Meet Side, a French startup that until recently was called WeSlash. Side is a marketplace for short-term jobs. Companies may need a few extra hands for a few days or weeks, and students may want to work on the side to make a bit of money or gain experience — Side fills this need and raised $1.5 million (€1.3 million) from Connect Ventures, Fly Ventures, Kima Ventures and TheFamily.
“We make it much simpler to seek a job that you’re going to be able to do while studying,” co-founder and CEO Pierre Mugnier told me. “As for companies, we give them access to students who are available and can legally work.”
Think about it as a sort of “staffing-as-a-service” startup. If you have a big product launch coming up or you want to start a newsletter, you may not want to hire someone full time.
And yet, Side isn’t a typical job board or temp agency. Students on Side are freelancers. Companies hire freelancers for a specific job. And Side facilitates all that.
Let’s say you’re a student. Side helps you register to become a self-employed person. After that, Side handles all the administrative tasks — billing clients, collecting payments and paying you. The company also works with Axa for a public liability insurance for all students. The startup takes a 20 percent cut.
More importantly, Side makes sure that you get paid for what you actually do. “Students get paid for every hour of work, not by task,” Mugnier said. “This way, we can protect students so that they don’t work for nothing.”
The typical salary is €15 per hour ($16.74). After Side’s cut, students end up with €12 per hour ($13.39). Many jobs require you to work 5 to 10 hours a week. So you won’t get rich on Side, but it could be an alternative to being a cashier in a supermarket.
A few startups rely on Side to increase their workforce, such as Uber, Doctolib, Deliveroo, Foodora or Drivy. Bigger companies, such as Sodexo or Caisse d’Epargne, also work with Side.
Side is available in France and the U.K; 10,000 students have registered so far, and 300 companies have tried Side. Eventually, Side wants to optimize its platform so a company can start working with a student in 5 minutes.
But the end game is even more ambitious. Right now, many students in Paris deliver food on restaurant delivery platforms, such as Deliveroo and Foodora. Mugnier told me that students should be able to find jobs that are as flexible as becoming a Deliveroo rider, but for all sorts of jobs.