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Shiftgig Raises $22 Million to Match Hourly Workers to Local Jobs

Shiftgig Inc. has raised $22 million in Series B venture funding to expand its mobile marketplace, which connects employers with locally available, and previously vetted, hourly workers.

Renren Inc. led the investment, bringing Shiftgig’s total capital raised to date to $35 million. Additional investors included Chicago Ventures, DRW Venture Capital, GGV Capital, Garland Capital Group, KGC Capital, Pritzker Group, Wicklow Capital and individuals.

GGV Capital Managing Partner Jeff Richards said that although marketplaces that link workers to different types of work abound in the U.S., Shiftgig is tapping into a different trend than others.

“Most workers in the U.S. are hourly workers, not full-time employees or independent freelancers,” he said. “And hourly workers, since Obamacare, have been facing the reality that employers want to keep them to 29 hours a week, so they don’t have to pay health care. They’re looking for new shifts to fill in their income gaps.”

According to the most recent annual report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, among workers who are 16 years and older in the U.S., 58.7%, or 77.2 million, are paid on an hourly basis but aren’t independent freelancers.

Marketplace businesses, like Handy or Thumbtack for housework, TaskRabbit and Fiverr for a range of jobs, and ride-hailing apps like UberX and Lyft, link freelancers directly to consumers.

The largest employers of hourly, or “W-2” workers–leisure and hospitality businesses, food service and retailers–face seasonal spikes that can suddenly add to their labor needs and cost of doing business, said the Chicago company’s co-founder and chief executive, Eddie Lou.