Investment notes – Deputy

Led by Tushar Roy.

We’ve invested in Deputy’s US$81m Series B round alongside Institutional Venture Partners, Openview and Equity Venture Partners. Deputy is second-in-command to the “Sheriff”, which in this case is more than 90,000 workplaces globally.

To help you understand why we invested, and to celebrate the impact that Deputy is having, we’re releasing our investment notes.

L-R: Tony Holt, Paul Bassat, Ashik Ahmed, Tushar Roy

L-R: Tony Holt, Paul Bassat, Ashik Ahmed, Tushar Roy

But before we do, we want to call this photo out. One of the things we love about Ashik is that he replicates this photo every time he closes a fundraise. Why do we love it? The team celebrates Deputy’s continued success by putting its customers front and centre (in this case, Gelato Messina, one of Deputy’s first customers).

What is Deputy?

Deputy is the ultimate employee management tool, simplifying scheduling, timesheets, tasks and workplace communication, helping businesses to transform operations and empowering employees to work the way they want.

Deputy connects businesses and employees seamlessly through technology to make work easier and has been used by over 1 million people across 80+ countries.

The business was founded in Australia in 2008 after co-founder Steve Shelley asked Ashik to develop a solution to business problems he experienced while running his former company of 100+ people, providing cleaning and cargo services to airline and freight companies. The software soon became Steve’s “deputy” in the day-to-day running of the business, and together, Ashik and Steve set out to expand the software’s capabilities for other businesses. Today, Deputy has 200+ employees across global offices in Australia, the UK and the US.

A large, growing problem

Shift work is on the rise, in both big and small business.

What your barista or baggage handler is unlikely to strike up a conversation about is that often, managing their schedule, claiming overtime, swapping shifts or dealing with timesheets can be a total nightmare, and an experience largely still stuck in the dark ages of pen and paper, whiteboards, or — if you’re fancy — Excel.

What’s also not often seen is that managing this from the other side of the hotel reception, bar or stock room, is a manager… silently going out of their mind. “Jane only works Tuesdays and Thursdays but wants an extra shift next week. Mike is sick and can’t come in on Tuesday. Annie can work that day but has she already done too many hours this week for her award level?” It’s enough to make your head explode.

This isn’t a small problem:

  • Hourly paid workers account for two-thirds of the global workforce. In the US alone ~107 million people are paid hourly.

  • Small business owners spend ~20% of their time on admin tasks like this — time that could be spent on customers.

  • The complexity of workforce management is increasing as adjacent services specialise and move online: payroll, superannuation, accounting, compliance and risk management, performance management etc. 
    While administrative tasks relating to workforce management can appear simple in isolation (e.g. clocking people in or out of a shift, approving leave, swapping shifts, posting a task), in aggregate they have a disproportionately huge impact on the ability of a business to thrive, because people are central to business success.

Enter Deputy

Deputy’s platform helps any business with hourly-paid workers manage them more efficiently and effectively. And to date, their impact has been hugely impressive:

  • Over 90,000 businesses are now powered by Deputy — whether their business is renting designer clothing in Sydney, running escape rooms in Utah, serving coffee in Cape Town, or providing hospice care in London.

  • They’re serving customers in over 80 countries, from coffee roasters in Honduras, to those chasing the Northern Lights at the edge of the North Pole!

  • Over 1.5 million people have worked using Deputy.

  • They’ve rostered over 200 million shifts — clocking 1.2 billion hours of work on Deputy; facilitating over $30 billion in payroll.

Its product is elegant in its simplicity while being intelligent enough to handle behind the scenes the myriad of complexities of managing people.

Want to clock on for a shift from your mobile phone when you walk into the store? Check. Can’t make it into work and want to see if your mates can cover? Done. Worked overtime on weekends but can’t remember what the hourly rate you’re supposed to be paid is? Sorted. And so much more. And even more to come.

There are many unique things about Deputy that made us love the business.

● The same product can service not only the neighbourhood café with five staff but also companies like NASA, Qantas and others with thousands of hourly-paid workers. It is very rare to find a product that can scale like this to meet such varying demands.
● Its users are its salesforce. Deputy’s shift workers love the product so much that they take it with them to other places where they work shifts. This kind of viral, social-network-like growth is also extremely rare in a SaaS business. 
● Deputy is loved by both shift workers and managers alike and has one of the highest NPS scores we have seen.
● The team has an unerring focus on product-led growth: build a product so delightful that it literally sells itself. It is this focus that has led to Deputy achieving its phenomenal growth without an outbound sales force.
● With 300+ product integrations, Deputy plays nice with other best-in-class tools for payroll, accounting and beyond.

For all these reasons, Deputy is experiencing accelerating growth. It’s not just growing, it’s growing faster.

And the most exciting aspect is that even with many tens of millions of shifts scheduled every year using Deputy, they’re just getting started. With a product that can work “out of the box” almost anywhere, the World is its oyster.

Joining a values-led team

We have got to know Ashik, Steve and the Deputy team over the last few years and have an enormous level of admiration for the way in which they are focused on solving a really important problem for both employers and hourly paid workers around the world.

The team’s passion to create a beautiful product that users fall in love with is infectious.

Deputy holds the potential to become one of the most exciting businesses produced in Australia: locally founded but global in its impact.

It is a values-led organisation which is passionate about being a great place to work and providing great outcomes for its users. We are excited to join the movement to put #everyshiftondeputy!

Congratulations again and happy 10th birthday!

Read Ashik’s blog post on the announcement or check out career opportunities with the team.