Job Search Startups Are Killing It Right Now – Here’s Why

June 22, 2016

5:00 pm

The Muse just raised Series B funding of $16 million in a round led by Icon Ventures. The website is an all-in-one job placement service, featuring a job board, coaching, and videos both teaching skills and profiling what employees can expect at individual companies.

Also announced today: London-based startup Lystable pulled in an $11 million Series A, led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. Lystable‘s software helps legacy businesses better manage their independent contractors, and in total their 60 clients handle 20,000 freelancers a week.

This news comes on the heels of a few major shakeups in the job-search business: earlier this month, Monster acquired job-searching app Jobr for an undisclosed amount. Jobr had raised $14M in 2014.

Why the Interest?

Several comments from those involved in the deals hint at the market forces driving their decisions. First, there’s the move that seems the most obvious: Monster’s expansion to a rapidly growing mobile market. At this point, everyone knows mobile traffic is eclipsing desktop, so the only surprising element to Monster’s move is why it didn’t happen a year earlier. Monster’s President and COO Mark Stoever spoke about the reasoning:

“The Jobr team has done an exceptional job – their app quickly emerged as an industry leader and gained significant traction with key audiences we want to provide greater value to, such as with Millennials….we saw this acquisition as an opportunity to move even faster in the space.”

The Muse’s co-founder and CEO Kathryn Minshew spoke on their massive audience:

“New York and San Francisco are our top two markets, but not by crushing margins. We have users in Charleston, Atlanta, Austin, Denver. We’re also very interested in expanding internationally. The question is timing. […] There are 50 million people using The Muse every year at this point.”

Job Seekers Are Changing

Generational differences are impacting the job-search sector. Stoever’s comments about Millennials mesh with Lystable’s impetus as a “response to the rapid growth of the freelance economy.” Freelancers are on the upswing, and job security isn’t.

At least, that’s the stereotype. Some have challenged the assumption that Millennials switch jobs more often, citing a downward trend between 2000 to 2010. Still, job changes have gone up since, and the number of 20-year-olds, a historically less stable decade for workers, is rising in the workforce. The freelance life, too, is popular among this demographic, thanks to the well-loved perk of flexibility.

Notably, more job changes affects the atmosphere among those focused on their careers: Staying on top of industry trends and honing new skills becomes more important for those who anticipate switching jobs at any time. The Muse is intent on taking advantage of that fact by offering a community to potential job seekers rather than just a search function to locate a job. Startups’ focus on job seekers is a result of the recent shifts in their target audience’s habits

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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