Apprentice finalist launches new tech start-up

22 March 2017

  • Birmingham businessman Nick Holzherr reboots HR software space promising to tackle ‘manual and disconnected’ processes for small and medium sized businesses
  • The Aston business graduate took part in series eight of BBC’s The Apprentice
  • Nick has already launched successful online food app Whisk and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Aston University

Lord Sugar may regret ‘firing’ one Aston graduate now he has launched a new tech start-up unveiling a new approach to HR software in the UK.

Nick Holzherr, awarded an honorary doctorate from Aston in summer 2016, has launched Air – a platform designed to help SMEs rid themselves of time consuming admin and make it easy to deploy workplace-improving practices. Air offers various HR features like a central employee directory, time off booking, smart notifications and iOS and Android apps so businesses can manage HR on the go.

Nick studied International Business and Modern Languages in 2009 before launching multiple successful business ventures – including online recipe app Whisk which has raised $2m and has expanded internationally. He first pitched the idea for the app to Lord Sugar in the final of series eight of BBC’s The Apprentice – and has since been featured in leading publications including Newsweek, The Guardian, The Telegraph, and BBC News Online.

Nick Holzherr, CEO of Air, said:“Managing HR is too hard right now - most processes are manual and different processes or software usually don’t link together. Small business owners spend an average of four days each month battling internal admin (source here) and even then, most business owners don’t have access to basic tools that can help them manage their people and culture better.”

“Air is an HR platform that grows as your business grows. You can add additional HR features into your workflow, each time without setting up yet another software system. Key is that each app you add integrates seamlessly with every other app on Air.

“20 years ago people used bloated enterprise software platforms that were hard to use. They had every feature you could want, but navigating to just the essential features was cumbersome. Then ten years ago the trend was that every feature became a separate app delivered by a different company. Each app was good, but business owners suddenly had to log into five or 10 different services -- an inefficient and tiresome process. With HR in particular, this problem is exacerbated because there’s such a big foundation of personnel data that’s necessary for most tasks. The Hub and Spoke model offers a better future, I think.”

More than 100 companies have used the alpha version of the platform already, and Nick plans to allow Air customers to vote for what apps his team should build next.

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Photos of Nick