Traba raises $22M led by Founders Fund; more expansion on the way

By Nancy Dahlberg

Traba, the Miami-based marketplace startup for light industrial staffing, today announced a $22 million funding round led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund. Khosla Ventures, an existing investor, participated in the Series A2 round.

The Traba funding is also the first investment from Founders Fund VIII, and comes with “a sizable increase” in valuation over last year, the VC firm said. The funding brings Traba’s total raised to date to $43.6 million, including a $20 million Series A last year.

Launched in 2021, Traba is a technology company focused on fixing the broken staffing industry. Its marketplace connects light industrial businesses looking for temporary staffing with qualified, reliable workers who want to pick up shifts, unlocking productivity, growth and earning potential for both sides of the marketplace.

The problem Traba solves is huge. Although there are thousands of temporary staffing companies in the U.S. in the light industrial market, they use antiquated processes. As a result, the average fill rate for open jobs in the industry is 46%, with seven days to complete each request.  Traba, however, says it has a 99% average fill rate and requires less than a day to fill open jobs. What’s more, the average pay for jobs posted on Traba is above minimum wage.

Today the startup reports it serves tens of thousands of workers and hundreds of businesses in distribution centers, warehouses, food processing facilities, manufacturers, and similar spaces across the country. It now has offices in Miami and New York.

“Traba is poised for extraordinary success. The company has quadrupled their revenue over the past year and is still accelerating growth every quarter,” Keith Rabois, General Partner at Founders Fund and an original and three-time investor in Traba, said in their funding announcement.

 “We almost never see companies sustain this speed of customer adoption while simultaneously expanding contribution margins. The high-performance culture of Traba is equally rare and tracks the iconic companies at our roots,” Rabois explained. “As a result, Founders Fund is thrilled to kick off FF8 with a signature investment in Traba.”

Identified as Founders Fund’s highest-potential startup, Traba joins the ranks of other successful portfolio companies that have led previous funds, including Facebook, Affirm, Anduril, and Rippling. “It’s a tremendous honor,” said CEO Mike Shebat, in an interview with Refresh Miami. “We’re really excited to be part of that and about what’s to come.”

A year ago, Traba began expanding outside of South Florida; now it is in seven states, continued Shebat, who co-founded the company with Akshay Buddiga. With the new funding, “we will be expanding across the entire country next year. We’re also going to be doubling the team.”

The team has grown to 50 people across engineering, design, marketing, sales and finance. Traba has over 100 business customers well-known in the light industrial industry. The startup has staffed massive events, including the Super Bowl in Arizona, Taylor Swift shows and Beyonce concerts through its marketplace platform.

Traba’s proprietary technology uses AI to contact workers and geotracking to make sure its workers are getting to their shifts on time. Its tech streamlines backend processes and matches workers with their ideal shifts.

With features like instant pay, work history, reliability ratings, company reviews, and preferential restaffing, “our technology is really being adopted and loved right now,” said Shebat, who previously helped scale UberEats in Europe, Latin America and later Miami and began his career at industrial supply company McMaster-Carr, where he struggling with staffing up to meet fluctuating demand. 

When Traba launched two years ago, Shebat said the company would work fully in-person, bucking the remote trend, and they were looking for team members with “an Olympian work ethic,” being very upfront about the work hours required.

“We’re still fully in-person and we still work startup hours. We’ve hired incredible people who have opted into this culture, and that’s generated a great culture of high perlformance,” Shebat said, likening it to joining a new soccer team that’s trying to get into the World Cup.

Shebat says he is hiring for engineering, sales, operations and product.

 “We’re dreaming big and we started it all in Miami. It was definitely the best place to start the company.”

Some of Traba’s team, above, and Keith Rabois wears the Traba t-shirt at the Khosla Ventures CEO Conference, below. At top of post, Traba CEO Mike Shebat with Peter Thiel.


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Nancy Dahlberg