OnboardIQ raises $9.1 million to automate hiring for hourly workers

OnboardIQ wants to make applying for hourly work less of a hassle, with a mobile-first platform that businesses can use to reduce the time they spend finding and hiring qualified workers. Now, three years in, the company has raised $9.1 million to expand their product and customer reach.

When we last wrote about OnboardIQ, back in 2015, the company was positioning itself as a way for on-demand startups to automate their hiring and onboarding processes. Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but since then a lot of on-demand startups have gone kablooey.

As a result, OnboardIQ has widened its net of potential employers it works with. In retrospect, that’s probably a good thing, since the whole U.S. labor market seems to be moving toward hourly work, and hiring for hourly jobs is notoriously difficult.

It turns out, the same factors that caused hiring to be difficult and margins to be thin at on-demand businesses were also affecting sectors like retail, logistics, restaurant, grocery, warehouse and staffing.

In major retail chains, for instance, “There’s a huge amount of people to manage and turnover is shockingly high… Turnover can be as high as 75 percent,” OnboardIQ founder and CEO Keith Ryu said. “It was a huge wake-up call for us.”

Just getting an applicant through the hiring funnel and into a job can be a huge time-suck for businesses still using manual processes, making schedules with pen and paper and relying on gut for whether or not a new hire is going to be a good fit. In light of that, companies are looking for ways to drive cost efficiency even while trying to staff up their workforces.

And let’s not forget about the applicant side of things, where applying for work can be an opaque and demoralizing experience. While many larger businesses have moved on from paper applications to email and web forms, potential employers can be unresponsive, leaving applicants unaware of where they are in the hiring process.

OnboardIQ has attempted to solve many of those issues by creating a system for hiring that is branded and personalized, that is mobile first and uses SMS to communicate instead of email and that uses data and analytics to help people doing the hiring better gauge the chances of an applicant’s success in a job.

Since being founded, the company has processed more than 3.5 million applications and facilitated 400,000 hires. The next step in the company’s evolution is to use its vast amount of data anonymously to reduce the time companies spend reviewing large volumes of applicants and focusing on those that are most likely to get hired.

It’s an ambitious idea, but also a huge market — $50 billion is spent on hiring hourly workers yearly. But if OnboardIQ is successful, it hopes to actually make the process more efficient and less expensive.

This round of funding was led by Origin Ventures, with participation by SoftTech VC, Crosslink Capital and Y Combinator, bringing the total amount raised to $10.75 million.