By Nancy Dahlberg
Traba, the year-old Miami tech startup building an on-demand marketplace for fulfillment and warehouse workers, has been on a growth tear, and even the economic slowdown isn’t casting much shade.
“Our sector actually does well throughout economic turbulence because warehouses and event venues don’t know how to staff their full-time workforce to meet the unpredictability of different order volumes and things like this,” explains CEO and co-founder Mike Shebat. “They actually rely on the staffing industry, so we’ve seen a lot of a lot of growth and interest on the business side.”
That includes strong interest from prominent venture capitalists.
Traba announced today that it raised $20 million in a Series A funding round, led by Khosla Ventures with participation from Founders Fund, General Catalyst, SciFi VC and Atomic. To date, the startup has raised $23.6 million; Founders Fund and General Catalyst led Traba’s seed round.
Traba is building an on-demand marketplace that connects vetted workers with open shifts at warehouses, fulfillment centers and event venues. From their phones, workers can choose when and where to accept shifts and earn a living on their own schedule. Pay starts at $13 an hour and ranges to $38, and contractors can even tap an instant payment feature. Workplaces with poor worker conditions are removed from the platform.
At the same time, Traba helps small businesses solve their workforce management issues at an economical cost so they can focus on running their businesses. Warehouses in particular suffer from worker turnover rates over 40% and depend on staffing services. Traba fills 100% of a business’ staffing needs, unlike traditional staffing agencies that average a 46% fill rate, Shebat says.
Shebat has lived the pain points his company is seeking to solve, beginning his career at an industrial supply company, McMaster-Carr, that struggled with staffing up to meet fluctuating demand. Shebat also worked at Uber, where he helped scale UberEats in Europe, Latin America and later Miami.
He co-founded Traba with Akshay Buddiga, Traba’s CTO, who he met at an On Deck Founders Fellowship cohort. Buddiga, who moved to Miami from San Francisco, was previously a senior engineering manager at Fanatics and was part of Zenefits during its hyper-growth phase.
The startup is growing 48% month over month, Shebat said today. In January, Traba had 3,000 workers from the South Florida area on its marketplace. Today? 12,000 plus. “It’s really gone viral with the workers – they’ve absolutely loved it,”
Traba’s team has doubled to 25 since January as well. What’s more, the startup has begun expanding outside of South Florida and is now operating in Tampa. “We’re going to be using the capital that we just raised to expand to Texas and the rest of Florida. But Miami will always be our HQ,” Shebat said.
In addition to nationwide expansion starting with Florida and Texas, Traba plans to use the funding to more than double its team, primarily in sales and engineering, and to continue to create a better product, Shebat said. “We’re continuing to iterate and make our product even better to create a 10x magical experience for our customers.”
The Traba team is continuing to buck the remote-work trend, as Keith Rabois’ OpenStore is also doing. Shebat strongly believes that early-stage startup teams need to be in-person. “We’re in-person in Miami 100% so that’s something that’s special for us and our office space is really cool.”
Traba is currently hiring for over 15 roles, including for expansion, strategy, sales, engineering and product. The startup has always been upfront about the long hours and hard work that Traba will require, and Shebat said that’s been paying off.
“For anyone that wants to join this rocket ship, we’re just continuing to be in the early innings of it all. It’s been a really exciting ride.”
READ MORE ON REFRESH MIAMI:
- Catching up with Traba: From 0 to 3,000 workers on its on-demand platform in 6 months
- Wanted: Smart, scrappy startup team for Traba. Remote workers need not apply. Must love Miami.
Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg and email her at [email protected]
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