You can’t turn on your local news or pick up a newspaper, and not come across a story about how great the economy is right now. Unemployment numbers are at an all-time low and the stock market has been on a great run for many years.
However, for 78 million hourly workers in America, many of whom are working on the front-lines across all industries, the economic expansion has still fallen short. Although they are the engines driving our economy, their problems are often overlooked. How they have to juggle multiple jobs to make ends meet. How the notion of job flexibility barely exists in their lives. And how very little innovation has been introduced to enrich their quality of life.
Before we started Wonolo, our founding team decided to do as many front-line jobs as we could to really understand the pain points of hourly workers and companies. We worked in warehouses sorting items for Coca-Cola. We delivered Coca-Cola products and merchandised shelves at retail stores like Walmart. To this day, everyone at Wonolo still does these jobs on a regular basis. Just a few weeks ago, my co-founder AJ worked nearby the San Francisco airport packaging meals for an airline while I delivered groceries to elderly customers in Pleasanton.
What really stood out to us as we worked these jobs was the striking disconnect between the managers who could not fill shifts fast enough, and the many underemployed workers who wanted more work. There is a massive amount of inefficiency in the hourly labor market, from the life-cycle of recruiting workers to the way jobs are dispatched, matched, scheduled, and paid.
This inefficiency eradicates many opportunities to make a living for workers, and costs millions of dollars in wasted time and unfulfilled customer expectations for companies. Unfortunately, the $145 billion traditional staffing industry that is supposed to address this problem has not changed the way it does business in decades, operating via legacy software, phone calls, pen, and paper.
So, we set out to solve this problem. Wonolo was born with the dream of helping millions of people pick up more work in the most efficient way. Through a mix of technology, data, and community-building, we connect people to job opportunities while solving a complex staffing problem for companies. Our mobile app makes it easy for workers (we call them “Wonoloers”) to find jobs and get paid quickly. Our web interface makes it easy for companies to find, match, dispatch, and pay Wonoloers. Our community programs exist to help Wonoloers navigate the world of hourly work and benefits. Our mission is to help Wonoloers live better lives.
Today, we are excited to announce that Sequoia Capital is leading Wonolo’s Series B funding. Our new board member, Sequoia partner Jess Lee, shares our belief that there is a better way to match workers with companies and impact millions of people. Jess and the Sequoia team will join our existing investors, including PivotNorth, Crunchfund, Cendana, Base10, and Duke University.
As an immigrant to this great nation, barely speaking a word of English when I first arrived alone, I struggled with finding a job in my early years. At that time, I could have never imagined the privilege and honor of helping to tackle this problem, while making a difference in so many people’s lives. While it has not always been an easy road, I am so proud of how far our team has come over the last four years. I am grateful to the Wonolo team for their commitment every day during the ups and downs of this journey. I am thankful to our customers who trust us to connect them to Wonoloers to staff the jobs they need. Finally, our work would be nothing without the amazing Wonoloers who pride themselves on working hard at each and every job. The Wonolo team thanks you, and we look forward to meeting more of you on the front lines.
To see the glimpse of what the future holds, I would love for you to please take a look at how Wonolo changes lives.