Fresh off a $3.6M funding round, Miami-based Traba is building its founding team to tackle the future of work.
A Cafecito Talk with the mayor of Miami, a funding announcement with prominent investors, a blog post that takes off on social media – it was quite the coming out party for Traba, a new Miami-based startup focused on fundamentally changing the way people work.
But just as great was the “unbelievable number of inbounds” from the community, most of them from applicants wanting to join the team, said Mike Shebat, Traba’s CEO. We’ll get to that – and Refresh Miami plans to follow along as Traba rapidly hires a team – but first, more about Traba, which is tackling “a critical $35 billion industry that is utterly broken.”
Traba is building a marketplace that connects workers with open shifts at warehouses, fulfillment centers and event venues. From their phones, “workers can choose when to accept shifts, see pay and ratings upfront, and earn a living on their own schedule. We uplift them and provide more earning opportunities to them over time.” said Shebat, who previously helped scale UberEats in Europe, Latin America and later Miami.
At the same time, Traba helps small businesses solve their workforce management issues at an economical cost and focus on what they’re good at – running their businesses, Shebat said. He knows their pain because Shebat began his career at an industrial supply company that always struggled with staffing up to meet fluctuating demand. Staffing agencies were slow and inefficient and they were never able to send enough workers, “a terrible experience for a supervisor,” Shebat said.
Traba is a startup with global ambitions building in Miami. Shebat met Akshay Buddiga, now Traba’s co-founder and CTO, in an On Deck Founders Fellowship cohort earlier this year and they immediately clicked – and began hacking a Traba plan together. “It was the perfect synergy because he is a brilliant engineer and has a lot of experience managing and recruiting engineers,” Shebat said. Buddiga previously was a senior engineering manager at Fanatics and was part of Zenefits during its hyper-growth phase. Buddiga moved to Miami from San Francisco in early June.
Traba announced last week it has raised $3.6 million in seed funding round led by Founders Fund and General Catalyst, both of which have been expanding in Miami. The round also included a dozen tech founder/CEOs. Traba is now ready to build out its founding team.
Currently a team of 4, Traba plans to rapidly hire across the board – and plans to add about 15 employees in coming months, including about 5 engineers. For its engineering team, Traba is seeking entrepreneurial React Native engineers as well as backend and full stack engineers at the junior and senior levels to work with Buddiga’s team. An initial app is already available on the Apple and Google Play stores that they can check out. Traba is also looking for a UX/UI designer as well as several sales and operations roles.
Unlike at a lot of startups, remote workers need not apply.
“We believe in that in the early days of a startup, there’s so much informal dialogue that happens. Being together in-person allows us to get to know each other and our customers like a family. And to be honest, Miami’s the best place to be,” Shebat said.
These won’t be 9-to-5 jobs – maybe more like 9-to-9 six days a week. Shebat and Buddiga are looking for an “Olympian work ethic” and they are conveying that up front. “Changing the world never comes easy. We work harder, longer, and smarter – not just two out of three.”
In just 24 hours, 379 applications rolled in – 92 for engineering roles, 105 for designers, 112 for the operations roles and 70 for sales, Shebat said on Friday afternoon. And they are still coming.
In addition to applicants, Traba had over 100 organic worker signups and six businesses reached out through the website form, Shebat said. “It’s inspiring to see all of the interest from our customers.”
The plan is to work closely with local small businesses like Star Warehouse and Kreyol Essence to build out the product that truly solves their problems. “And once we get our product in a really awesome place, then we’ll scale to larger enterprises,” Shebat said. “Our ambitions are to provide a really great customer experience in Miami and then grow beyond.”
After Miami, Shebat says Traba will quickly expand throughout the rest of the United States and into Latin America, becoming a global player.
Refresh Miami plans to check in with Traba team from time to time in coming weeks and months during its hiring. Are they finding the talent they need in Miami? Are they hiring local or importing? Will they stray from their “must work in Miami” stance? What have been the challenges and some lessons learned? Stay tuned.
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