Written by Jerred Ziegler.
325,000 people in the U.S. choose to drive for Uber, and 1.7 million sell homemade goods on Etsy. With mobile technology, making some extra cash through apps like these is as easy as a few taps on your smartphone. UpShift in Cincinnati, Ohio, has applied this concept to hourly workers, developing a platform that allows them to work when and where they choose.
“There’s a growing cultural phenomenon called the ‘gig economy,’ where people are just booking work as they need it. We’ve seen it from apps like Uber and Airbnb.” said Alex Pantich, UpShift’s co-founder and COO. “UpShift gives hourly workers that same technological convenience. It offers on-demand help to companies while allowing people to pick up shifts when it works for them.”
UpShift’s platform allows businesses to login and post the hours, location and details of a job quickly, as soon as vacancies arise. Users can pick up those shifts 24/7 on their smartphones. Businesses can use UpShift to find help on-demand, paying a flat rate for each employee once they’ve completed a shift. Companies receive an invoice for work completed and review employee performance, which users can post to their profile to build their reputation on the platform.
“Maybe a stay-at-home mom wants to save up for a family vacation, or a college student wants to earn some spending money without overloading their schedule with a full-time job,” said Pantich. “They can use UpShift to work as much or as little as they’d like.”
Pantich created UpShift after starting an IT company in 2015 that develops mobile apps and websites. One of his clients was serial entrepreneur Steve Anevski, who said that his biggest hurdle was trying to find people to fill in on short notice when an employee called off. Pantich and Anevski partnered to start UpShift to help companies easily avoid being short-handed.
Pantich and Anevski were part of The Brandery’s 2016 class, a nationally-ranked accelerator and Ohio Third Frontier partner in southwest Ohio, where they were able to turn their concept into a business plan and build the platform. Upon completing the four-month accelerator program, The Brandery helped them find their first office space in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Business mentors connected them with local companies that could use UpShift’s service along with potential investors.
UpShift now has two offices in Cincinnati, and a team that is focused on getting more businesses using the service and workers signed up. The company started their service with strategic partners in the Cincinnati area who helped test the platform and give feedback.
“We have worked with world-class business mentors here, and area corporations and companies have been more than willing to sit down with us and help to make our product stronger,” said Pantich. “We’ve been adding users and gaining revenue each month as we expand, and the Cincinnati market is providing a great testing ground and launch pad for a nationwide expansion.”