Australian workplace wellbeing startup Sonder eyes UK expansion

Sonder, a leading wellbeing and safety company, will target UK growth after announcing the closing of an AU$35 million Series B funding round. Blackbird Ventures led the oversubscribed round, with participation from new investors including SEEK Investments and SecondQuarter Ventures, as well as existing investors. Alongside Blackbird’s investment, Niki Scevak, Blackbird’s partner and co-founder, will join Sonder’s Board.

Sonder will use the additional capital to invest into product improvements across its safety, medical and mental health platform, and continue growing its client base across medium and large enterprises in Australia and New Zealand. The company is also pursuing growth opportunities within SMB and international markets, including the UK.

Founded in 2017 by Craig Cowdrey, Christopher Marr, and Peter Burnheim, Sonder is on a mission to reduce the complexity of the healthcare landscape by providing a single entry point for employee and student care. Accredited by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), Sonder supports nearly half a million members, principally across Australia and New Zealand. Customers include Woolworths Group, PwC, University of Sydney, Allianz, Hoyts, Toll Group, Probe, NRMA, and NSW Government

Sonder co-founder and CEO, Craig Cowdrey, said the funding continues a proud record of accomplishment and backing from top-tier investors, and will support the delivery of Sonder’s platform to more people in need of support.

“The current system is broken. There are too many barriers when seeking support, especially when there are multiple issues at play.  This is despite record productivity losses caused by mental health issues in the workplace and the fact that employees are increasingly expecting their employers to make wellbeing a workplace priority. Our research shows that a massive 92 per cent of employees think it’s important for their next employer to offer wellbeing support.”

“It’s more than just mental health, there is a need for holistic wellbeing support that is easy to navigate and always available. It is more important than ever for students, employees, and their families to receive immediate, easily-accessible, 24×7, safety, medical, and mental health care. Sonder is playing a role in helping organisations and their people to navigate the unique safety and wellbeing challenges in their lives that are being compounded by the new world of work and study,” he said.

“‍Niki and the team at Blackbird, along with our other new investors will provide us with even greater depth of advisory expertise, and their strategic advice and feedback will prove invaluable during our next phase of growth.”

Blackbird partner and co-founder, Niki Scevak, said Sonder has huge growth potential and his firm is attracted to the company’s unique combination of technology innovation, digital delivery, and human support.

“Sonder’s magic is its ever-increasing product ambition and the incredible leadership team at the company. We jumped at the opportunity to be part of the Sonder journey, and we feel very fortunate to be joining Craig and the team as they grow over the coming decade,” he said.

Sonder’s rapid growth has included several recent strategic hires, including seasoned product leader Mindy Eiermann (ex Intuit) as Chief Product Officer and Brad Newton (ex DocuSign APAC GM) as Chief Sales Officer.

The company expects to continue its strong growth as it scales its award-winning wellbeing and safety solution across the corporate, government and higher education sectors.

SEEK Investments Managing Director, Damien Wodak, said “Sonder’s unique, holistic proposition helps organisations reimagine wellbeing support to drive healthier, happier, and more productive employees and students, and to meet the changing needs of today’s hybrid workforce. We are thrilled to be supporting Craig and the Sonder team on the next phase of growth to provide more people with the wellbeing support they need”.

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Lisa Baker is the Editor of International Business News. As the Owner of Need to See IT Publishing, Lisa is an experienced business and technology journalist and publisher.