In a world that is increasingly obsessed with productivity and a shrinking number of jobs, Rita, a startup, is giving small businesses a new way to get a boost.
In the last six months, the company has raised $50 million in venture capital from investors including Google Ventures, Facebook, and Union Square Ventures.
For a small business to go public, a $50-million round would require about 100 companies to raise at least $100 million.
That’s an ambitious target for a startup that started in 2008 and now has more than 2,000 employees.
But Rita has managed to attract the attention of investors like Facebook, which in December agreed to buy it for $5 billion.
It’s the most ambitious venture round by a small company since Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2012 for $3.4 billion.
The deal has created an environment that says small businesses can grow quickly and attract the kind of attention that Silicon Valley firms like Facebook and Google have been chasing.
Rita CEO and co-founder Mike Bostock says the company is building a product that can help small businesses.
“We’re building something that can really change the way small businesses are being built and how they’re valued in a global context,” he said.
“It’s not just a new product.
It has the potential to make a big difference.”
For a start-up, it’s hard to think of a better target for growth than a fast-growing startup.
The average employee turnover in the United States is nearly 60 days, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“That’s a huge amount of time that is wasted on people that are doing things that don’t pay them enough, that are not creating value for the people who are doing those things,” said Michael Gartner, a partner at the law firm Davis Polk & Harriman who specializes in small business.
“You’re basically wasting all that money that could be used for other things.”
The idea behind Rita’s product is to make small businesses more agile and profitable by allowing them to hire freelancers to handle tasks that aren’t always covered by existing contractors.
This is a new and challenging frontier for small businesses, as most of them are still finding their footing in a shrinking economy.
But the founders are aiming to build a technology platform that can automate the process of hiring employees and find them a new job with lower fees and more flexible work schedules.
The company has already hired more than 100 freelancers.
Bostocks team is using technology to help them automate the hiring process.
For example, if someone has a question, the team can ask them on a chat app, and the freelancer can reply in a few minutes.
Bosch and other founders hope their platform will become the go-to solution for businesses like theirs, where a person can find the right person in a company and be assured of an effective contract, while also avoiding hiring a temp.
“Our goal is to build an open platform that will be able to connect people to the best and brightest talent that exists,” Bostocker said.
He’s hoping to have the product available in a matter of months.