Brigadier raises $30 million for its free marketplace for hospitality and care workers • TechCrunch

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French startup Brigadier has raised a new $30 million funding round (€28 million) as well as more than $5 million in debt. The company operates a marketplace for restaurants, caterers, private clinics, retirement homes and hospitals to find freelancers for short-term assignments.

Balderton Capital is leading the round, with Wendell Group, Serena Capital and Square Capital also participating.

The initiative has started in the hospitality industry in France for restaurants to fill gaps in their schedules with extra waiters, chefs or bartenders. A few years ago, care workers developed into a secondary industry.

“Our market is a job that requires certain skills and you can’t do it sitting at a desk,” Brigad founder and CEO Florent Malbranche told me.

In this short definition, Brigadier differentiates itself from highly skilled freelance marketplaces for business consultants and developers such as Malt and Comet. It also doesn’t compare to temp staffing agency startups like Side and Jobbandtalent because you can’t become a sous-chef or nurse without enough training – sometimes you even need a diploma.

While the healthcare industry is a recent addition, it already represents 25% of missions on Brigad. And if you look at job offers from partner institutions alone, that percentage is even higher.

On this front, Brigade competes with Mediflash, another French freelance marketplace for healthcare professionals. “We have a good relationship with them. We’ve talked since the beginning and we don’t cover the same regions today,” Malbranche said.

The healthcare and hospitality industries both face similar talent shortage issues. People who work in these industries say they are not treated well and have to work long hours for low pay. That’s why many employees decide to quit their jobs and become freelancers.

This way, they can manage their schedule better, generate more revenue, and create unique relationships with restaurants, caterers, and clinics. “A change in working conditions is needed. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry has been hit harder than the hospitality industry,” Malbranche said.

If you talk to hospital staff, they will tell you about the vicious circle that leaves people fed up, which leads to more work for the other person, which leads to more people leaving. Brigade is a solution to a problem that should not exist, but the problem is still growing.

“We have more or less the same growth rate for both industries. Between 2021 and 2022 we grew by 2.5x between both verticals,” Malbranche said.

There are 10,000 organizations that have used Brigade in the past. On average, they give one mission per week. When you post a job, Brigadier forwards this offer directly to about two dozen people.

Only people who live in the area and have the right skills will receive the message. The mission should pay more than what freelancers want.

After that, the first person to answer is matched with the company. “The average talent receives a hundred missions a month,” Malbranche said. Brigad takes a 20% discount on every transaction. The startup has managed 200,000 missions by 2022.

With today’s funding, the company wants to grow its marketplace with more organizations and more freelancers. It wants to double the two industries in the two main markets – France and England

If things go well, Brigade may seek additional funding in a year or two to expand into new markets. For now, it’s time to recruit 100 people to grow the marketplace.

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