Jobbatical, the Estonia-headquartered job matching site for tech gigs abroad, has raised a $2 million funding round led by Union Square Ventures, and Saul Klein and Robin Klein’s LocalGlobe. Previous investor Smartcap also participated.
Launched in late 2014, the startup is on a mission to build a global marketplace for what it calls “career adventures”. It does this by matching the “skill set and travel aspirations” of tech and startup professionals with companies worldwide who are in search of talent. The site currently lists jobs outside of the typical tech hubs and in so-called emerging tech cities, such as a back-end developer in Hong Kong, a UX researcher in Penang, and a digital marketing manager in Vienna.
To that end, when Karoli Hindricks, co-founder of Jobbatical, first hit on the idea of creating a marketplace for tech and other talent to find a job sabbatical abroad, she wasn’t sure how big the opportunity would be. The site initially pitched ‘short-term jobs with life-changing experiences’ and in turn promised to help employers hire from a pool of skilled people looking to temporarily work in a different country.
That much remains, she told me during a call. However it turns out that Jobbatical is not only resonating with workers who want to take a ‘career break’ or combine work with the experience of living abroad, but is tapping into the changing nature of work itself that is seeing people change jobs (and even careers) more frequently than ever and work is increasingly ephemeral.
A site like Jobbatical also exposes the “lie” implicitly told by both employer and employee: that is that a job is for life, when of course it isn’t, and even if it was, an employee probably has no intention of sticking around indefinitely anyway. Instead, Hindricks says, when both parties are up front about the potentially short or fixed term nature of a hire, the outcome is often more productive and a better experience for both parties.
That’s a sentiment echoed by LocalGlobe’s Saul Klein in a statement: “The world of work is changing fast, and Karoli’s vision of millions of people one day soon taking 7-to-10 ‘Jobbaticals’ over 10 years, instead of working a single job over the same period, is one we wholeheartedly share,” he says.
Meanwhile, in typical job matching fashion, Jobbatical generates revenue by taking a small commission on each successful hire, and plans to launch additional supporting services to help new employees relocate. The company claims to have built a talent pool of 30,000 plus people, which presumably equates to registrations.
However, more substantive, in its first year the startup says more than 1,200 companies across more than 40 countries have used the platform, resulting in over 7,000 job applicants and over 300 successful matches. “We actually change people’s lives,” adds Hindricks.