Shiftgig raises $10M entirely from Chicago investors to build a LinkedIn for service jobs

by Garrett Reim
November 17, 2014
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Pictured above: The Shiftgig team celebrating over 1 million registered members
 
Shiftgig, an online job finding network for service workers, has just raised a $10 million round of investment. Shiftgig has over 1 million registered members and 25,000 businesses using its site. This latest round of funding comes entirely from Chicago-based investors, led by The Garland Funds with participation from KGC Capital, Chicago Ventures, DRW Ventures, Firestarter Fund, and Corazon Capital.
 
In contrast to LinkedIn’s professional focus, Shiftgig concentrates entirely on the service industries. Jobs listed on the site vary from full-time to part-time to temporary. Restaurant jobs, like line cook, waitress and dishwasher, are common, but the site also lists hospitality and retail jobs. 
 
“There are lots of places for professional jobs, not a lot of places for hourly jobs,” said co-founder and CEO Eddie Lou.
 
The recruiting industry has long focused on hiring for professional positions, where the margins are much higher, however, given the vast size of the service industry, there should be money to be made there too. 
 
“Service industry employees are around 60 million in the U.S.,” said Lou. “There’s really no great place to find these jobs.”
 
When you add in the hourly workers not part of the service industry that number grows even larger. Unsurprisingly, Shiftgig has competition. Workpop, a Los Angeles-based startup raised $7 million in September to build a job-listing site for hourly workers.
 
Probably because the margins on recruiting individual service workers are lower, Shiftgig doesn’t charge businesses to post positions on its site. Shiftgig charges for an on demand hiring feature, and said on its website it has plans in the future to charge for premium features like sponsored job listings and background checks. 
 
“[The freemium model] it’s an easy way for businesses to come on board. Whenever you put up a paywall less people will come,” said Lou. “We wanted to get to a certain size before we start charging.”
 
Before earning revenue from those possible premium services, Shiftgig will be using its latest round of capital to expand its sales and operations teams, reinvesting in improving its job board and expand to new cities.
 
Need an extra bartender for your event tonight? The site also has an on demand temporary job hiring feature, called WorkNow. For a fee businesses can hire service workers for temporary gigs from Shiftgig’s network. WorkNow is also a mobile app that notifies prospective temporary workers of possible gigs and can function as a time card.
 
Except for websites like Craigslists, a focus on temporary work is not common. Temporary work is often paid for off the books and on a cash basis because it doesn’t usually yield enough revenue for businesses to justify anything more formal. WorkNow adds more efficiency and formality to this previously neglected part of the service sector.
 
Shiftgig previously raised a $3 million round in November 2012.
 
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