It’s no surprise that remote work has been top of mind among both employers and employees for some time now. Two years into this pandemic, people have gotten comfortable with working from home either all or most of the time — and even prefer it now — prompting long-standing job search sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter (as well as Built In) to roll out new remote and hybrid work search features.
Now, there’s a younger player taking advantage of the remote work boom: Instant Teams, a talent marketplace designed specifically to connect military families with remote work. The startup announced this week it closed on a $13 million Series A led by Tiger Global, and is in the midst of some massive growth.
You may be thinking, ‘military families? Why military families specifically?’ But Instant Teams’ co-founders Erica McMannes and Liza Rodewald — both of whom are long-time military spouses — argue that this is an “untapped” source of highly skilled workers. The startup’s proprietary technology is specifically designed to provide companies with remote-friendly jobs to a pipeline of “ready-to-work, globally located candidates,” while at the same time providing them with the necessary support to manage a remote team.
“Our technology and community make what we are doing very unique,” Rodewald told Built In via email “[A] labor marketplace operating like Instant Teams doesn’t exist, which is what makes it so compelling to investors, customers and the military spouses we serve.”
McMannes says the military (and military spouse) community is just about as tight knit as one can get. It’s a group of people from all walks of life supporting each other, with a “common bond and lifestyle understanding.” However, it’s a transient life, which makes finding consistent work difficult. McMannes has moved 12 times in the past 20 years, while Rodewald has moved six times in the last seven years. Both have had very successful careers in their own right, but they noticed that wasn’t always the case with other military spouses.
“The constant change of environment is both thrilling and challenging as military families,” McMannes told Built In via email. “Most challenging for spouses specifically is access to careers and work that not only move with them but also allows progression over time.”
Instant Teams is designed to remedy that, while at the same time providing companies with talent that is not only “remote-certified,” but also quite diverse. The startup says more than 90 percent of the candidates who have found work on its platform are women, and more than 50 percent “identify as part of a minority group.”
Instant Teams says it has grown 346 percent in just the last year, and counts large companies like Expensify, Amazon, Walmart and even the Department of Defense among its customers. And all of this has been accomplished with a completely remote team. In fact, Instant Teams has been remote-first ever since it was founded in 2016. Since then, McMannes says it has been able to “thrive,” and even help other companies adjust and adapt to this new normal.
“Instant Teams’ ability to scale and generate revenue in the labor market with their innovative technology, while creating daily social impact, is a win-win situation,” Sam Harland, a partner at Tiger Global, said in a statement. “Liza and Erica are building a unique platform and we’re thrilled to partner with them on the next stage of the journey.”
Looking ahead, Instant Teams will use this fresh funding to continue building out its platform and growing its team, specifically its C-suite. Rodewald says McMannes will become the company’s chief people officer, and they will be hiring a COO, CMO and CFO soon. Overall, she says the team will likely double in the next year.