Brigad, a French startup, has successfully raised €33M in its Series B funding round. The financing was led by Balderton Capital and included participation from Wendel Group, Serena Capital, and Square Capital.
The task of finding work continues to be challenging, particularly for self-employed individuals. This issue is especially pronounced in the hospitality industry. The company is aiming to address this challenge by providing a viable solution.
Brigad, which is headquartered in Paris, has developed a platform that links skilled self-employed hospitality professionals with high-paying short-term work opportunities at leading hospitality businesses.
As the need for more flexible work arrangements grows and the hospitality industry attempts to shift away from its reputation for grueling work hours, the startup is providing a fresh perspective on an age-old issue by leveraging technology.
Linking Self-Employed Hospitality Experts
The hospitality industry is notorious for high employee turnover, with talented professionals often refusing long and demanding hours. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitality businesses in the United Kingdom and France were forced to close their doors, exacerbating the talent shortage in the industry. In response to this, Brigad has stepped in to fill the gap.
Florent Malbranche, CEO and co-founder of Brigad, believes that a lack of recognition, challenging working conditions, and low earnings are the primary reasons behind the talent drain affecting the hospitality industry. To support hospitality professionals in finding fulfilling work within their field, Malbranche, along with Alexandre Rovetto and Jean Lebrument, launched Brigad in 2016.
The concept is straightforward: hospitality businesses can advertise one or multiple job opportunities for short- or long-term positions. Brigad then matches these positions with hospitality professionals possessing the right qualifications. The startup claims that 7 out of 10 users would have left the industry if they had not found the platform.
Leading hotels and restaurants, including The Ritz, Isabel Mayfair, Mosaic Pubs, and Sketch, among others, use the platform. Malbranche hopes that by addressing the ability to plan ahead, income, and working conditions, the platform will make hospitality work more attractive to a wider range of skilled professionals.
Shifting Talent Dynamics
The desire for a flexible work environment has become one of the biggest shifts in the talent landscape since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the hospitality industry being fragmented, Brigad is aiding self-employed professionals in finding flexible work through its platform.
According to Malbranche, a lot of positive feedback received by Brigad is due to the flexibility offered to professionals, which has only been made possible by the company’s advanced technology.
He believes that the platform’s ability to connect professionals with on-demand job offers is what allows them to bridge the gap between supply and demand.
Furthermore, the startup is also making flexible work safe by ensuring that businesses and professionals connect in safe and secure conditions, Malbranche adds.
Plans for Growth and Expansion in the Works
The UK hospitality industry is facing a staffing crisis, with one in three businesses shutting “one or more days a week” due to staff shortages, according to a survey by UK hospitality trade bodies. Brigad, a platform connecting skilled professionals with on-demand job opportunities, is capitalising on this opportunity for growth and expansion.
With 20,000 missions matched each month, Brigad’s mission growth on its platform increased by 170% in 2022 over the previous year, with 2.7 times growth between January 2021 and January 2022. Brigad now aims to become “an essential tool for management teams” and the platform through which hospitality businesses manage their staffing needs and complete payroll as well.
With €33M in Series B funding, Brigad plans to offer more tools and events through its platform and onboard smaller independent businesses. Currently operating in eight European cities including Paris, London, Manchester, and Birmingham, Brigad plans to expand in France and the UK before moving to other countries. Brigad also plans to diversify into other industries.
To achieve its target of a potential market of 100 million people in Europe, Brigad intends to add 100 positions across sales, tech and product, increasing its headcount to 250 from 150 employees. With proven technology and investment support from Balderton Capital, Brigad is poised for significant growth and expansion.