first on-demand work platform to meet the on-demand needs of organisations of all shapes and sizes.
Shrevan first reached out to UPSKLS in April 2022 to learn more about the company and, after a number of productive meetings, it soon became clear that the US firm were interested in utilising Work Simplr’s services.
“While they were quite similar to us as a business, they didn’t have the level of technology that we had,” Shrevan explains.
“After speaking with their CEO regarding how our platform could help them enhance their offering, they proposed that they acquire the company.”
Shrevan will still play an active role in the business and can’t believe that the firm he created will now be based and utilised in one of the world’s most advanced countries.
“I’m proud, happy and excited,” he beams. “To be able to see this platform grow further, while still being able to drive its innovation, gives me a real sense of pride and accomplishment.”
It continues a successful year for Shrevan, who was recognised nationally for his business with a Rising Star Award at the 2022 National StartUp Awards.
“It was an achievement I thought I was still a fair distance from,” Shrevan says of the accolade.
“I am so thankful to the awards for recognising all of the hard work and passion I have put into Work Simplr.”
Finding opportunity in adversity
Work Simplr came to life from Shrevan’s own frustrations at finding work.
“Being an international student, it was hard to find relevant work experience and things got even more difficult after graduation,” he explains.
“While I was at university, I took it upon myself to work on projects, events and ideas, but I still struggled to secure a job here in the UK. Most companies wanted to see professional work experience, where you had a manager who could talk about your performance.”
Feeling frustrated that the ingenuity and hard work Shrevan was conducting was not resulting in a job, he looked at gig working, income-earning activities outside of traditional, long-term employee/employer relationships.
From this, WorkSimplr came to life in 2018 and Shrevan has never looked back, working on new developments and platforms for the company.
“The journey has had a lot of ups and downs, but with research I was able to identify a gap in the market where internships and placements were falling through,” he explains.
“With the help of BCU, we were able to develop the product and launch a new platform.”
Truly grateful for university support
Shrevan, who graduated from BCU in 2016, has fully utilised the University’s services.
He became a client of the Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network (BSEEN), which offers financial and mentorship support to students and recent graduates.
He also signed up to BCU’s Higher Level Skills Match (HLSM) service, part-funded by the European Social Fund, which helps businesses expand their skills and partners them with students and/or graduates to solve a challenge within their organisation.
“I am truly grateful to have been a part of HLSM,” he beams. “I have had a long relationship with BCU in general and I’m really thankful to the support they have given me with my business.”
As he looks to an exciting future for himself and his business, Shrevan hopes other BCU graduates will be inspired to pursue their own dreams.
“Building a startup is not easy, but the end results can be amazing,” he enthuses. “I hope that my story may inspire anyone thinking of taking the leap into launching a startup. There are so many amazing support networks out there, including HLSM and BSEEN.
“Do what you believe in, keep pushing and remember that hard work pays off.”
Find out more about Shrevan’s business by visiting the Work Simplr website.