As the gig economy continues to grow, Sense wants to make sure contract workers have access to their temporary employer’s community and company culture.
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The San Francisco company connects contractors to the companies they’re signed on with through SMS or WhatsApp, and it has just raised a $13.5 million Series B led by Google Ventures. Accel, which led Sense’s prior round, also joined in.
Anil Dharni, the CEO and co-founder of Sense, cites a statistic as proof of why they’re important: contractors are going to be about 40 percent of the U.S. workers (this includes contractors, consultants, independent contractors, gig workers). Even this number might not be completely accurate, as it is increasingly difficult to measure the grey employment area.
Sense’s automated communication platform stays with a worker throughout their job cycle. They keep it hyper personal, Dharni says, to get insight into worker motivation and engagement. They sell the platform to staffing agencies across the country and charge per contractor.
Sense taps into a personal relationship Dharni believes is forgotten as gig workers continue to make up more and more of the job economy.
“Something is lost when it comes to the software and communication when caring about this talent pool,” Dharni told Crunchbase News. “And that’s where we see the opportunity.”
Dharni explained that part of the appeal of being a contractor is that you can avoid the stringent confines of a 9-to-5 job.
However, adding a tech solution that makes workers accessible whenever and wherever they are could threaten that flexibility. After all, many companies, especially in tech, walk a tight rope between the legal definition of contractor and employee.
Dharni says that Sense more so works for companies that want to manage their contractors, and contractors that want a closer relationship with their company. Sense’s research shows that 30 percent of contractors’ end goal is to get a full-time job at their company.
“They care about how they are treated, their ability to impress and get a full time job at the end of it,” he said. He also says that staffing companies, notorious for high turnover, are able to retain more employees in their database with Sense’s platform.
With this new round, the company’s funding is up to $23.5 million. It’ll use the cash to up its customers from 200 and build out more products. Sense’s idea is that, as time goes on, contractors will demand more than just a paycheck, they’ll ask for communication, too.
Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias