The COVID-19 pandemic closed down restaurants, stores, event venues and countless other businesses, costing millions of people their jobs.
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With 1.5 million people filing for first-time unemployment benefits for the week ending June 6, finding a job is no easy task. That’s why Atlanta-based startup Steady wants to help–and it raised $15 million in a Series B round to do so.
The premise of Steady is to help low-to-moderate-income workers figure out how they can make more money. The company acquired data and analyzed it to determine how people earn money and tie that information back to their skills, experience and geography to help fill in income gaps and better spend their time. For example, if a person is earning $11 per hour working at a store, Steady will point out if a store across the street is hiring for a role that requires similar tasks, but pays more.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic, the company basically had to take a step back and reassess.
“Right now, people just don’t have money, period,” CEO Adam Roseman said, pointing out that although many people who lost their jobs receive unemployment benefits, the CARES Act is set to expire at the end of July.
Now, the company’s goal is to give people a “fighting chance” to find work by directing them to opportunities where they have the highest likelihood of getting hired. That means weeding out postings for jobs at companies that have frozen hiring, for example. Steady, along with investor Shaquille O’Neal, introduced the Steady Together Initiative, which distributed $2 million in emergency cash grants for members who lost their income.
A lot of the new funding will be invested in the company’s data architecture, and the rest will be used to address other challenges associated with not having a job (think things like telemedicine support without a subscription fee).
“I think [our] No. 1 (goal) is worker impact,” Roseman said. “The lives of the working-class American population are just getting smashed.” Since Steady is a for-profit company, its secondary goal is aligning its revenue stream with user impact, he said.
The company makes money through partnerships in its personalized marketplace for financial services and benefits. Steady partners with companies that provide services like no-fee digital checking accounts. If, for example, Steady sees in a member’s bank account that they are paying a lot of overdraft fees, it will refer the member to a no-fee digital checking account and split the referral fee with the member. Steady has products for reducing costs like care insurance and student loan payments, and will be announcing a consumer-facing revenue stream in the near future, Roseman said.
The company sees itself as something like a 21st century version of a union, Roseman said. When it goes out to negotiate benefits and partnerships, there’s strength in the fact that the Steady community has 2 million members.
In terms of growth, Steady has doubled its user base over the last nine months, reaching the 2 million member mark. Its first quarter revenue for 2020 has already surpassed revenue for all of 2019, and it’s continuing to accelerate, Roseman said.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias