The team behind Cincinnati-based Upshift wanted to help employers fill service industry jobs quicker, increasing the ease of the hiring process for both the employee and the business itself.
So they developed a technology to do just that.
“Upshift’s next generation platform gives you the freedom to find work when you want it and businesses to find help when they need it,” their website says.
It works like this: Employee users are called “Upshifters.” These Upshifters use the company’s app, where they can choose when and where they want to work. For employers, the app looks to remove the “HR headache” of vetting and hiring workers by ensuring that Upshifters are W-2 employees of Upshift itself, “meaning [they] handle everything HR for you.”
“Our goal is by the end of 2020, we’re going to be the largest employer in Ohio.”
Upshift co-founder and COO Alex Pantich said that this vetting process is something the company takes seriously. Users have to come into the company’s office to take a personality test and fill out some paperwork, as well as pass a short interview.
“We’re pretty selective with who we bring on,” Pantich said. “Just because we want to make sure our clients have a great experience.”
The software company has come a long way since its beginnings on the west side of Cincinnati, where co-founder and CEO Steve Anevski grew up amongst the many bars and restaurants his family owned.
When he was 21, Anevski opened his own bar. Around four years later, he was managing close to 200 hourly employees. The struggle was staffing, or “getting the right person to the right place at the right time,” according to Pantich. “Sometimes you have too many people. Sometimes you don’t have enough.”
Together, Anevski, Pantich and additional co-founder Nikola Jordanovski built the Upshift platform. Not long after, they were accepted into a cohort at a local accelerator, the Brandery. The experience allowed them to sit down and focus solely on UpShift, as previously each had their own side-hustle.
As the worked on developing their company, they found that bars and restaurants weren’t the only potential market for their software: It would also work in the hospitality and light industrial industries. As a result, they gained a foothold in several popular Cincinnati hotels, like the Hyatt, Marriott and Holiday Inn, as well as the Duke Convention Center and the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.
That wasn’t Upshift’s sole success. In a July Cincinnati Business Courier report, the company projected that Upshift would be worth $1B within the next five years.
It’s just the beginning for Upshift, which officially debuted in 2016. “Our goal is by the end of 2020, we’re going to be the largest employer in Ohio,” Pantich said.
Additionally, they also are considering Cleveland, Indianapolis and Louisville as potential new markets. White-collar jobs are also a possibility, as they are looking hard at data entry and call centers.