Quicken raises VC money to match gig workers with hospitality jobs

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Leisure and hospitality workers are leaving work at the highest rates of any industry. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 1 million left the workforce in November 2021 alone. Why? Seasonal, low pay and monotonous work are among the reasons for the hospitality industry’s churn rate as well as a perceived lack of career advancement.

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So what’s a hospitality business to do? Perhaps turn to services like Quicken, a startup that matches workers with hospitality gig contracts. Quik today announced that it has raised $40 million in a Series B financing round led by Tritium Partners, which includes existing investors Album VC, Kickstart, Desert Angels and Revolution Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.

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Jamie Baxter co-founded Quik with Chris Loeffler in 2017. Baxter was previously Technical Director of Risk and Financial Services at Willis Towers Watson, where he oversaw product and software development.

With Quik, Baxter sought to create a platform that connects service industry workers with food and beverage shifts in real time. Quicken uses a matching algorithm that takes into account factors such as distance, the availability of “VIP” workers, and supplies to fill gigs for hospitality businesses including stadiums, senior living facilities and corporate catering.

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“The hospitality industry suffers from a reputation for low retention rates, low pay and poor management and working conditions for decades,” Baxter told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Quick aims to combat the issues of working in the industry and what it means to work in hospitality by creating value for its professionals and offering them a livable salary.”

To sign up for Quicken, workers must complete a profile and view a five-minute virtual orientation. Once they are revised, they receive notifications for open shifts.

“Quick requires incoming professionals to go through an orientation, including one-to-one interviews,” Baxter said. “Prior to providing access to the platform, all Quicken professionals have been certified and verified for experience, professionalism and commitment to service.”

Baxter also says that Quicken uses a two-way, five-star rating system to “ensure consistent quality and credibility among professionals and businesses,” though it’s worth noting that there are similar rating systems on the gig marketplace. have been found to increase prejudice against minority workers,

Booking facility through Kwik’s mobile app. Image credit: Quickie

Quik, similar to startups such as Stint, Flexi, Indeed Flex, Gig, Limber and Baristas on Tap, provide short-term employees to businesses in multiple industries. Advocates of the platforms say they are turning hospitality into a more financially viable profession by increasing job flexibility. But Eater Peace recently found that some employees at hospitality gig startups take home around the local minimum wage and may be forced to take long hours of unpaid commuting. Critics charge that the platforms may leave businesses with low budgets for recruitment and training, encouraging them to replace full-time positions with temporary work.

Some hospitality employers have indicated that they are willing to embrace temporary workers, potentially at the expense of salaried employees. In 2017 and 2018, Marriott and Hilton joined with the Airbnb and TechNet alliance (which includes Uber, Lyft and Taskrabbit) to lobby for a federal bill that would allow jobs to be found through online platforms as an independent contractor. would classify any person.

Baxter pushes against the notion that Quicken is a force for the sick, arguing that it provides workers with “the freedom” to work on their schedules.

“Thousands of business partners across the US rely on Quik to end under-staffing… [We] Solely partner with reputable businesses that are known to treat their employees well, and give professionals the agency to work wherever and whenever they want,” said Baxter. “Thousands of industry professionals have downloaded our app and signed up to work through Quik.”

In the cities where they operate, Quickie workers are paid an average of $9 more than the minimum wage, Baxter said. He also noted that Quickie allows businesses to hire gig workers for traditional off-platform employment at no additional cost, unlike some gig work platforms that charge recruiting and hiring fees.

In any case, demand for Quik’s service seems very strong on the employer side. According to Baxter, after a rough patch during the pandemic—Quick was forced to lay off 70% of the team, and Baxter stopped taking salaries—the last three years saw an astonishing 10,000 in revenue. % has increased. ,

And for better or worse, the gig economy shows no signs of contracting. The Pew Research Center reports that 16% of Americans complete a job through an online gig platform. And Mastercard predicts that the number of global gig workers will increase to 78 million in 2023, up from 43 million in 2018.

Baxter said Quicken is actively working with more than 7,000 businesses in 23 metro areas, and the platform has facilitated more than 500,000 shifts to date.

Quicken’s investors, for one, seem confident in Quik’s long-term trajectory, whether or not it results in the best results for workers. In an emailed statement, David Lack, Managing Partner, Tritium Partners, said: “Quik’s impressive growth and history drive success through its innovative hospitality solutions, even in a particularly challenging one for the industry. Through a few years, it shows that the company has really changed the way people work.”

To date, Arizona-based Quik has raised $69.1 million in capital. The company has a workforce of just over 270, which Baxter says will expand to about 300 before the end of the year.

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