WorkJam raises $12 million to communicate with hourly workers

There is plenty of enterprise software for the white-collar workforce, but there still isn’t an ideal way to communicate with employees who aren’t sitting at a desk. That’s the thesis behind WorkJam, which is announcing $12 million in funding from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Blumberg Capital, Founder Collective and NovelTMT.

The Montreal-based startup, whose clients include department store chains and Shell gas stations, makes it easier to send an alert to employees on their mobile phones. The software also focuses on scheduling, an integral part of the hourly workforce.

The past success of the founders meant that they’ve been able to bootstrap since launching in 2014; CEO Steven Kramer founded iCongo, which was acquired by Hybris and then SAP.

Without WorkJam, there’s “no way to effectively communicate from head office down to the hourly worker,” claims Kramer. These hourly workers often don’t even have company emails, so he believes that WorkJam makes it easier to “train and engage their employees,” pointing out that “a lot of training at organizations are still happening by paper binders.”

He says that the overall vision is “better alignment between corporate strategies and the people who actually have to execute those strategies on the front line.”  He gave examples like alerting employees about a new merchandising display or cleaning up a machine at a manufactory.  

Eric Hippeau, managing partner at Lerer Hippeau Ventures, said that he invested in WorkJam not only because of Kramer’s track record, but also because he believes in the vision. “One of the places that has been overlooked is the whole marketplace for hourly workers.” He said that they looked at the other options out there and that WorkJam’s mobile-centric approach made the most sense. WorkJam is “way more integrated and much more attuned to the needs of the worker.”

Eric Paley, managing partner at Founder Collective, echoed that sentiment. “Workers are still managed using physical clip-boards in the stock room. The hourly worker experience in these enterprises is sorely lacking.”

WorkJam makes money by charging large enterprises per project. There is a subscription fee by employee per month based on which modules they subscribe to.

They expect the product to do best with hotels, retailers and restaurants. In addition to the app, WorkJam is available on desktop.

“It’s a very big opportunity,” said Hippeau.