Business leaders encounter a variety of challenges, but ask about the biggest pain points they face today and it’s a good bet you’ll get an earful about how difficult it is to hire and retain great employees.
Mike SeidleCo-founder & COO
“You search for open jobs in your area and get 50,000 results that are mostly irrelevant to you and are a waste of time and money for employers.”
What WorkHere is doing with geolocation is revolutionizing both sides of the job search process – it works a lot like Zillow for jobs using technology similar to the Pokémon Go phenomenon – and the results for job seekers and employers alike are so positive that the fast-growing company and its app are expanding into five new markets soon.
Launched publicly by co-founders Mike Seidle (COO), Rick Wehrle (CTO), and Howard Bates (CEO), last April, WorkHere is a mobile-first job search app based on location accurate to within three meters rather than searching based on an entire metro area. It’s a distinction that sets WorkHere apart from other job boards because it’s more in tune with the way people actually search for jobs and it naturally addresses one of the most important factors combatting turnover — proximity to the workplace.
Goodwill of Central Indiana, a WorkHere customer, helped prove the WorkHere model when they surveyed their employees and discovered that 80 percent of their employees that stay in their positions over five years live within two miles of the location where they work.
Imagine sitting down to search for a job near you. In order to do that with most job search tools based on the broader metro area or zip code, you generally have to wade through hundreds or thousands of job postings that could be 30-45 minutes away on the other side of town. But with WorkHere, geolocated jobs are presented on a mobile optimized map that shows you not only where there are currently openings, but also places you could work that you can follow and get notified when they do have openings.
“It’s virtually an untapped market for exploratory job search,” Seidle said. If no current openings are posted, there’s no way for job seekers to even know they might want to work there, and if that ideal location has openings next week, there’s no way for them to find out either. WorkHere solves that void with its unique geolocation approach, map presentation and networks.
Using WorkHere, employers are actually building a pipeline of future employees by adding their neighbors and customers to their network in the app.
Rick WehrleCo-founder & CTO
“They are knowledgeable and passionate about the products you sell and if they are coming into the store it’s likely they live or work nearby or it’s close to their kid’s school, and that’s going to make them better hires who are happier, more productive, and stay longer than people who would have to commute across town. The research proves it.”
Various employment studies support commuting costs from $350 up to $795 per mile over the course of a year depending on a person’s salary, which equals $3,500 to nearly $8,000 worth of savings for workers who can find employment just 10 miles closer to home. When coupled with the data that workers who live closer to their place of employment are happier and stay longer, employers have a real bottom-line incentive to take advantage of WorkHere’s hyperlocal job search innovations.
With more than 50,000 job seekers (mostly in Indiana) using the WorkHere app, and 120 employers with about 500 locations that are paying customers, the fast-growing startup is proving to be a game-changer addressing employers’ biggest pain points. In fact, according to Seidle, WorkHere is getting requests from large employers nationwide to expand beyond the app’s initial Indiana test market.
“We wanted to launch and limit our first year of operation to Indiana because Indiana has some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and we knew that if we could make it here then we could expand the model into other markets with even greater success,” said Seidle. “So far, some of our biggest customers who are having a lot of success here in Indiana are asking us to expand into their other markets around the country, and we’ll be doing that in five new markets over the next 18 months.”
Seidle credits the rapid success of WorkHere to the team they’ve built and the support they’ve received from the Indianapolis tech community. Serial entrepreneur Howard Bates is former co-founder and CEO of SmarterHQ and its’ current Chairman, past President of Kratos Defense and Security Systems and founder of Haverstick Consulting. Rick Wehrle wrote the first internet job board at Online Career Center, which was acquired by TMP in the late 90s and eventually became Monster.com. Wehrle served in various product development roles over 14 years at Monster and served as CTO at DirectEmployers Association.
Another reason for its success is that WorkHere was built as a mobile-first app from the ground up, which has proven to be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as 82 percent of its 50,000 users access the app on mobile devices.
To date, WorkHere has raised over $2.3 million in angel funding in a round led by VisionTech Angels along with Charmides Capital and individual angel investors. According to Bates, “The company will be pursuing a Series A round of capital this fall to support its market expansion”. Employers can join WorkHere and post jobs based on a $50 per location fee structure, or under contract for single locations with large workforces.
“One of the things I’m really excited about with WorkHere is doing this in Indiana,” Seidle said. “We have exceptional investor partners here who are as passionate about this revolutionary idea as we are and we’ve really seen a lot of support from the tech community, and that wouldn’t have been possible say five to seven years ago. We would have had to go to the coasts for capital and probably would have had to move the business there too. The ecosystem here is really developed now and it’s fantastic to see that growth and to be a part of it with WorkHere.”