Why we invested: Fountain
This article was co-authored by General Partner Sami Ahmad and Investor Karly Wentz.
Today, we often hear about the “fight for talent” – in tech, people are usually referring to the competition for engineers and data scientists that drive the industry. But another talent shortage has come into the limelight – the ongoing fight for hourly workers, a talent pool that represents 60% of the U.S. workforce. COVID has only amplified this shortage as the economy begins to re-open and companies look to rehire hourly roles at higher rates. These employers are begging for qualified individuals to come to work. Illustrating this, Subway and Dunkin Donuts have needed to cut store hours due to a lack of staff.
Yet this has been an issue long before COVID. A confluence of factors has led to the current hiring environment. With the rise of the gig economy, applicants have more options than they have ever had before for flexible, hourly work. Other factors such as the aging population, the rise of remote work, and a mismatch of available roles and skillsets contribute to the problem. Further exacerbating the issue, churn for hourly workers is sky high, particularly in specific industries – average annual churn for restaurant workers is over 100%, for rideshare drivers, it’s nearly the same. Putting this into context, these enterprises need to replace their entire hourly workforces annually.
At B Capital, the Future of Work is one of our core investment areas. We have been tracking the unique challenges and pain points for what we call the “deskless workforce” – hourly and gig workers who typically operate without a desk. This workforce is a large and growing segment of the economy that has historically been underserved. Companies in industries like retail, manufacturing, restaurants, healthcare, rideshare, and delivery that rely on massive deskless workforces require the infrastructure necessary to efficiently hire, onboard, manage, and retain their employees.
That is why we are thrilled to announce our investment in Fountain, a talent acquisition platform for high-volume, high-velocity hiring of hourly workers. Fountain is specifically designed for the unique challenges of hiring large deskless workforces. Organizations today are often still hiring through phone screens, emails, and manual, time-intensive processes. Fountain streamlines and automates the recruiting process for both recruiters and applicants, who can seamlessly apply for positions from their mobile phones.
Fountain has outstanding customer feedback due to its intuitive, customizable applicant tracking system, enabling customers to scale efficiently and adapt to their changing hiring needs. The platform provides analytics to more quickly and effectively source, qualify, convert, and onboard applicants. Recruiters can then leverage Fountain’s intuitive design and features like drag-and-drop tools to swiftly modify the application process based on factors like role, geography, and required process speed. It is specifically designed for high-volume hiring, giving users the scalability they need to meet their significant hiring demands. The result is an efficient and optimized recruiting process that reduces hiring time from an industry average of 36 days to just over a week on average, and often much less.
Fountain got its start supporting the gig economy, helping companies like Uber and Grubhub hire and onboard the millions of drivers critical to their business success. Since then, Fountain has expanded to companies in a range of sectors competing in the same fight for talent, helping large established enterprises such as Chipotle, Bojangles, and Liveops adapt to the changing environment. The company has seen tremendous growth over the past year, with 220% year-over-year revenue growth, and is currently serving more than 250 customers. They have processed 16 million applications in the past year alone and have made 2 million hires in 2021 to date.
We’re very excited about Fountain’s next phase of growth. Given its highly adaptable platform, Fountain already supports a wide range of industries, including retail, manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare. It also has a significant geographic footprint – Fountain has a presence in 78 countries. We see substantial opportunity in Fountain’s product roadmap as it expands its feature set and capabilities to continue to serve deskless workers and enterprises in their fight for hourly talent.
Above all, it is clear Fountain has the right leadership in place to scale. Sean Behr (CEO) has been a believer in Fountain since day 1 – first, as an initial customer of Fountain, and then as an angel investor and Board member. Sean has deep experience in leading and scaling large organizations. He was in leadership positions at Shopping.com and Adap.tv, scaling the businesses through their acquisitions by eBay and AOL, respectively. He also has demonstrated experience leading and scaling an enterprise SaaS company through his time as founder and CEO of STRATIM. Fountain has seen tremendous success under Sean’s leadership, and we are delighted to partner with him in this next phase.
At B Capital, we strive to partner with industry leaders that help enterprises adapt to changing environments. Fountain is doing just that – empowering employers globally in the fight for hourly workers. Through our global footprint and partnership with BCG, we look forward to supporting Fountain in its mission to meet the demands of today’s labor market. We are thrilled to partner with the Fountain team in their future growth.