Staffy hires new head of operations, looks to US expansion

Staffy, a startup that connects employers with employees in the hospitality and healthcare sectors, is doing a bit of staffing up itself. The company announced that Andrea Diamond is Staffy’s new head of operations.

As head of operations, Diamond will manage Staffy’s top strategic priority, United States (US) expansion. In the first half of 2022, Staffy is planning to offer its platform in New York City.

“Now we’re aiming our sights to south of the border once again but in a completely different sector.”

Diamond will also work to define the company’s overall strategic business priorities, oversee and manage marketplace health, and lead the firm’s growing operations team.

A founding member of Airbnb’s Canada team, Diamond spent six years leading teams in growth, operations, and real estate.

“Expansion to the US is key to Staffy’s long-term growth strategy so I can think of no better leader than Andrea Diamond to take on this mission-critical task,” said Peter Faist, founder and CEO of Staffy. “Our model of helping health care organizations fill their on-demand and short-term staffing gaps is timely and relevant across all borders as health care organizations grapple with talent shortages.”

Faist told BetaKit that when Staffy set out to find a head of operations the company specifically looked for marketplace-type companies like Uber, Instacart and Airbnb, and for someone who had experience in helping with their growth.

“We’re at a point where we are in our growth stage, and we want to expand pretty rapidly,” Faist said. “Somebody who understands marketplace dynamics and operations in a marketplace, that was really key for us.”

Staffy launched in 2015 as an online marketplace connecting hospitality businesses with skilled workers, such as dishwashers, line cooks, and servers who were able to fill last-minute shifts.

Pre-pandemic, Staffy had begun expansion into New York and Houston. “Then pandemic hit and we basically lost all of our business, because hospitality didn’t exist any more once COVID-19 hit,” Faist said.

As COVID-19 spread, Staffy swiftly shifted focus to healthcare and hired Sharon Lee Smith, a leading healthcare executive, as COO. Staffy is now helping hospitals, retirement, and long-term care homes fill 5,000 on-demand and short-term shifts per month on average.

“Now we’re aiming our sights to south of the border once again but in a completely different sector,” Faist noted.

The company plans to tackle the New York market again, and then “go from there.”

Faist said Staffy continues to support the hospitality sector because the company believes it has a moral and ethical obligation to help it get back on its feet, and to provide workers on Staffy’s platform extra income as the sector rebounds. But Faist said, “moving forward we’re going to be very much a healthcare-focused company.”

Currently, Staffy is able to fill 95 percent of the shifts it’s given, where traditional placement agencies are only fulfilling 30 to 34 percent, according to Faist. “So if we’re filling those shifts that hospitals or long-term care can’t fill, that means we’re helping to support better healthcare,” Faist said.

Faist noted that through its healthcare staffing, Staffy assisted or directly administered vaccines for COVID-19 to tens of thousands of Canadians. “We’re really proud of the impact we’ve been able to have, and we’re looking to see that continue,” he said.

From the beginning, Staffy has been bootstrapped. Faist planned a seed round in early 2021, but said the startup grew so quickly that its revenues supported its operation. “I hope that trend continues,” Faist said. “It’s been great recently, but the first five years were tough not being publicly funded and bootstrapped instead. But some of those things are starting to pay off now.”

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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