7shifts closes $10 million series A round to bring automation, compliance to restaurant management

Boesch - 7shifts

Saskatoon-based restaurant labour management platform, 7shifts, announced Thursday it has raised $10 million USD in a Series A funding round led by Napier Park Financial Partners. Participants included Teamworthy Ventures, Relay Ventures and former CEO of Snagajob, Peter Harrison.

Founded in 2014, 7shifts’ restaurant employee scheduling solution is used by more than 250,000 restaurants across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. It uses AI to forecast staffing needs based on everything from historical sales to the weather. The company says this prediction software can improve a restaurant’s efficiency and profitability. According to 7shift, its platform has scheduled nearly 100 million shifts for more than 16 million restaurant workers in the US, and collectively saved restaurateurs over a cumulative $200 million in labour costs.

“The funding deal represents the biggest cloud-tech deal in Saskatchewan since 2013.”

“As someone who grew up in a family of restaurant operators, I know first-hand the pain points restaurant managers face in managing staff,” said Jordan Boesch, CEO at 7shifts. “From the beginning, 7shifts has been intently focused on delivering innovative products to make life easier for restaurants, managers and employees alike.”

The company also raised $4.5 million in funding in August 2017, as well as $1.2 million in seed funding in May 2016. It joined the Lazaridis Institute in Waterloo in September 2017.

Boesch told The Globe and Mail that the company plans to use the latest round’s funds to develop its sales and product development teams in Saskatoon and Toronto. The Saskatoon office will focus on helping restaurant operators stay compliant with local labour laws, and while 7shifts initially served independent restaurants, Boesch said he hopes to partner with larger chains.

“Filling the schedule is not only the single biggest cost but also the single biggest pain point for almost every restaurant yet optimizing quality of service, expense and compliance has never been harder. This is a problem ripe for machine-learning and for tighter integration with the on-demand economy,” said Harrison. “I believe 7shifts is better positioned than anyone to capitalize on these trends and to solve a growing problem for operators large and small.”

The funding deal is a breakthrough for Saskatchewan. According to The Globe and Mail, it represents the biggest cloud-tech deal in the province since 2013, when the Canadian tech sector began to reestablish itself after the 2008 financial crisis. Encouraged by regional accomplishments of Winnipeg-based food-delivery service SkipTheDishes, Boesch said he believes the Prairies have great potential for generating Canadian startups.

“Because we have such a hard-working mentality in the Prairies, the aggression and ability to learn here outweighs a lot of larger areas where people take startups for granted,” he said to the Globe.

Image courtesy 7shifts.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast