Recruiting and onboarding has always been a challenge for deskless and hourly workers, and startups have embraced it in recent years. These workers are often in demand due to traditionally high turnover rates, and even then, many still rely on paperwork and video.
Workstream is one of the startups working on a solution to this problem, in its case, a mobile-first hiring and onboarding tool. The company received a $60 million boost from investors in Series B extension funding led by GGV Capital. We’ve profiled Workstream twice over the past two years, when it raised $10 million in 2020 and again in 2021 for its $48 million Series B.
“The last two years have really shown that there is a huge difference in software built for this deskless, hourly worker,” Workstream co-founder and CEO Desmond Lim told TechCrunch. My parents both work by the hour, and I used to run my own restaurant, so I grew up in the place and felt such a dire need for it. ,
As mentioned, many startups are working on solutions to make hiring deskless, hourly and remote workers more easily. Much of this problem was brought out in the open due to COVID, and venture capital investors jumped in to support them.
This year we saw an investment in Remofirst, which is dealing with international hiring; Connecteam, a company that brings together human resource tools; EMI, which developed software to speed up the time taken to fill dozens of frontline worker positions; Flip, a chat app specially designed for frontline workers; AskNicely, a frontline experience app; and SnapShift, a web solution for restaurant staff management. Add to that Blink, ShiftSmart, When I Work, Fountain and Seasoned, which also received funding in the past year.
Lim explained that there are actually many HR tools out there, but Workstream differentiates itself by making its software a mobile-first tool built for deskless workers rather than employers.
“They really are better and have access to software and tools built for them, which is why our software is designed with mobile, texting and their needs in mind,” he said.
Lim said the new investment gives the company a total of more than $120 million in funding and a valuation “close to half a billion dollars”.
Joining GGV Capital in the investment were new and existing investors, including Founders Fund, Cotue, Bond, Basis Set Ventures, CRV, World Innovation Lab and Soma Capital.
Meanwhile, the company is working with more than 170 top quick-service restaurant brands, including Burger King, Dairy Queen, and Jimmy Johns. Workstream’s revenue has grown 10-fold in the past 18 months as its customer base has grown from 1,500 customers in 10,000 stores to more than 4,000 customers across 25,000 locations in 2021. Also, the company has increased its own workforce to 220.
It is also expanding into new verticals outside that region and counts companies such as Marriott International, Ace Hardware, UPS and European Wax Center as customers.
“There are 2.7 billion deskless workers in the world and 70 million in the US,” Lim said. “We are going to expand beyond restaurants into supermarkets, retail, hotels, autos, healthcare and more. With this funding, we will invest in R&D and hiring to return to this strategy and become the first end-to-end software design for the deskless workforce. There are many more products that we can make to serve them.”