Crowded.com Closes $3.3M Seed Round, Ready for Commercial Launch Andrew Karpie - June 28, 2016 6:15 AM | Categories: Industry News, Services and Indirect Spend, Services Procurement & Contingent Labor, Services Procurement & Contingent Labor Management, Technology | Tags: L1, Technology Crowded.com, a startup centered in the exploding “on-demand,” “gig” workforce space, announced a $3.3 million seed funding round led by Tokalon Ventures, with participation by ARC Angel Fund, EarlyStage-NYC Fund, Gambit Ventures and an angel investor. Founded in 2015, the company has been in what it calls “private beta,” working with unspecified platforms and businesses and, reportedly, 50,000 workers. “Crowded.com is a mobile-first candidate network where hourly and on-demand workers can maintain their employment profile, get verified, engage in training and assessments, explore potential career paths and get matched to hourly jobs and on-demand gigs,” the company said in a press release. From our standpoint, this description is notable in several respects: With the increase of shorter and more variable work arrangements in the economy, it is clear that technology (like mobile) and connecting platforms are a key enablers. It also stands to reason, but could be overlooked, that--for these kinds of work arrangements "to work" on both the supply and demand sides--it is necessary to ensure that workers are truly ready to go to work on-demand. That means not only being available in terms of time, place and skills. It also means having identity verifications and background checks, the right expectations and so on. While providing on-demand platforms and other businesses a “verified,” aggregated talent pool and sourcing channel, Crowded.com appears to focus significantly on workforce engagement and enablement, but without a specific work application/job (e.g., a platform like Uber for driving and rides, or a business like Wal-Mart for store shifts). Crowded.com’s affiliated workforce potentially has access to opportunities of different kinds across various platforms and businesses. By creating a broader range of opportunities, Crowded.com could mitigate one of the major challenges of on-demand, gig workers — always having sufficient opportunities available to work whenever they want to. Finally, while the on-demand, gig economy has been hyped, it is notable that Crowded.com’s described focus extends to “hourly workers” (what we take to mean part-time, “on-call” workers) too. This is important, since traditional on-call workers make up a much larger population than the on-demand platform, gig workers today. Spend Matters covered Crowded.com late last year in “Crowded.com Gearing Up to Grow the On-Demand Economy.” We find Crowded.com interesting not only because of its unique function as a platform, but also because it appears to somehow fit into an emerging ecosystem of platforms that function in significant ways to support workforce that engages in alternative work arrangements. Other such platforms would include Intuit QuickBooks Self-Employed, Stride Health and Qwil, in addition to companies like MBO Partners. This set of developments corresponds to increasing statements across all segments of the hiring and workforce management communities, indicating that a radical turn toward more positive engagement and support of workers must begin. In areas where skilled talent is scarce, this is a no brainer. But in the area of shorter and alternative work arrangements (where labor supply is a significant problem), this is also true. It would be interesting if it turned out that technology and platforms (fast increasing in presence and importance in the intermediation of “jobs” and workers) are not just disruptors and rationalizers that strip workers of traditional rights and benefits, but are actually enablers of rights and benefits — but in new ways. That we shall have to see. In the meantime, we will be interested to follow Crowded.com’s next stage of development as it now emerges — capitalized — from its private beta. Please follow Andrew Karpie on Twitter @andrewkarpie. Read more of our contingent workforce and services procurement coverage. Related ArticlesIntuit Releases New Research on the Attitudes and Motivations of On-Demand WorkersSurvey: On-Demand Workers Want 1099 Status, Not W2 ClassificationCrowded.com Gearing Up to Grow the On-Demand Economy Discuss this: Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.