Job Today bags $20M to grow its service industry hiring app in Europe and beyond

Accel-backed Job Today has pulled in a $20 million Series B round, less than a year after it raised its $10M Series A. The new round is led by Flint Capital, with participation from existing investors investors Accel Partners, Mangrove Capital, and Felix Capital.

Also investing three European media companies, two in markets where Job Today’s app is already available — Astremedia (Spain) and Channel 4 (UK) — and a third in a market it’s preparing to launch soon: German Media Pool VC.

A US launch for Job Today is also on the cards, although there’s no firm timeframe — and no media in partner in place as yet.

The in Luxembourg-based startup, which launched back in May 2015, has added two million registered jobseekers to its platform in the past 12 months, according to co-founder Polina Montano, as well as signing up more than 150,000 businesses.

It says it has processed more than 20 million job applications in that time — and claims 74 per cent of job matches on its platform are made on the same day.

“We’re seeing great traction in our main markets, which is UK and Spain,” Montano tells TechCrunch, discussing its plans for the new funding. “The money which we just raised is to support this growth. Also to fuel the expansion to other major European countries. And also we’ll start building our presence in the US.”

Big spending on team and product is also planned. “Our product is everything for us. We are a tech company, after all so we will be heavily investing in our product team and in the team generally, to build a great company to take it global.”

“What we are doing is really changing the way how people are searching and finding casual jobs,” she adds. “We bring online lots of jobs which today find themselves offline — basically jobs which people advertise via a sign in the window and through referrals.”

The app lets employers and jobseekers create a basic profile, listing a few key details — such as language skills/requirements, availability/start date and last previous work experience — with everything else done via a mobile messaging interface, and matching of candidates to jobs done by location and other work criteria. The basic aim is to do away with the need for paper CVs for the service industry sector Job Today is targeting.

Discussing Job Today’s new clutch of media investors, Polina says the idea is to use TV as an acquisition and awareness channel to keep growing usage — a strategy that is also being used by other competitors in this space as rivals battle it out to create a dominant mobile jobs network.

“We see huge value in collaborating with media partners,” says Polina. “What we are building is a really accessible product for huge industries — such as hospitality and retail and other service industries — and TV happens to be a great means of communication… to present your product to society.”

This year especially has seen a raft of European jobs app startups gunning to mobilize hiring for small businesses via a job-focused messaging app, including the likes of CornerJob (which also uses media partnerships to promote its app), Jobandtalent (which has pivoted away from enterprise recruitment in favor of a similar focus on SMEs), inploi and Gig, to name a few.

Meanwhile WhatsApp is also testing business accounts. And given the reach of its global network (of more than a billion active users) the messaging giant would clearly be well positioned to step into the small business hiring space itself. Hence startups trying to carve out their own hiring app empires having a distinct sense of urgency.

CornerJob, for instance, raised a $10M Series A in February and then fast followed that with a $25M Series B in July. Job Today’s $10M and $20M raises are similarly closely spaced.

And while all these hiring app rivals claim to have slightly different focuses and services, there’s clearly a strong sense that a winner could take all here — so investors are being convinced to fuel teams to scale faster and spread networks wider.

Polina says Job Today is being used both by small businesses such as restaurants and shops but has also attracted some big brands — including the likes of McDonald’s, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Subway, and Holiday Inn.

“By making those jobs visible to jobseekers, by bringing them online, we do believe we’re doing something which is very good because it helps society,” she adds. “We are participating in job creation and we are making this hiring process for employers really easy and frictionless on one side so they might actually consider hiring someone when before they wouldn’t think of it.”

Its primary focus is on user growth at this point but she notes it has just began rolling out a paid product in the UK — its first tentative steps towards monetization. Early results put the conversion rate at one in five users, according to Polina.

“The business model which we are applying today is a good old tested and proven model of classifieds,” she adds. “In other words we are charging employers a fee for posting a job and offer a monthly subscription.”

The app does also allow employers to post some jobs for free but she says the paid option offers “additional convenience” — such as more job postings, more interaction with job seekers — although she stresses it is “really very, very, early days” for the monetization experiment and pricing is likely to evolve.

“These are our first steps in introducing the model to the market. Conversion is great but clearly we will be maturing this business model and further refining the packages throughout 2017,” she adds.