Slack has set the standard in many ways for what knowledge workers want and expect from a collaborative workplace app these days, but a lot has been left on the table when it comes to workers. frontline. Today, one of the software companies that created a popular app to get that frontline crowd into the conversation is announcing a fundraising round that talks about the possibility of doing more.
Yoobic, which provides an app for frontline and service workers to manage tasks, communicate with each other and with management, as well as take training, development and other e-learning tasks, has raised $ 50 million.
Highland Europe led the round, a Series C, with participation from previous investors Felix Capital, Insight Partners and a family office advised by BNF Capital Limited. (Felix ran Yoobic’s Series A, while Insight Partners ran Series B in 2019.) Yoobic isn’t discussing the valuation but from what I understand from a reliable source it now sits between 300 and 400 million dollars.
The financing comes at a time of strong growth for the company.
Yoobic works with some 300 leading brands in 80 countries covering a total of 335,000 locations in industries such as retail, hospitality, distribution and manufacturing. Its customers include the Boots pharmacy chain, Carrefour, Lancôme, Lacoste, Logitech, Lidl, Peloton, Puma, Vans, VF Corp, Sanofi, Untuckit, Roots, Canada Goose, Longchamp, Lidl, Zadig & Voltaire and Athletico.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It is estimated that there are 2.7 billion “office-less” (frontline and service) workers worldwide, representing as much as 80% of the global workforce. But here’s the shock: only 1% of IT budgets are currently spent on it. This speaks of a huge opportunity for startups to build more here, but only if they (or the workers themselves (can succeed in convincing those holding the purse strings that the investment is worth it.
So to that end, the funding will be used to hire more talent, to expand geographically – founded in London, the company is now headquartered in New York – and to expand its product line. Specifically, Yoobic plans to create more predictive analytics to improve responsiveness and give companies more insight into their usage, and create more tools to address specific verticals in the frontline world of work. , such as manufacturing, logistics and transportation, Fabrice Haiat, CEO and co-founder of YOOBIC, told TechCrunch in an interview.
Yoobic began his life several years ago focusing specifically on retail – an area he focused on no later than during his final cycle in 2019, providing tools to help with marketing, communicate on inventory between stores and more. While retail is still a significant part of its business, Yoobic saw an opening to expand to a larger pool of verticals with frontline and service employees who had many of the same demands as the retail.
This turned out to be a lucky fulcrum when the pandemic hit.
“Covid-19 has had a big impact on us,” said Haiat, who co-founded the company with brothers Avi and Gilles. “The first two months we were in panic mode. But what has happened is that companies have realized that frontline employees are essential to the success of their operations. “
Since Covid struck last year, it has said activity on the platform has increased by 200%, and earlier this year topped 1 million activities per month on its platform. “We are growing up like crazy,” Haiat said.
There are a number of reasons why construction for frontline workers is important. Roaming without a fixed desk, spending more time with customers than looking at a screen or in meetings, and typically having different business priorities and practices are just some of the reasons software designed for the former doesn’t work. necessarily for the second.
There have been a number of companies that have sought to create services to bridge this gap – they date back several years, in fact. And there have been some interesting consolidation moves in the market among those building some of the best performing tools for people in the field: Crew was recently acquired by Square; ServiceMax acquired Zinc; and Facebook’s Workplace is on the move to bring together some of the world’s biggest companies as clients of its own communications platform with a solid game for frontline workers.
Haiat argues that while all of these are great, none of them understand the full scope of the types of tools that people in the field really need. This ranges from practical features (such as a way to manage inventory management) to features that businesses would like to have for their employees as long as they can be provided in a straightforward manner (such as professional development and training). In this context, the basic communications offered by all current applications for frontline workers look like basic table settings.
This in-depth understanding of the market gap and what is needed to close it is one of the reasons the company has seen such strong growth, as well as investor interest.
“We are delighted to partner with YOOBIC, which, thanks to the very impressive team led by Fabrice, Avi and Gilles, has clearly established itself as a leader in the digital workspace with demonstrable traction in the market and impressive growth. Jean Tardy-Joubert, partner at Highland Europe, said in a statement. “While businesses have historically focused on digital investments for office workers, the world is becoming distributed and decentralized. We anticipate a seismic change that will see enormous resources, technology and capital transferred to frontline teams. »Tardy-Joubert will join YOOBIC’s board of directors with this round.