This morning Zira raised $3.1 million in a seed round. The startup provides software that helps businesses schedule their hourly workforce in a more intelligent manner.
Software often fails to reach non-information workers, so it's nice to see a startup focus on a somewhat forgotten demographic. General Catalyst and Abstract Ventures led the round, which also saw participation from a number of angel investors.
This is the company's first known investment, according to Crunchbase data.
The technology that Zira sells looks neat from the outside. It can automatically set team schedules, taking a task that can be rife with favoritism or bias and making it a bit more standardized. Its service can also handle clocking in and out for workers, and provides a chat feature to help groups of workers stay in sync.
And most interesting of all, Zira's platform has an automation feature, allowing managers to create triggers to replace missing staff for a shift, or provide rewards to the workers who come top in a category, like attendance.
Zira's service costs $4 per employee, per month, or $3 if paid annually. It also executes custom deals with larger clients, for whom we presume discounts can be had.
To better understand the round itself, TechCrunch asked Zira what the new capital will unlock for its business. Tito Goldstein, a founder at the company, responded that the funds will allow his company to scale its development team, "hone" its product and work on its sales function.
"We started with a product that was meeting customer expectations and winning deals against incumbent platforms," Goldstein said in an email, "but now we want to really differentiate ourselves." Hiring more developers should help the company move more quickly in that direction, and without money it's rather hard to hire engineers.
On the sales front, Goldstein said that after depending on "referral or local connections" to secure customers, COVID has made those channels "increasingly difficult." That means Zira needs a more traditional sales function, and capital.
Zira declined to share growth metrics, saying that it hopes to do so by the end of the year. That means we'll check back in with Zira in a few months to get the data. Until then, it's a fun startup with a neat idea. Let's see how far it gets with its new capital.