Hourly workers make up about 55% of the total workforce, but when it comes to technology built for the world of work, so-called knowledge workers dominate the space. On November 1st, a company offering apps specifically designed for the former needs announced a large funding round. It shows the evolving outlook for business software and the increasing success of hourly and shift workers.
When I Work is a sign-up for shifts of hourly workers employed by companies, shift exchanges with colleagues, notifications to management and others when they cannot enter the shift, etc. It’s a widely used messaging platform that enables you. The company has recently completed a $ 200 million round of funding. This money will be used for business development and product expansion.
The funding this time comes from a single investor, Bain Capital, specifically its Tech Opportunities Fund, both of which haven’t disclosed their valuations, but “majority.” “Growth investment”, suggesting about 400 million dollars (about 45.1 billion yen). When I Work’s profitability has been strong and has been going on since June 2020, CEO Martin Hartshorne said in an interview. Notable given the seriousness of life and economic uncertainty in a pandemic vortex. The steady growth secured by the company after raising about $ 24 million (about 2.5 billion yen) 11 years ago led to the reason for this funding.
“We have entered a new phase,” he said, revealing that the current growth rate is “over 35%” and that it is making a profit. “Customers love the product and the culture is really good. It’s time to get something great and take on a new stage.”
Investors to date include Arthur Ventures, Drive Capital, Greycroft and High Alpha.
Founded in Minneapolis in 2010, When I Work offers small business and well-known franchises (Dunkin’, Ace Hardware, Ben & Jerry’s, Kenneth Cole[ Kenneth Cole]etc.), and is used by about 10 million hourly workers in about 200,000 businesses in the United States. Part of that growth is due in particular to changing market needs. While some retailers have been forced to close their businesses and some have closed completely, other sectors such as healthcare have gained momentum.
Hartshorne noted that in the second quarter of 2021, the company built a shift-based system as a “spin-up of vaccination operations” and acquired more than 50 customers. The company plans to continue to strengthen its opportunities in the United States and start expanding into other markets with international expansion.
As for the app itself, its existence has been recognized mainly in the provision of tools to facilitate communication with shift-based and hourly staff. The characteristics of these people‘s working hours are that it is unlikely that everyone is working at the same time during the meeting time, the schedule during work may fluctuate, depending on customer traffic and the employee’s own situation. There is also an aspect that there are schedules that need to be shifted.
As the name implies, When I Work’s most used features are shift management and team communication, addressing the largest and most common productivity challenges for workers in this segment. But over time, the company has leveraged its audience and engagement to add other services, such as payroll management facilitation (interconnection with more specialized payroll software), labor reports and analytics. This part is expected to continue as an autonomous growth and perhaps as a growth in the form of acquisitions.
Software for the world of work has focused primarily on so-called knowledge workers for the last 10 to 20 years. Equipped with computers and smartphones and tied to work that relies on software and apps, this segment has naturally adapted to more software tools, but rather only specialized over time. Yes, it corresponds to a specific industry or use case.
However, the digital transformation and increasing use of smartphones among the general public are expanding the range of products and use cases for software in the workplace and offering a number of new opportunities that will lead to the use of a wider range of workers. .. Overall, people are shifting towards using apps and other digital products in their daily non-work life, and they are also looking for tools to make their work easier. And I’m ready to accept it.
For When I Work, employees install the app on their smartphones. This shows that bringing in personally owned devices tends to be even stronger among workers in this category than knowledge workers (the login method is similar to other work apps and you are working). Based on company and own mobile number and email information). According to Hartshorne, most of the growth is due to word-of-mouth, and employees who have used the company’s app in their previous jobs are encouraging new employers to implement it.
But given its broader trends, it’s not surprising that there are competitors. There are also companies that have yet to reach that level, but are dealing with workers in the same segment and have the potential to become competitors. Among them are the following companies. Homebase raised $ 71 million in early 2021, Workiz specializing in home services professionals, now hiring and registering for less than full-time employee shifts Fountain and Wonolo, WorkWhile, now functioning as a productivity platform for frontline workers, Yoobic, Square in 2021 Crew, which was first acquired, Workplace, which currently has 7 million paying users, and Justworks, which applied for listing in September. The fact that some of these target the same demographic but have different capabilities presents something like a When I Work roadmap, and also shows how it can be extended. There is.
Phil Meicler, managing director of Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, said When I Work’s engagement makes the company’s app more appealing in this big field. He says he is. When I Work is an app that 85% of users log in to and use at least once a week.
“In today‘s modern workforce, there is no other solution that delivers such clear productivity and strong employee engagement.” Mr. Meikler continued, noting that the labor shortage in the hourly labor sector has become more and more serious these days. “Doing it on a large scale and efficiently can be difficult to do. The combination of growth and profitability was at the core of why we had high expectations for When I Work.”
He added that Bain “shares Martin (Hartshorne)’s vision” with the aim of continuing to expand the HR suite. “The purpose is to build products through the eyes of employees, what else they use and how we can expand to make their lives easier. And When I Work has a great foundation for scheduling. The company has its own opportunity to grow autonomously and through mergers and acquisitions. “
Image credit: Dunkin’
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