Women-Focused Jobs And Networking Platform Hopscotch Raises Seed Funding The investment has brought with it a new look and added capabilities for the enterprise, and will help move Hopscotch's offerings to a digital platform.

By Sindhu Hariharan

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Tim Baker, founder, Hug Digital, Justin McGuire, co-founder, Hopscotch, and Helen McGuire, co-founder, Hopscotch.

Hopscotch, a Dubai-based women-focused recruitment firm, has raised undisclosed value of seed funding from Tim Baker, co-founder of Hug Digital, and with this funding, the enterprise is rebranding to a tech recruitment platform Hopscotch.work. Launched in 2016, Hopscotch is on a mission to "make the world of work a more accessible, better place for professional women across the Middle East and Asia," and aims to create a community of skilled women and help them achieve work-life balance. According to a statement, the investment has brought with it a new look and added capabilities for the enterprise, and will help move Hopscotch's offerings to a digital platform.

"Part of the capital has been invested in digitizing the platform itself and the activity around promoting that," says Helen McGuire, co-founder and MD, Hopscotch. "However, this is just phase one of our digitization, so further funds will be utilized to expand the online offering and make it open to businesses both here and in Asia. We will also use funds to staff our office in Asia from Q3 this year as part of our expansion," she adds. Essentially, Hopscotch's network of "over 50,000 women" will now be able to create their own profiles, and connect directly with businesses as well as with each other, cutting out any middleman in the process.

Helen McGuire, co-founder, Hopscotch. Image credit: Hopscotch.

Commenting on the funding, investor Tim Baker said in a statement, "Having been involved in launching and growing a digital agency for the last eight years, I've personally always wanted to get deeper into creating a disruptive digital product. I've loved watching Helen and Justin [co-founder Justin McGuire] tackle a serious but obvious need, in supporting women in their job hunt, training and personal development. It seemed like a natural fit to support their ambition and help deliver this with a strong digital, global offering in order to reach and connect more women."

Elaborating on what the digital transformation means for the startup, McGuire says that being a primarily offline service offered them limited reach and opportunity, and now with technology backing features like job board, business and personal profiles, online video software for training, and events schedule will all now be digitized. "With SME's making up 94% of businesses in the UAE, giving women the means to build their own career identity and network online, whilst in phases allowing businesses to connect directly through the new platform, is vital," says McGuire. "As it grows, Hopscotch.work will ensure our mission to achieve gender balance will become a global reality."

The startup's short-term objectives are to build an user base here in the Middle East, and in the medium-term, aims to launch their offerings in Asia (in Q3) and open the platform to businesses so that talent can connect directly on three key avenues- work, learning, and networking.

Related: Rewiring A Nation: Closing Gender Gaps With Soft Skills In Saudi Arabia

Sindhu Hariharan

Former Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Sindhu Hariharan is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.  She is a financial consultant turned business journalist with a FOMO when it comes to everything technology.

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