Fountain Raises $23 Million as Gig Economy Percolates

Commercial Kitchen

Weeks after Uber focused a whiff of attention on gig technology by launching a pilot of its Uber Works platform in Chicago, the space continues to simmer with fresh funding and new entrants.

We say a “whiff” of attention because the continued growth of gig technology and services has become an accepted piece of the HCM technology market. According to Cornell University, the number of gig workers has “increased across most measures” over the last 20 years. Reporting on Uber Works zeroed in on the travails of Uber itself, but a number of investors and startups continue to pursue a piece of the gig technology market.

Weeks after the launch of Uber Works in Chicago, the gig technology space continues to simmer with fresh funding and new entrants. #HR #HRTech Click To Tweet

Fountain—a recruiting platform that targets gig and hourly service workers—just closed a $23 million Series B round. Venture firm DCM, which led the round, was joined by 51job and existing investors including Origin Ventures and Uncork Capital. Fountain said it will use the money to accelerate product development and expand its reach across businesses within the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Founded in 2015, Fountain was specifically designed to handle high-volume, quick-turn-around and high-turnover recruiting for food-beverage, hospitality and on-demand services firms. Among its customers are Safeway, Lime, Wag, and a number of Taco Bell franchisees. The company says more than 1 million people apply for around 150,000 jobs on its platform each month.

On top of its performance, investors obviously like the way Fountain is run. DCM Partner Kyle Lui called the company “exceptionally capital efficient.”

New Gig Platform

Separately, New Jersey-based Jobility, a new entrant to the gig-technology market, launched a matching engine that connects businesses that need to fill short-term positions with vetted and verified workers.

Employers post openings on Jobility for free, then pay a flat fee once they accept a match. Workers and employers are matched based on a number of attributes, including skills, location, hours and rates. The company pre-screens all candidates with basic background checks, and workers are paid when their gig is complete.

Founder and CEO Parmi Cheema said Jobility also identifies trends and notifies both types of users of availability and suggested market rates. He’s currently targeting customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut but plans a national and international rollout. 

Gig Economy Growth

When announcing Fountain’s funding, CEO Keith Ryu made observations that apply to both his company and Jobility: “Recruiting workers from this group is fundamentally different than recruiting for your corporate roles,” he said. “Many of these employees are holding down two or three jobs and need an easy, automated and mobile way to apply and interview for a new job.” In addition, he noted, “90 percent of this population aren’t on LinkedIn, and 40 percent are unresponsive after completing an application.”

Continued activity in the sector isn’t surprising. Fountain’s in line with other sources when it said the gig and freelance economy is growing three times faster than the rest of the workforce. It estimates 43 percent of workers will be accepting gigs by 2020.

Sign up for our newsletter here.

Image: iStock