By: Jacky Abitbol, Jean-François Cochy and Costanza Carissimo
When we invested in France’s leading temporary employment solution Iziwork, leading its €12M Series A round over one year ago, we had no idea that a global pandemic would so completely disrupt 2020 and beyond. What we did know was that the blue-collar labor market was in need of a better matching solution to support people looking for jobs and companies looking to fill roles. What we discovered was that Iziwork was not only making the temp worker hiring process easier for both parties, but also massively enlarging the existing market by making temp staffing more affordable while providing maximum protection for workers.
Despite COVID-19 creating a massive disturbance in the labor markets, Iziwork was able to grow at an impressive pace: since our investment, the number of full-time equivalent staffed workers in industry, retail and logistics, increased by 5X and the company successfully launched a new market — Italy. This is testament to the strength of the Iziwork product, the agility in development and the hard work of the team. Since its founding in 2018, the Iziwork platform has been used by over 800,000 candidates and 2,000 corporate clients in France and Italy. In 2020 alone, Iziwork worked with 120 partner agents and staffed more than 25,000 temp employees (or Iziworkers) on assignments. At a time of so much economic uncertainty and rising unemployment, the company proved to be a valuable resource for employment, quadrupling the number of Iziworkers at work between April and December.
At Cathay Innovation, we invest in startups impacting the world and strongly believe that innovative startups like Iziwork are critical to the economic recovery of France, Europe and across the world. This is why today, we’re particularly proud to announce our continued support for Iziwork and its contributions to recovery efforts, by leading its €35M Series B funding round alongside Bpifrance. As early investors in the company, we’d like to share why we’ve doubled down on Iziwork — an emerging French startup darling with the potential to be the next European tech leader.
Labor Market: Reducing the Supply & Demand Imbalance
In today’s increasingly digital and mobile world, most job seekers utilize online research to find open positions. Yet, the temp employment landscape, a €150 B market in Europe alone, is largely dominated by traditional brick and mortar incumbent agencies relying on manual, pen and paper, inefficient processes to match potential employees with open roles.
Drawing from experiences at the likes of wildly successful marketplaces Amazon and Alibaba, Co-founders Mehdi Tahri and Alexandre Dardy set out to address these disparities and started Iziwork to radically improve the interim experience for both candidates and companies and is now a key player in Europe’s temp employment market. Iziwork provides a worker-centric mobile platform, distinguished for its efficiency and ease-of-use, to manage all job processes: from automatically populating a CV, being matched with relevant jobs and completing paperwork digitally to accessing training, managing savings, and simplifying communication with the staffing manager.
One of the key aspects of Iziwork’s mission is to democratize temp staffing for companies by providing a higher quality of service at lower costs. Thanks to its leaner cost structure, automation of tedious administrative tasks and hybrid model with commercial agents (Iziwork partners), Iziwork is making temp staffing more affordable and granting a vast number of companies access to temp employees to cope with demand fluctuations and fill required positions.
Tech for Good: Improving the Lives of Millions of Temporary Workers
Zeroing in on Iziwork’s innovative use of technology, the company utilizes artificial intelligence and the e-commerce recommendation system to optimize the matching process between qualified candidates and roles. This results in an 80% acceptance rate (two to three times the market average) with 95% of assignments being filled in less than four hours. In addition, the full automation of administrative management, including timesheets and payroll, drastically reduces the possibility of error.
Perhaps most noteworthy is Iziwork’s unique position at the cross-section of finding people work assignments now, simplifying the day to day lives of temp workers and improving their employability for the future. Since hitting the market two years ago, the Iziwork app has evolved dramatically to better serve workers, adding many useful features from instant deposits, a 10% annual paid time savings account for those looking to put ‘compte épargne temps’ to work, personalised professional training and e-learning and medical teleconsultation. It also features a loyalty program, granting reliable Iziworkers financial bonuses which significantly increases overall compensation.
The company is combining the best of welfare systems and tech-enabled flexibility: workers can access a new job in a few clicks and benefit from health insurance, retirement plans, paid holidays, training and upskilling and much more.
Parting Thoughts: Iziwork’s Critical Role in the Coming Year and Beyond
The economic turmoil resulting from COVID-19 in most economies across the world, will be felt harshly in 2021 and beyond — with many companies operating under constrained resources including needing to repay government-sponsored loans (known as “PGE” in France) taken out in the last year.
With the prospect of painful recovery looming large, Iziwork will play a key role in getting workers back into employment quickly by reducing the friction to land a new job and continue earning a salary. Similarly, many companies will have limited visibility into 2021 activities and will need to be agile and react quickly to grasp market opportunities. The ability to onboard new high-quality employees at speed will be a major success factor.
Disparate industries, from retail to transportation, must innovate to better meet ever evolving consumer needs and rapidly changing demand — which means greater flexibility in the labor market. While flexible work has been on the rise for decades and across markets, we expect this to accelerate even further in the coming years under the current climate. At Cathay Innovation, we’re honored to continue our support and partnership with Iziwork at this critical time, to provide the much-needed flexibility (affordably) that will accompany enterprises and workers into the new era of the economy.