Qwick raises VC money to match gig workers with hospitality jobs • TechCrunch


Leisure and hospitality workers take off The highest rates of any industry. About 1 million people left the workforce in November 2021 alone, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. why? Seasonality, low wages and monotony work are among the reasons for the rate of disruption in the hospitality industry, as well as a noticeable lack of career advancement.

So what should hospitality companies do? Maybe turn into services like kiwikIt is a startup that matches workers with contracts for hospitality services. Qwick announced today that it has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round led by Tritium Partners, with the participation of existing investors Album VC, Kickstart, Desert Angels and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.

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

With Qwick, Baxter sought to build a platform that connects service industry workers with real-time food and beverage transformations. Qwick uses a matching algorithm that takes into account factors such as distance, availability of “VIP” workers and catering to fill trolleys for hospitality companies, including stadiums, senior living facilities and corporate catering.

“The hospitality industry has been plagued with a reputation for low retention rates, low wages, poor management and working conditions for decades,” Baxter told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Qwick aims to combat labor issues in the industry and reshape what it means to work in the hospitality industry by creating value for its professionals and giving them a living wage.”

To sign up for Qwick, workers must complete a profile and watch a five-minute virtual orientation. Once they have been screened, they receive notifications about open shifts.

“Qwick requires incoming professionals to go through an orientation that includes a one-on-one interview,” Baxter said. “Before granting access to the platform, all Qwick professionals have been certified and screened for expertise, professionalism and commitment to service.”

Baxter also says that Qwick uses a two-way, five-star rating system to “ensure continued quality and reliability among professionals and businesses,” although it should be noted that similar rating systems in financial services markets have been found to exacerbate prejudices against minority workers,

Book gigs through the Qwick mobile app. Image credits: kiwik

Qwick is similar to startups like Stint, Flexy, Fact Flex, Gig, Limber, and Baristas on Tap, which provide short-term workers to companies across a number of industries. Advocates of the platforms say they are making hospitality a more financially viable profession by increasing business flexibility. But the Recently The Eater article found that some workers at startup hospitality companies are taking home the local minimum wage and may have to take long unpaid trips. Critics claim the platforms can leave companies with a lower budget for hiring and training, encouraging them to replace full-time jobs with temporary work.

Some hospitality employers have indicated that they are willing to embrace temporary workers at the expense of salaried employees. In 2017 and 2018, Marriott and Hilton join With Airbnb and the TechNet coalition (which includes Uber, Lyft and Taskrabbit) to lobby for a federal bill that would classify anyone who finds work through an online platform as an independent contractor.

Baxter rejects the notion that Kwik is a sick force, arguing that it provides workers with “freedom” to work on their own schedule.

“Thousands of business partners across the United States depend on Qwick to end the staff shortage… [We] “Only engage with reputable companies that are known to treat their employees well, and give professionals agency to work wherever and whenever they want,” Baxter said. “Hundreds of thousands of industry professionals have downloaded our app and signed up for shifts through Qwick.”

Baxter added that Qwick workers are paid an average of $9 above the minimum wage in the cities where they work. He also noted that Qwick allows companies to hire gig workers for traditional off-platform recruitment at no additional cost, unlike some job platforms that charge recruitment and hiring fees.

In any case, the demand for Qwick’s service appears to be very strong on the part of the employer. After a rough patch during the pandemic — Kwik was forced to lay off 70% of the team, and Baxter stopped receiving his salary — the business has rebounded more than once, with revenue growing a staggering 10,000% over the past three years, according to Baxter.

For better or for worse, the gig economy shows no signs of deflation. Pew Research Center Reports That 16% of Americans have completed a job via an online gig platform. and MasterCard Expect The number of temporary workers globally will rise to 78 million in 2023, up from 43 million in 2018.

Baxter added that Qwick actively works with more than 7,000 companies across 23 metro areas, and the platform has facilitated more than 500,000 shifts to date.

Qwick’s investors, for example, seem confident in Qwick’s long-term trajectory, whether or not it will produce the best results for workers. David Lack, Managing Partner at Tritium Partners, said in an emailed statement: “Qwick’s impressive growth and history of achieving success with an innovative hospitality solution, even during the industry’s few particularly challenging years, indicates that the company has truly changed the way we do business. People. “

To date, the Arizona-based Qwick has raised $69.1 million in capital. The company has just over 270 employees, and Baxter says it will expand to about 300 before the end of the year.

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