Hospitality hiring platform Industry raises $2.3M to expand nationwide

Industry, a job site for the hospitality sector, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding to fuel nationwide expansion, as well as product and team growth.

We originally covered Industry last year when it was still in beta in San Diego with about 300 restaurants signed up. Shortly after, they raised $200,000 in pre-seed funding from local San Diego angel investors.

Industry likens itself to LinkedIn for the restaurant and hotel industry. The platform lets prospective employees in the hospitality industry (like bartenders and chefs) create a profile that uniquely shows off their relevant skills. This can include things like photos of meals they have prepared or even video of them working on the job in a kitchen or behind the bar.

When compared to sites like Craigslist that only let applicants blindly submit a resume, the potential for a personalized platform like Industry becomes clear. Industry also lets employees network with other employees in the industry, with the goal of meeting new contacts or even getting your foot in the door at a new establishment.

The startup is now live in 9 cities across the West Coast — and boasts 30 percent month-over-month on both the employee and employer side of the marketplace. In San Diego, their first city, Industry now has about 20 percent of the entire hospitality market (which totals ~6,000 restaurants) on its platform.

Industry has onboarded some impressive clients, like Disney and MGM. Cody Barbo, co-founder and CEO of Industry, explained that even high-profile hospitality groups like MGM still experience trouble hiring solid candidates — something Industry helps them with.

Another interesting use — the casting agency for Hell’s Kitchen and Top Chef has started using Industry to find chefs to appear on their reality shows.

Industry originally used a subscription model to charge employers, but realized this model resulted in too much churn — especially in an industry that was as seasonal as the hospitality industry. Many restaurants and bars only need to hire in the summer, and would end up canceling their subscription after the hiring rush was over.

So Industry came up with a creative way to charge its customers — it’s called “pay per qualified applicant.” Instead of a set monthly fee, the startup charges businesses for each qualified applicant that applies for a position. A business will set a budget for a position (i.e. $50 for a bartender) and Industry creates a price for each application depending on how important the position is for a business. So they may charge $3 per applicant for a waiter position but $30 per applicant for an executive chef position.