WorkTorch, formerly known as QuickHire, today announced the closing of a $2.2 million funding round led by Tenzing Capital. Along with the increase comes a name change, in an effort to encapsulate the company’s focus on recruiting and retaining employees.
Speaking to TechCrunch, its founders, sisters Deborah Gladney and Angela Muhwezi-Hall, said the rebranding had been in the works for a year and a half as they realized the changing relationship between employees and employers. .
“Finding the right talent is only half the battle,” Gladney said. “Where companies are really hit the hardest is employees losing faster than they get in the door.”
They realized their hard work to help companies find the right talent was wasted if those companies didn’t do anything about it. dungeon these workers.
“We started looking at what happened to people after they were hired and started focusing on career development and talent retention tools,” Gladney continued. “So our new name is WorkTorch. We want to be a beacon for a better career, a better workforce.
Launched last April, the company says it has a roster of more than 40,000 service sector candidates actively seeking employment, with at least 1,000 interviews per month scheduled through the platform. As part of its rebranding, users will now have access to a career development portal where they can track their professional development, as well as connect with others with similar interests.
At the same time, employers will now be able to access new retention tools to review national and regional data trends, as well as receive feedback from their employees on their current work experiences.
Investors were attracted to WorkTorch due to changing working conditions in the United States. TechCrunch previously reported that VCs remain bullish on HR platforms despite “The Great Resignation.” In the first two months of 2022, investors poured over $1.4 billion into the sector. This follows the more than $12.3 billion from HR tech startups raised last year.
Gladney said it took about six months for WorkTorch’s seed round to close because the founders felt pressure from investors amid the economic downturn.
“Each check felt like a fight to get,” Gladney said. The highlight of this fundraising was that most of their existing investors returned. Kansas-based comeback capital helped make the duo two of few, if any, black women to raise more than $1 million in the Midwest. “As two black women from Kansas, we’re very proud of that.”
Then there were dips, naturally, where they felt like investors were chaining them – even more so than the last time they raised, when they raised over $1 million from funding. “I felt like people were talking to us to tick a box or make it look like they were doing their part,” Gladney said.
Muhwezi-Hall said people would give soft hires, do extensive due diligence and then come back, saying they actually never wanted to get into HR.
“It was very strange,” Muhwezi-Hall said. “A lot of these people have social media presences focused on diversity and inclusion. We were thrilled to meet them. But when the push came, it was like any other – probably even worse than the VC who just wouldn’t respond to our emails because they chained us down and wasted so much of our time.
However, they overcame bias and attracted top investors such as Bloomberg Beta, MATH Venture Partners, Ruthless for Good Fund, and Graham & Walker. The new capital will help WorkTorch expand into several new cities, including Chicago, Denver, Dallas and Atlanta. The Hackett Group noted earlier this year that spending on HR technology is likely to increase by the end of the year. It is Gladney and Muhwezi-Hall who find their place in the current trend.
“Employers need better tools and capabilities to meet the needs of their workforce, and service industry professionals thrive when given opportunities for career development and growth,” said Josh Oeding, founder of Tenzing Capital, at TechCrunch. “WorkTorch has figured out how to bring value to employers and professionals, and the market is responding.”
Leslie Feinzaig, the founder of Graham & Walker, added: “I was deeply impressed with Deborah and Angela and had one of those magical first encounters where I immediately know I want to invest,” he said. she told TechCrunch. “It was striking to me that this team deeply understands and respects service workers, in a way that is rare in startup pitches. And that translates into undeniable and unheard-of metrics for a startup at this stage.
Next, Gladney and Muhwezi-Hall hope WorkTorch will become the go-to platform for anyone looking to see what’s next in their careers. “That’s what makes us different,” Gladney said. “WorkTorch empowers people to pursue what they are passionate about. And then we come alongside them to help them get there.
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