Growth Rate (y/y)
We estimate that Workrise’s gross revenue has increased nearly 4X from 2018 to $1.1B in 2021. Workrise placed 15,000 contractors in 2020, compared to 8000 in 2019 and estimated it would place 30,000 contractors in 2021. Placements in renewable jobs increased 400% in 2020 to reach 4,500 out of 15,000, compensating for the slower growth in oil and gas placements at 50% in 2020.
Note: All data is estimated using publicly available information. Size of the bubble indicates valuation.
Workrise has raised $752M from Andreessen Horowitz, Bedrock Capital, Founders Fund and Franklin Templeton. It was last valued at $2.9B at a valuation/revenue multiple of 2.5x. This is similar to some of its competitors such as Indeed (2.3x) and Glassdoor (2.3x).
Oil and gas companies need independent contractors for numerous temporary jobs with an average job duration of 6 to 12 months. Before Workrise, these companies relied on traditional staffing agencies to find contractors but faced issues with safety certificate compliances, contracting numerous staffing agencies, and a lack of visibility into the complete contractor pool. For the contractors, it meant high take rates, job opportunities limited by the agency's size, and a slow pen & paper payment process. Workrise disintermediates the traditional agencies through a marketplace with an embedded HR and payroll SaaS.
Workrise onboards contractors and companies by being present in all the major oil and gas basins. It acquired several traditional staffing agencies in the last few years and aggregated their contractors. Companies primarily find contractors through Workrise’s sourcing team. They can also find contractors directly on the marketplace, post jobs, or add their contractors to Workrise.
Workrise handles contractors' payments and takes a cut before depositing it into their bank accounts. It also makes money by offering additional services like next-day payments to contractors.
Workrise comprises two layers: marketplace and workforce management SaaS. SaaS takes care of the contractor lifecycle from contracting to payments. Contractors get a portal which they can use to manage jobs, submit job sheets, upload certificates, and receive payments. Companies also get a portal to onboard contractors, approve job sheets, and manage job postings. The marketplace layer has contractor and company profiles and job listings. Contractor profiles are similar to LinkedIn profiles with a public URL for sharing on email/chats, work experience, ratings for previous work and certificates. Companies can hire a contractor through their profile.
User journey of an independent contractor through Workrise.
The oil and gas contractor market is highly fragmented with numerous traditional staffing agencies, which are the primary competitors for Workrise. A typical staffing agency has ~100 contractors on average and MSA with the service providers/operators in a basin. Apart from staffing, they also provide management services such as background checks, insurance, and payments.
Expected rebound in oil and gas jobs
The US's oil and gas industry jobs are expected to rebound after a historic low of 863,000 in 2021 on the back of rising oil prices. It is estimated that over the next five years, 120,000 jobs will be created. This allows Workrise to leverage its network of 25,000 contractors to fill these jobs.
Renewable energy jobs Renewable energy jobs are expected to grow much faster than the overall jobs market in the US. For instance, wind turbine technician and solar photovoltaic installer jobs are predicted to grow at 60.7% and 50.5%, respectively, and will add 10,000+ jobs by 2029. Workrise is reskilling its contractors through training and certifications to tap into this opportunity. In 2020, it trained 15% of 15,000 placed workers in renewable energy skills.
Selling financial services
Apart from jobs, Workrise offers a few additional services to contractors, such as next-day pay and discounted training. These generate additional revenue and increase contractor stickiness. It can use contractor's payroll data to underwrite financial services such as personal loans, cards, and auto insurance.
Over-indexed on oil and gas
One of the biggest risks for Workrise is that it is over-indexed on the oil and gas industry, which is cyclical, depending on oil prices. It tried to move into construction and defense but exited without success. Reducing its reliance on the oil and gas industry can make its revenue more predictable.
Cash intensive scale-up
Workrise signs up contractors and companies by going from basin to basin. Like Uber, its network and matchmaking are limited by geography, so every time it goes to a new basin/geography, it needs to start from scratch. This way of scaling the business is cash-intensive, and Workrise will need to continue to raise funds to fuel its growth, which could be a challenge in the current market scenario.
Reputational damage after layoffs
Workrise has done two significant layoffs in the last couple of years. In 2020, it laid off 100 employees due to the COVID-linked slowdown, and in 2022, it laid off 450 employees as it exited construction and defense verticals. This has dented Workrise's reputation, with low scores on review portals like Glassdoor and Blind. Workrise may struggle to recruit top-tier talent due to this loss in reputation.
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