A huge portion of New York City’s economy is driven by hourly workers and connecting hourly workers to job opportunities is super critical. Merlin is a socially-driven tech startup that matches hourly workers with employers through its customizable job search platform. On the platform, employers can narrow down their search to applicants who live close to the workplace and possess certain skills. These features can help curtail the recruitment process to less than 24 hours for employers in need of hourly talent.
AlleyWatch spoke to cofounders Güimar Vaca Sittic and Borja Moreno de los Rios about Merlin’s recent launch in NYC and its exciting mission. Current backers of Merlin the company include prominent investors including General Catalyst Partners, Firstmark Capital, FJ Labs, Uncork Capital, Greylock Partners, DN Capital, RRE Ventures, Hummingbird Ventures, SV Angel, Thomas Stafford (Partner at DST), Tekton Ventures, NovelTMT, Jonathan Golden (Former Head of Product at Airbnb), Morgan Hermand-Waiche (CEO at Adoreme) and Paul Gardi (Advisory Board at AMEX, former CEO at AskJeeves).
Tell us about the product or service that Merlin offers.
Merlin is a jobs platform that matches hourly talent with employers who are looking to hire. As New York City’s leading mobile app for hourly employment and the fastest-growing mobile job board for blue-collar talent, more than half a million candidates and thousands of companies have found each other on Merlin.
Merlin uses a matching algorithm to connect hourly talent and employers looking to hire to make the hiring experience a lot more efficient from start to finish. Unlike other job-listing sites like Craigslist, candidates and employers don’t have to spend hours sifting through irrelevant job postings or unqualified candidates. To begin with, the applicants that employers review are only applicants that are qualified and that live at a reasonable distance from the job. This means that employers will not have to spend time reviewing candidates that will not work out at the end. Also, employers have exclusive access to our unique search tool which gives them access to hundreds of thousands of candidates immediately. As an employer, you can search for very specific characteristics that you are looking for and Merlin will show you active candidates that match your criteria. There’s no need to wait for the right candidate to apply, you can do a quick search and immediately start a conversation with dozens of potential employees. On average it can take candidates up to 1.5 months to find a job, but Merlin can reduce the search time to a day, as the average candidate is matched with an employer within 19 hours.
What market does Merlin target and how big is it?
Merlin’s target market is the 100M hourly workers in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 66% of workers are blue collar.
Why focus on the hourly jobs market?
Blue-collar staffing is a large and lucrative area of the recruitment industry worth about $400B a year. While job search apps specific to these positions exist, they are not operating in the US market, so we wanted to create a platform to help hourly job candidates more permanent positions and the peace of mind that the right full-time job comes with. On the employer side, the reality is that turnover is a big issue in this industry. Our platform is designed to prioritize the connection of a job with a candidate based on the proximity which makes employees stay longer at that specific job. This gives employers more stability for their business to make them thrive.
What is the business model?
Right now, New York employers and candidates can make their profiles for free on Merlin.
What inspired the start of Merlin?
We wanted to build a socially-driven tech startup so we decided to create a platform dedicated to improving the hiring process for the hourly job market and celebrating the important work they do every day. While most tech companies are designed for the 1%, we were inspired to create a product that provides better guidance and access to the jobs that give hourly workers a greater sense of personal growth and financial security.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Merlin is currently live only in the New York metro area but we’ll be expanding to our second city towards the end of this year. Our second city will likely be in the East Coast region, but we haven’t decided yet. We are eager to take Merlin to every city and town across the US to help as many workers and businesses as possible.
We’ve been very fortunate to have amazing people around the table since day one. As a company coming out of FJ Labs, we’ve had the support and guidance of the team as well as the community of founders and CEOs around it. If there’s one piece of advice we can give to other founders it would be to always prioritize people in the form of hires and users. If you truly focus on building a product and a company that people love you will be a step closer to your goal as a founder.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
The Mayor’s Office! Our users are the engine that makes New York work and be the amazing city it is. We would love to work closely with the local government to help distribute Merlin to every worker in the city to decrease unemployment and employee turnover in businesses.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York has been our home and what better place to start helping people than at home? We launched initially in New York because it’s here where it all began. We spent months and countless hours talking to our users to understand the nuances of their needs and build an experience tailored to them.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
The thousands that have given us a chance and chosen Merlin for their hiring needs. We don’t pick favorites 🙂