There has been a swirl of legal drama recently about whether sharing economy companies like Uber should classify their workers as W2 employees or 1099 independent contractors.
But for startup OnboardIQ, what matters isn’t how these workers pay taxes, but how hard it is to hire them in the first place. OnboardIQ has one goal: making hiring easier for companies with fluid workforces.
OnboardIQ co-founder Keith Ryu says the way some people work is fundamentally changing.
“Sharing economy workers switch jobs, and work multiple jobs in a given week or even day,” he says. The high turnover means that sharing economy companies have to be constantly bringing workers into the fold. This can be an immense burden, especially for a small company. OnboardIQ wants to make easier.
Right now, OnboardIQ focuses its efforts on automation. This is especially useful for companies who have to hire from an unreliable workforce. Ryu says that before companies start using OnboardIQ, there is a “50% no-show rate at interviews for the demographics we work with,” which is 60% sharing economy companies. For any business with those types of numbers, manually keeping tabs on applicants can be a huge drain on resources.
OboardIQ’s system automates scheduling phone interviews and orientations. It moves applicants through a series of “stages,” reminding them of their various commitments primarily via SMS, which Ryu has found more effective than email. Among the over 100,000 steps OnboardIQ claims it automates are background checks and document collection — I9 forms, contracts, etc.
Ryu says the company has about 60 active accounts and processes between 5,000 and 10,000 applicants per week.
OnboardIQ is part of the Y Combinator’s 2015 class, and will pitch to prominent tech figures as part of “demo day” on August 18-19. And earlier this year, the company raised a $US1.65 million seed round.
When Ryu talks of expansion, he speaks of moving outside the “on-demand” niche. Those companies — like heavyweights Shyp and Munchery — have so far been OnboardIQ’s bread and butter, but there is no reason why the service couldn’t work equally well for any company with a large and transitory workforce. “Companies like Merry Maids, or in the logistics space, like FedEx,” Ryu says. “That’s where we’d like to move going forward.”
And Ryu says he has no desire to be acquired by a larger company.”There’s a complete advantage of being independent because a lot of our customers grow super fast and we need to be able to adapt develop a product and improve it,” he says.
Those fast-moving sharing economy companies were willing to embrace OnboardIQ, but now the question is, will the old behemoths of the service economy be as easy to convince.