We caught up with George Fairhall, a member of the 2023 PARSE cohort, to find out more about her journey as a tech founder.
Tell us a bit about your company, and your role, in your own words.
We empower by the hour and we make sure hard work counts – every minute and every penny!
Working on an hourly-paid basis often comes with chaotic shift patterns, payslip guessing and a lot to worry about with little or no support. We help thousands of users on a daily basis take control of their work and money, offering financial security through WAC.
We aim to dominate the fast-growing market with our ‘worker-tech’ solution and become the go-to life management platform that supports millions of individuals every day. We are quickly building a huge community of workers that feel valued, appreciated and financially secure every day.
What was the inspiration behind setting up your business?
I founded WAC due to my personal experience whilst working many part-time jobs throughout my student and working life. I have a personal mission to support millions of workers experiencing the same work, life and money management issues as I did.
After years of being underpaid, always feeling unorganised and fed up with the lack of support, I did something about it! I drew out my dream app on paper, found £5000 in a secret wedding fund my parents had kindly saved for me throughout my life, quit my law career and never ever looked back.
Not only do I want to build a solution, I also want to disrupt the market, change what is viewed as ‘normal’ and make a true difference to this hard-grafting work force.
Why did you decide to take part in PARSE, and what are you hoping to achieve from the experience?
Throughout my entrepreneurial journey I have been lucky enough to come across the most amazing, inspirational individuals and have always been able to overcome challenges with the help of my growing network. I’m lucky to live in and build a business in the thriving city of Leeds. I am hoping this experience will help me build my personal profile, my company brand and learn from other amazing Founders in Leeds, as well as hopefully becoming part of their network to offer support whenever I can.
From your experience so far, what has been the most valuable thing you have found within the Leeds tech community?
Following on from my comments above, I have met some truly inspirational people running companies I could only wish to become one day. There’s a real community feel within the Leeds business circle and it really feels like we are successfully working together and having a huge impact in the UK and worldwide, right out of Leeds! I’m super proud to be a Leeds based business right now (even though I was told I’d only raise investment or grow a successful team in London as an app company, many times).
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a Startup currently?
The biggest challenge we have faced as a startup is raising funds to support our business growth. We are a B2C, freemium, and high-growth business (which is always associated with high risk) and launched WAC one week after covid hit. Our first target market was the hospitality and retail industry – where many people had just found themselves suddenly out of work!
We strategically came together, looked at our huge market and we pivoted, just like many other businesses at this time. We were able to help nearly essential workers who were relied upon to take care of the country and mostly contracted as hourly paid workers. Thankfully, we now have the most amazing investors who support our vision, understand our solution, and give us the chance to prove ourselves in this challenging market. We are, however, still early in our journey and we need continuous support to deliver the social impact we are capable of.
Looking forward, what are your hopes and ambitions as a company over the next 12 months?
we are well on our way to achieving our targets after recently reaching some huge milestones such as: raising nearly £800,000, hitting 200,000 downloads mostly in the UK (and 36 other countries), reaching Top 30 apps in Finance on the App Store (alongside huge banks), having multiple viral TikTok videos, increasing our organic growth, and being featured in The Times and Financial Times in the last 3 months.
Our mission is to offer support and financial security to hourly-paid workers and become part of everyday life for millions of individuals across the globe.
How do you personally define success?
Success to me is achieving what I set out to achieve, or even coming close to it. I set out on a mission to help workers that were in the same position as I was. I wanted to put a stop to normalised underpayment and overworking. I wanted to make the low-paid, hard-grafting individuals of this world feel listened to, supported and financially secure. Reading the thousands of reviews that come in every day, and seeing thousands and thousands of workers rely on WAC app makes me feel like I’m slowly but surely succeeding in what I set out to achieve!
Who, or what, has been the single biggest influence on your working life?
WHO: My dad is the most career driven person I have ever met. My grandad was the most empowering. My mum is the hardest working, even when life got us down! My past bosses have taught me a lot and also my investors, Chairman and my closest network have truly made me feel completely capable and were amazing when times were tough!
WHAT: Being exploited in my working life over and over again. Growing up as a family doing our best but always feeling like life was against us. Financially struggling as a family and desperately planning to change that. Seeing thousands of workers go through what I did, and worse… much worse.
All of this and more has been my inspiration.