Jobaline Raises $7M to Take Hourly Labor Recruiting Market National

5/28/14Follow @bromano

In a testament to its success in a large corner of the employment market that has been underserved by technology providers, Jobaline is raising a substantial round of fresh capital.

The Kirkland, WA, company has raised $7 million in Series B funding for a nationwide expansion of its mobile, bi-lingual marketplace for recruiting hourly workers. The round was led by a new investor, Trilogy Equity Partners, with participation from Founders Co-op, and returning backers Madrona Venture Group and Rudy Gadre, an angel investor and Founders Co-op partner.

The new funding comes just eight months after Jobaline closed its $4.3 million Series A, which is sooner than co-founder and CEO Luis Salazar anticipated. Customer demand is driving the rapid pace, he says. That includes medium and large hotel, restaurant, and retail chains with locations in cities across the country. They were happy using Jobaline in its initial markets of Seattle, San Francisco, and Miami, FL, Salazar says, but they wanted to be able to use the online recruiting tool for their operations in other cities as well.

“The traction was faster than what we expected, which is always good,” he says. “That is forcing us to go national way faster than we planned.”

Jobaline already has expanded to the Portland, OR, area; Houston and Dallas, TX; Nashville, TN; and the New York City region. By December, Salazar says the company will be in the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas.

The company has 15 employees and plans to add at least a dozen more, divided between its national sales and engineering teams. The latter is based here.

Salazar

Salazar

“Seattle is a very good market to hire seasoned engineers, and we’re taking advantage of that,” Salazar says.

Jobaline brings several business and technology innovations to bear on the costly, time-consuming process of hiring hourly workers, ultimately delivering to employers qualified, pre-screened candidates.

The system allows people to apply for jobs in English or Spanish, using nothing but a mobile phone. It verifies names, addresses, and other basic information against public records; performs a basic skills assessment; and conducts automated pre-screening interviews. As I reported last year, an applicant’s recorded answers to interview questions can even be analyzed to determine if an applicant’s voice might be better suited for a position in customer service or sales.

Jobaline has handled more than 400,000 applications.

Whereas online job boards and search services charge based on each job posting or each click, Jobaline charges per qualified lead—with its employer customers defining what qualified means for each job.

Those leads—and the efficiency with which they’re delivered to employers, often replacing labor-intensive and unrewarding tasks for recruiters—have proven valuable enough that Jobaline has been able to raise its prices, Salazar says. It now charges $4.95 per lead.

Since beginning operations last summer, Salazar has been struck by “the lack of awareness in large companies of how much money is wasted” in the hourly labor recruiting process. He likens it to the early days of online marketing, when suddenly companies had data to determine which marketing channels were working, and which were not.

“That is where the recruiting world is right now,” he says.

Eventually, Jobaline may move to an auction system to price its leads, which would reflect for the differences in supply and demand for various job categories and cities. A qualified welder may be much harder to find than a hotel housekeeper, for example.

“Right now, we are collecting data to inform algorithms later,” Salazar says. “Eventually, the system will adjust for supply and demand and the price per lead will respond to the dynamics of the market.”

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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