Jyve, a platform providing on-demand merchandising labor in grocery stores, has announced $35 million in funding to support its growth, and hired Anu Gupta, a veteran of Safeway and Target Corp., as its new chief operating officer.
Jyve connects a pool of contract “gig” workers to retailers and brands through an app in what the company is calling a “skills-as-a-service” offering. According to the company, this approach can combat deleveraging effects of e-commerce growth in stores and reduce the costs of workforce turnover and training.
Contract workers through companies such as Instacart are already providing grocery retailers cost-effective means of tackling growing customer demand for services such as personal shopping and delivery. Press materials position Jyve as an alternative to those companies, allowing retailers to “own the experience.” Demand for job-specific help on the sales floor has generated more than $400 million in bookings from retailers, brands and distributors, it said.
Jyve workers accomplish a variety of in-store jobs (which the company calls “Jyves”), including merchandising, stocking, ordering, display building, brand ambassadorship, shelf auditing and e-commerce fulfillment. As Jyves are completed, companies can gain real-time insight into demand and performance.
The company, based in San Francisco, has been operating in “stealth mode” for the past three years but now has workers in 31 states. It says its new leadership team and $35 million in backing will support growing demand.
“Retail isn’t dying, it’s changing, and brands that are thriving are the ones investing in their in-store experience as well as owning their e-commerce initiatives,” said Brad Oberwager, CEO and founder of Jyve, in a statement. “The question we must ask, then, is how do we fill this labor shortage and also enable people to refine special skills that are multidimensional and rewarding?”
Gupta most recently was Target’s SVP of strategy execution and operational excellence, where she was responsible for enterprisewide transformation across new brands, supply chains, food and beverage, guest experience and consumer insights. Gupta has 25 years of experience, including a stint at Safeway where she led retail business services from 2005 to 2008, according to information on LinkedIn.