By Armaan Ali, Steve Harrick, Eric Liaw, and Jake Storm
Today, IVP is thrilled to announce our investment in Deputy, the leading workforce management platform designed to simplify employee scheduling, timesheets, tasking, and communication. IVP is the lead investor in an $81 million Series B round of financing and Eric Liaw will join the board as a Director.
IVP is a later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA, and over the years we have had the opportunity to work with best-in-class software companies such as AppDynamics (CSCO), Dropbox (DBX), GitHub (MSFT), Mulesoft (CRM), and Slack. We are thrilled to partner with co-founders Ashik Ahmed and Steve Shelley along with the entire Deputy team to empower the global hourly paid economy.
Why we invested:
Attacking a Massive, Underserved Market
During one of our first meetings with Ashik, he posed to us a challenge – he asked us to count the number of hourly workers we had interacted with over the course of the day. We ran through our mornings – the baristas who brewed our coffees, the bus driver who took one of us to work, the security guard who let us into the building, the staff at the restaurant where one of us had eaten breakfast. The list went on and on. Ashik’s request was simple, yet thought-provoking and powerful. It crystallized an often-overlooked point, that hourly workers are the backbone of our economy.
To put some data behind it, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported over 80 million hourly workers comprising over 60% of the US workforce in 2017. Global estimates are that hourly workers are 80 – 90% of the workforce. Yet while hourly workers comprise such large majorities of both the U.S. and global workforces, there is a stark lack of software tools available today that directly address their needs. Vital, everyday tasks like scheduling shifts and workplace communication are relegated to old standbys of paper and pencil or, perhaps marginally better, white boards and dry erase markers. Clocking in and out and calculating payroll might be handled via punch clocks and spreadsheets. A relatively advanced outfit might try to sprinkle in a text message here and there. The point is that there are literally millions of workers and businesses clamoring for a technology-based solution to bring the mundane tasks associated with work and scheduling into the modern world.
Deputy is changing all of that. Deputy provides a single, convenient application to handle shift scheduling, timesheets, tasking, and communication – a huge boon for managers and employees alike.
A World Full of Deputy Advocates
Ashik Ahmed and Steve Shelley started Deputy literally halfway around the world from Silicon Valley, in Sydney, Australia. Like many passionate entrepreneurs, their inspiration came from solving their own problem. Steve was running a people-intensive business and the administrative burden of matching shift to worker and vice versa was a nightmare both for him and his team. Enter Ashik, who, to solve Steve’s problems, built the first version of the product that would eventually become Deputy. Their shared experience became the foundation for their new company as they realized that they couldn’t possibly be alone in feeling the pain of scheduling and workforce management. And to solve a global problem from a relatively far-flung place, they knew they had to build a product that just worked.
As we got to learn more about the company, the extent to which Deputy was attacking real pain points became especially apparent to us when we spoke to the company’s customers. Through interviews, cold-calls, and surveys, our team reached nearly 1,000 Deputy users over the course of our diligence. It didn’t take long for a clear pattern to emerge. Customers were highly satisfied with Deputy’s product – managers cited the massive time and cost savings it provided them, and employees cited the convenience and visibility it gave them. One employee literally cried tears of joy when explaining how when her employer installed Deputy, she gained more control over her schedule, spent less time commuting for short shifts, and could work more hours to help make ends meet while spending more time with her family. Employees on Deputy felt more listened to and engaged at work, while managers felt better-equipped to run their businesses more effectively. Above all, users simply loved the product, which resulted in one of the highest NPS scores we’ve measured in recent memory.
This evangelism wasn’t limited to just SMBs either. Deputy counts massive enterprises (including McDonalds, Qantas, and Amazon, among others) as customers, and, when we spoke to them, they were just as enthusiastic about Deputy’s impact on their businesses. It’s rare to find a software product with the versatility to provide the same compelling value to small mom-and-pop operations as it provides to massive multi-national corporations. When we see something like that at IVP, we pay attention.
The Road Ahead
With over 90,000 businesses now on the Deputy platform, it’s clear that the Deputy team has done exceptionally well scaling the business and building out product functionality. While we’re thrilled to see the impressive traction to date, we’re even more excited about what’s to come. Deputy is positioned to address many core needs for business owners and employees alike, spanning the entire hourly worker lifecycle. Deputy has only just scratched the surface in terms of what it can do for the global hourly economy, and we at IVP couldn’t be more enthusiastic to partner with the entire team to get every shift in the world on Deputy.
Armaan Ali, Steve Harrick, Eric Liaw and Jake Storm are Investors at IVP, a later-stage venture capital firm.