French startup brigade has just raised another $30 million (€28 million) funding round and more than $5 million in debt. The company operates a marketplace for restaurants, caterers, private clinics, retirement homes, and hospitals so they can find freelancers for short-term assignments.
Balderton Capital leads the round, along with Wendel Group, Serena Capital and Square Capital.
The startup originally started catering in France, allowing restaurants to fill gaps in the roster with additional waiters, chefs or bartenders. A few years ago it expanded into a second industry with healthcare workers.
“Our market is work that requires some specific skills that you can’t achieve sitting at a desk,” said Florent Malbranche, co-founder and CEO of Brigad.
This short definition sets Brigad apart from high-skill freelancer marketplaces for business consultants and developers, for example Malt And Comet. It also doesn’t compete with temp agency startups like Side And Job band talent because without a good education you can’t become a sous chef or a nurse – sometimes you even need a diploma.
Although the health care is a recent addition, it already accounts for 25% of the missions on Brigad. And if you only look at work requests from partner institutions, that percentage is even higher.
On this front, Brigad competes with Mediflash, another French freelancer marketplace for health professionals. “We have a good relationship with them. We’ve talked to each other from the beginning and we’re not covering the same regions today,” Malbranche said.
The healthcare and hospitality sectors both face the same talent shortage issues. People who work in these industries say they are not treated well and they have to work long hours for low pay. That is why many employees decide to quit their jobs to become independent freelancers.
This allows them to manage their agenda more precisely, generate more turnover and enter into a different relationship with restaurants, caterers and clinics. “There is a need for change in working conditions. Unfortunately, healthcare is even more affected than the hospitality industry,” says Malbranche.
If you talk to hospital staff, chances are they’ll tell you about the vicious cycle of people quitting because they’re fed up, leading to more work for everyone else, leading to more people leaving. Brigad is a solution to a problem that shouldn’t exist, but the problem is still growing.
“We have more or less the same growth rate for both sectors. We grew 2.5x in both industries between 2021 and 2022,” said Malbranche.
There are 10,000 organizations that have used Brigad in the past. On average, they offer one mission per week. When they post a job, Brigad automatically forwards the offer to about two dozen people.
Only people who live nearby and have the right skills will be notified. The mission should also pay more than what freelancers are looking for.
After that, the first person to answer will be matched with the company. “Talent gets an average of 100 missions per month,” says Malbranche. Brigad gets a 20% discount on every transaction. The startup will have completed 200,000 missions by 2022.
With today’s funding round, the company aims to grow its marketplace with more organizations and more freelancers. It wants to double its two industries in its two core markets: France and the UK
If things go well, Brigad may be looking for more funding to expand into new markets in a year or two. For now, it’s time to recruit 100 people to scale up the marketplace.