LinkedIn, now with over 830 million users, has established itself as the hub of the professional worker world: a social network optimized for people in science and related industries who are looking for jobs or hiring to fill vacancies; for people to communicate with others in their profession; and for those who think about the world of work and professional development.
Today, a startup called JobGet announces $52 million to fund its ambition to create a similar service center for a related, but in fact completely different, sector of the labor market: salaried or hourly workers.
Tailor-made for them, JobGet provides them with job listings and the ability to connect with others doing similar jobs; access for recruiters to identify vacancies they may have; and in the future more tools such as training and development to help them in their own careers.
“Our ultimate goal is to be home to an hourly workforce,” said CEO and co-founder Tony Liu,not only finding a job, but also career growth, connection with your community and much more.”
The Series B funding comes in the form of $40 million in equity and another $12 million in venture debt. JAZZ Venture Partners and Sanabil Investments are jointly leading the round, with Pillar VC and unnamed others also participating. Liu said in an interview that the purpose of the debt is to “give us a choice” for potential partnerships and acquisitions, while the capital will be used to hire more talent and organically create a suite of products.
Currently, many countries, including the United States, where JobGet operates, are teetering on the brink of recession and fighting inflation, two factors that could eventually lead to higher unemployment among hourly workers. Liu believes that even if this happened (this not yet), regardless of the state of affairs, there would be a need for a platform like JobGet.
“The recession could be bilateral,” he said. “It doesn’t matter which way the market goes because we always see people looking for work or employers looking to hire. For us, we have not yet seen the impact on the market.”
However, there are a large number of vacancies that have yet to be filled. 10 million vacancies; and even if unemployment is on the decline, 6 million American workers are still unemployed.
JobGet seems to have already made some progress in reaching out to hourly workers looking for work and employers looking to hire them. Its mobile app has been downloaded 2 million times (without disclosing active users) and another 10 million downloads from the website. Liu said. Meanwhile, the number of companies posting on the site is now 50,000, up from 1,000 three years ago when the startup first opened for business. The list of companies includes Home Depot, California Pizza Kitchen, Showcase Cinemas and Taco Bell.
Conversations between organizations and individuals on the platform have tripled over the past year to 300,000, and more by email.
Relatively speaking, these figures are just a drop in the ocean for the total number of people working in shifts. In the US alone, that number exceeds 83 million, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Liu came up with the concept of JobGet in much the same way that many ideas are hatched: from direct experience. In his case, his family emigrated to Canada from China, and he grew up in what he describes as an “immigrant working-class family.”
Basically, the kinds of jobs his parents could get were limited by their language skills, and his mother ended up working in the kitchen as a cook. Growing up on a different trajectory where he was exposed to different demographics, Liu wondered why his mother’s job prospects and the way she looked for work—often personally moving from place to place and filling out forms—wasn’t more like others workers in paid occupations were looking for work.
The differences between these two work demographics don’t end there, of course, but one of the positive outcomes of all our technological progress has been the ability of some entrepreneurs to identify these gaps; understand that just because you’re a low-paid shift worker doesn’t mean you don’t deserve or expect good things either; and build to meet that need. And that’s what JobGet is trying to do here as well.
“We’re trying to take a human-centered approach,” Liu said.
The company is currently actively recruiting and has recently hired several exciting employees in leadership roles, including Ryan Eberhard, former CPO at ZipRecruiter, current president; as well as Louise Cartwright, former VP of Human Resources at Headspace, has joined a similar position at JobGet.
The company is still in its infancy both in terms of the larger product roadmap and what it is doing with its business model. Currently, companies pay for job listings, and this seems to be the main source of income, while there are no plans for advertising or paid memberships, the other two areas where LinkedIn is monetized.
It also raises the question of why we need “LinkedIn for hourly workers” when LinkedIn already provides quite a few services targeted at these users.
Liu said he thinks LinkedIn is perhaps “unnecessarily complicated” for the world of shift work. “It’s really more white-collar oriented,” he added. As an example, he cited an application for a dishwasher job that “had so many questions. It’s just too disconnected.” Others, such as Facebook, have also tried to do more in this direction; and indeed Workplace, a working version of Facebook designed for businesses with large numbers of shift workers; potentially lays the groundwork for serving this demographic. But it looks like he has many other problems to solve, Liu said.
This leaves room for a new player that JobGet hopes to be.
“We are excited to continue to support the explosive growth of JobGet,” said Zach Lynch, Managing Partner at JAZZ Venture Partners. “The company has strengthened its leadership team with a wealth of experience that will accelerate their efforts to transform the job search experience for hourly workers.”
Credit: techcrunch.com /