When I Work, a Minneapolis-based company that helps shift-based workers automate scheduling, said Monday it lined up a $200 million investment from a private equity firm.
The investment by Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, a private equity fund of Boston-based Bain Capital, is one of the largest received by a tech company in the Twin Cities this year.
When I Work started in 2010 and, since then, more than 10 million hourly employees haves used its platform to view their work schedule, swap shifts, monitor hours worked and communicate with their managers. Currently the company has approximately 200,000 workplaces and 1.5 million workers on its platform today.
With the infusion of capital, When I Work will be able to accelerate research and development, identify more potential markets and and pursue acquisitions. "Any innovation we pursue will be purpose built for shift-based workers," Chad Halvorson, co-founder and chief marketing officer at When I Work, said in an interview.
The company has approximately 200 workers and its headquarters is in the Ford Center in downtown Minneapolis. More than half of those workers are in the Twin Cities but Halvorson says they've gone all in as a "remote first company" during the pandemic and opened up their employment.
The company's product helps shift workers in restaurant, retail, hospitality and healthcare settings, but in recent years companies it other industries including warehouse and manufacturing companies have started utilizing the platform. Now, the ultra-competitive environment for finding and keeping workers has lifted demand for its products, When I Work executives said.
Bain Capital has invested in portfolio of application software companies, many based in the Midwest, including online training platform, A Cloud Guru, based in Austin, Texas; a construction management software company, Buildertrend, based in Omaha, Neb.; and a performance analysis company for sports teams, Hudl based in Lincoln, Neb.
"When I Work is a unique software platform that solves a very real pain point for employees and employers in shift-based workplaces," Phil Meicler,a managing director at Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, said in a statement. "It was built to suit the needs of today's workforce by elegantly automating a time-consuming and manual process."
Halvorson had the idea for a company in 1998 while he was working in a grocery store and thought there had to be a better way to manage the work schedule. He went so far as to reserve the When I Work domain name then. But it was in the 2008 to 2010 time period when the company began to take off after Halvorson met co-founders Dan Olfelt and Garret Voight who drove the design and development of the company's software.
In 2014 they got $9 million in Series A funding and then another $24 million in Series B funding in 2016. Halvorson says the new investment from Bain will help it maintain its 30% to 40% annual growth rate.
With more than 80 million hourly workers in the U.S., its growth prospects are immense, he said. "When we think about the future, this is a multi-billion dollar opportunity," Halvorson said.