Why Wonolo: Flexibility, Fulfillment, And The Future Of Work

Wonoloer Joseph by day, rapper Ale-Jhay by night // Photo courtesy of Wonolo

Joseph did not grow up wanting to be a rapper.

His father, who Joseph describes as an “old-school New York Haitian,” abhors foul language, banning the genre known for its proclivity for the profane from their home. So Joseph spent his childhood years in LA listening to a more family-friendly catalog of Motown, soul, and funk.

It was not until he got to college that he discovered the stylized, rhythmic beats of Notorious B.I.G., Andre 3000, and Pharrell among others, and from that moment, he was hooked. Hip hop would become his passion, leading him to perform at shows in LA and eventually the Bay Area, after his move to Oakland 11 years ago.

Joseph’s day job, however, made it difficult to pursue his passion. Long hours, rigid schedules, and limited time off from his role as a customer service representative meant he had to shelve musical projects for months at a time.

“My life centered around work,” Joseph says.

Things worsened when he was laid off unexpectedly, right after moving into a new apartment. That’s when a friend told him about Wonolo, a staffing platform that connects people looking for work with frontline, hourly jobs. Using Wonolo, Joseph was able to find work quickly, first on a temporary basis and eventually full time.

Joseph is one of thousands of people who use Wonolo to find flexible work fast, without the long and opaque application process used by traditional staffing agencies. On the platform, users can see jobs available in their area from premier Fortune 500 companies and pick those that work for their schedule. The company is on a grand and audacious mission — to make work flexible and fulfilling for everyone.

We at Bain Capital Ventures support that mission and today are excited to announce our investment in Wonolo. Joined by Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, Base10, Cendana, and AMN Healthcare, we are proud to lead a $32 million round of fresh funding for the company, capital that will be used to expand the platform’s reach and capabilities.

Wonolo’s technology brings an elegant solution to a fast-growing labor market plagued by inefficiency. Fueled by the meteoric rise of e-commerce, warehouses and distribution centers will add 226,000 workers in 2018, a marked increase over the 180,300 jobs per year the sector averaged from 2013 to 2017, according to research from CBRE. However, many challenges exist with staffing solutions today –hiring processes are slow, burdensome for workers and costly for employers with the average time to fill a job vacancy sitting at more than 30 days and the average job fill rate at a mere 46 percent.

Wonolo stands far above the crowd, able to fill 90 percent of jobs in an average of four minutes and at 40 percent less cost than that of a traditional staffing agency. Employers are able to manage peaks and valleys in their operations efficiently while users get a community with which to build a successful career through reliable and transparent onboarding, job matching and payments.

Joseph no longer feels his life revolves around work. Now that he finds work through Wonolo, he can devote more time to his music, completing new songs in weeks rather than months. He has done more than 250 jobs through the platform and recently earned the ambassador badge, an award given to the top five percent of Wonoloers that allows him more priority and access to the most coveted jobs.

“Wonolo is my go to for work,” he says. “It allows me to have the freedom to schedule work when I want and be happy.”

A special thank you to BCV team members Kevin Zhang and Faraz Fatemi for their great work on the deal.