Founded in August 2011, Shiftgig has created an online professional networking community to bring together jobseekers and employers. Shiftgig makes it easy for job candidates and hiring managers of restaurants, bars, hotels, nightclubs, and other service industries, to search and find one another, exchange relevant information, set up interviews, and fill open positions. Shiftgig saves employers time and money and delivers high-quality candidates. They aim to become “The LinkedIn of the Service Industry.”
PRODUCT/SERVICE: Jobseekers in the service industry (bartenders, concierges, cooks, dishwashers, executive chefs, front desk clerks, general managers, hostesses, servers, etc.) create personal profiles on Shiftgig’s website. In addition to employment history, they may include photos, social media statistics, and reviews. The reputation feature allows peers and former employers to rate an employee’s skills and job performance. Shiftgig’s proprietary algorithm creates a “Fit Score” which evaluates how well a jobseeker’s profile matches a job description. The hiring process is simple. Employers find candidates via job postings and advanced search functions. The hiring manager searches by job title, finds a potential match, and clicks “interview.” The candidate responds via “messages” to set up an in-person interview.
VALUE PROPOSITION: Shiftgig offers the following value propositions: employers automatically receive matches which are listed in order of relevance; employers can use advanced features to search and find qualified candidates and request an interview; Shiftgig syndicates job posting to more than 20 job boards or portals and employers can re-post to social media sites. Thus, an employer’s job posting can be seen by millions of candidates; jobseekers automatically receive alerts of job postings that are a match for them and they can choose to receive alerts from their favorite companies; Shiftgig shortens and improves the hiring process by offering more comprehensive information on job candidates, enhanced social media tools, and matching; Shiftgig’s industry deals help local companies attract customers and generate business on the slow nights of the week; the “Bullpen Concierge” service helps employers hire for a one-time gig; Shiftgig attracts the largest number of qualified candidates in the service industry within every geographical area of its operation.
MARKET SIZE: The hospitality, retail, and restaurant industries are comprised of roughly 950,000 restaurants, tens of thousands of hotels, two million potential employers, and 40 million potential job candidates. Turnover is high in the service industry ranging between 80% and 100% annually. Currently, Shiftgig operates in 9 cities (Atlanta, Chicago, D.C., Houston, LA, Miami, Minneapolis, NY, Philadelphia) and plans to expand into other cities.
REVENUE MODEL: Shiftgig uses a freemium revenue model and basic features will always be free. They will launch a premium subscription model for employers later in 2013. Employers are already asking for upscale features such as advanced messaging. In addition, other possible sources of revenue include an annual membership fee and selective ads.
MANAGEMENT TEAM: Eddie Lou, founder/CEO is a serial entrepreneur. He launched his first startup, PlanetHVAC, in 1999 and raised $2MM in capital. Subsequently, he became a general partner with OCA Ventures for 10 years. Jeff Pieta is co-founder and President of Shiftgig. Prior to joining Shiftgig, he was the founder/CEO of AIS, a technology firm which continues to serve hundreds of clients. Sean Casey is co-founder/CTO of Shiftgig and co-founder/COO for AIS. Shiftgig has 12 full-time employees: 7 in software development and 5 in internet marketing and business development.
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: Shiftgig has the following competitive advantages: first-mover advantage with an online employment community of close to 200,000 jobseekers and 6000 employers in the service industry; Shiftgig serves blue-collar workers whereas LinkedIn, Monster, and Career Builder target the white-collar job market; Shiftgig personal profiles contain more relevant information than a resume; Shiftgig’s proprietary algorithm rates the fitness of job candidates and automatically matches them with job openings.
PROOF OF CONCEPT: Shiftgig has attracted over 200,000 users who have completed personal profiles online. In 2013, they will attempt to validate their revenue model and monetize the traffic to their website.
CUSTOMER/USERS: Currently, Shiftgig has approximately 200,000 job candidates, 6000 prospective employers, 1585 active job postings, and a presence in 9 cities. Growth is accelerating as January 2013 was its best month ever. Clients include the Embassy Suites, Hard Rock Hotel, Levy Restaurants, and the Ritz Carlton. Shiftgig expects to attract over 1 million users and 10,000 new companies in 2013. They plan to monetize later in the year.
STRATEGIC PARTNERS: Shiftgig has numerous strategic partnerships with other portals and websites to distribute their job postings.
FUNDING: Shiftgig raised $3 million in a Series A round from I2A, Fire Starter, Red Barn, Brian Spaly (CEO of Trunk Club), Ken Pelletier (former CTO of Groupon), Sam Yagan (CEO of Match.com), and Jumpstart Ventures. The round was oversubscribed. They’re using the money to add more software features, improve the user experience, hire talent, and expand to more market verticals and cities. Currently, their focus is on functional expansion and improvement of the customer experience. They expect the capital to last 12 to 18 months.
SUMMARY: Shiftgig has moved quickly and gained significant traction by attracting over 200,000 jobseekers and 6000 prospective employers, launching operations in 9 cities, and raising $3MM in capital. Their big challenge in 2013 will be to prove their revenue model and monetize the traffic to their website.