It is exciting and super fun for me to announce our seed investment in Shyft and to welcome the team to our Madrona family.
Shyft serves the huge market of shift workers worldwide – from retail to food service and beyond. They make it very easy for these hourly workers to find someone to cover a shift. It is a real time communication system that has been broadly embraced by users. Workers at 1/3 of Starbucks’ U.S. locations are already on the platform – all driven bottoms up rather than top down.
I first had the opportunity to meet Brett Patrontasch (CEO) and Daniel Chen (CTO) as a part of the most recent TechStars Seattle class. Right from my first interaction, Brett and Daniel were very impressive. Their first company approached this market from a different angle and they learned a lot. They were brave enough to shut it down and take what they learned to build something better. Brett has a strong conviction about this market and is eager to leverage the expertise of his advisors.
Madrona is investing in this seed round because we like the team, see the massive market opportunity and are impressed by their early growth. Shyft’s viral adoption and growth is impressive. For example, Starbucks has hourly workers in their stores on Shyft actively trading shifts each day. One person from McDonald’s tried the app and a day later 70 of her co-workers were on the platform. And though Shyft is primarily focused on workers, store managers are already starting to use the product as having a full staff is crucial for them.
I fundamentally believe that Shyft can build a massive platform and community for hourly shift workers. The app is a game-changing way for hourly workers and managers to coordinate with one another and manage their busy schedules. The mobile first approach speaks directly to the majority of this hourly smartphone-wielding audience.
This is the 5th company we have backed from the Seattle TechStars program. TechStars and all the people who run and support it are an incredibly important part of the Seattle ecosystem that brings together great founders, angel and VC investors and experienced operators. We are glad it is here and love participating.
I am looking forward to working with Brett, Daniel and the Shyft team as they build their team and business.