WorkHound raises $500K to boost driver retention platform

WorkHound's platform started as a way to help trucking companies retain drivers. (David Guo/Flickr)

Iowa-born startup WorkHound has raised $500,000 to “put rocket fuel behind” its worker retention platform for the trucking industry and expand into other high-turnover industries.

“We see value behind what we do in the trucking industry. Our goal is to continue to grow in trucking, but at the same time we’re starting to explore how can we create value in other verticals as well,” co-founder Max Farrell told Clay & Milk.

San Francisco-based Right Side Capital Management led the round.

Co-founded by Farrell and Andrew Kirpalani, WorkHound’s platform centers around giving drivers a way to communicate suggestions or complaints to management, who can then respond or offer feedback.

workhound-founders-photo
WorkHound founders Andrew Kirpalani, left, and Max Farrell. (Flow Media/Courtesy of WorkHound)

“In trucking, like many other industries, a driver can be happy on Tuesday but be fed up on Wednesday and quit by the end of the week. It’s that volatile,” Farrell said. “It’s really important for companies to address issues at the speed of business and that’s the platform that we built.”

WorkHound started with trucking because of the industry’s high turnover rate.

Large and small truckload fleets each had turnover rates of about 80 percent in 2016, according to The American Trucking Association. That’s the lowest turnover rate the industry has seen since 2011, the association said.

Right Side Managing Director Dave Lambert said the firm invested because of WorkHound’s founding team and the product’s initial results for customers.

“If they are successful at this, WorkHound will improve the work experience and job satisfaction of tens of thousands of truckers and will drive meaningful financial benefits to the employers,” he said in an email.

WorkHound launched in Des Moines about two years ago and Farrell and Kirpalani quickly entered Omaha’s Straight Shot accelerator. The two then went through the logistics-focused Dynamo Accelerator in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2016 and were also clients of Square One DSM.

Dynamo’s venture fund and Twelve19 Ventures were also investors in the $500,000 fundraise, Farrell said.

The company, Farrell said, now has six full-time employees. Software development is handled in Des Moines, while sales and growth operations are focused in Chattanooga.

The next six months will focus on “stabilization and sales,” he said.

Farrell said he and Kirpalani see a future where WorkHound’s platform can play a role in the oncoming automation of trucking and other industries.

“We see technology like that and we’re actually really excited about it … it’s because autopilots didn’t replace pilots and technology is not going to replace the driver, but it is going to evolve what the role of the driver is or how the driver functions,” Farrell said.

Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at mpatane@clayandmilk.com.