Shyft Technologies, which provides an app that allows retail employees to swap work shifts, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding in a round led by Ignition Partners and Madrona Venture Group, according to a Shyft press release.
The new funding, which brings Shyft's total financing to $8 million, comes months after Shyft was selected as the mobile workforce management platform for Gap and its affiliated brands. Bob Kelly, managing partner of Ignition Partners, and S. Somasegar, managing director of Madrona Venture Group, will join Shyft's Board of Directors as part of this round.
In addition to swapping work shifts, the platform allows employees to message one another about availability, and enables broader employee scheduling management. Shyft said it will put the additional funding toward furthering product development and innovation.
Shyft's technology is aimed at reducing the amount of time needed to get managers and employees on the same page about work shift swaps and employee schedules. The centralized platform means all workers can see shifts that are available, and an open spot is less likely to go unfilled because someone didn't pick up the phone at the right time, or failed to check another app or social media channel.
The app's objective is to increase productivity throughout retailer operations while eliminating inefficient processes by streamlining technology. While these strategies may be interpreted as internal logistical issues, if a retailer ends up being short-staffed because no one filled in a shift customer experience can be greatly impacted.
Shyft isn't the only company working to help retailers with this kind of workforce management. Convo's Retail Social Collaboration Platform mines similar territory, and has been used by H&M in a deployment effecting 15,000 workers in about 500 of its stores.
That Shyft was able to win over Gap and its affiliated brands as a modestly-funded startup may be a positive sign for its future hopes. The apparel retailer has been aggressive of late on the operational technology front, earlier this week announcing that it was signing with Microsoft Azure for cloud services, including workforce-related features. It's a good bet that more retailers will begin to look closely at how new apps and platforms can help them make more efficient use of their operational resources, including the most important of those resources — people.