Planday is another startup that wants to help companies wean themselves off the use of pen and paper and those damn Excel spreadsheets. It offers a cloud-based “shift planning” solution for various types of businesses that employ a flexible workforce, such as restaurants, hotels, stores, call centers and gyms.
The Danish company has just closed a $3.75 million funding round from Nordic VC Creandum, an early backer of music streaming service Spotify, amongst many other investments. Money the startup will use to expand beyond its home country, with the UK up first — where it’s currently hiring — and the U.S. to follow next year.
It also appears to be a quintessentially European type of investment. Planday is, as I understand it, already profitable and is the kind of B2B startup that has less trouble attracting VC compared to pure consumer plays this side of the pond. The investment isn’t to test the market with an untried idea, as such, but to step on the gas now that the startup has validated its model.
Citing its greatest competitor as “pen and paper, spreadsheets and calculators,” Planday is another classic SaaS play, this time with an online employee scheduling solution designed to be versatile enough for any type of business relying on flexible labour.
“Our analysis shows that more than 80% of the small and medium sized businesses rely on these manual and time consuming solutions,” says co-founder Christian Brondum. “However, more and more businesses are changing to modern SaaS software like Planday. Over the next five years we foresee a landslide from manual solutions to SaaS solutions.”
The software automates and moves online the management of staffing requirements, employees, work-hour regulations and labor costs, enabling a business to optimise their worker schedule and for managers, employees and colleagues to be able to communicate through its web and mobile apps.
One neat feature of Planday is that employees can handle “shift trading” themselves, with the app keeping everyone updated on any changes to the schedule, no matter where they are via the cloud. Anybody who has ever tried to swap shifts last-minute — spare a thought for TC’s weekend news writers and editors — will know how cumbersome this process can be.
“Moving online you will find a great number of employee scheduling solutions. However, most of our competitors have basically put the old-fashioned whiteboard or manual spreadsheet methodologies online, making it look like a clever solution,” adds Brondum. “But the fact is that those solutions don’t solve the full range of day to day challenges in relation to both planning, execution and follow-up, and in the end, managers don’t save either time or money on administrative tasks.”
By moving shift planning to the cloud, along with related HR, communication and payroll tasks, managers save time and money, while Brondum says employees are “more satisfied because they have full overview of their shifts, swap-requests, pay slips, messages and colleagues -– right on their smart phone.”
That sounds like progress to me.