Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Evolv, Using Big Data to Make Hourly Workers More Profitable, Lands $15 Million

evolv_logo_featureHow productive are your employees?

In a world where large companies are always looking for ways to keep costs under control and boost what flows to the top and bottom lines of a P&L statement, it’s a fair question to ask, especially when there’s an hourly workforce involved, whether it’s in retail, a call center or a customer support situation.

Hourly employees make up about 60 percent of the workforce in the U.S. These are often high-turnover jobs, where management is difficult and the results uneven. But the fact that it’s so big makes it a prime target for the kind of predictive analytics that are becoming so fashionable these days.

That’s exactly what Evolv does, and today it announced it had landed a $15 million Series D round of venture capital funding led by VantagePoint Capital Partners. Previous investors GGV Capital, LightSpeed Venture Partners and Khosla Ventures also participated in the round.

Evolv uses big-data techniques to predict whether or not an employee is likely to be a successful, effective and efficient employee. Among other things, it tracks which training techniques work and which don’t, charts overall performance of the workforce and creates profiles of employees who perform well and those who don’t.

In the end, it’s about keeping employees working for the company over a long period of time, shrinking that turnover rate. After all, it’s expensive to bring on new employees and train them. On that front, Evolv has some stats to brag about: Its customers, on average, see the tenure of their hourly employees increase by about 15 percent. And its 19 customers, with a combined workforce of about 750,000, see an average improvement of $10 million to the profit and loss statement. Xerox is one customer that has been publicly named so far.

It’s not as though other companies haven’t sought to tackle this problem with software. Evolv CEO Max Simkoff told me that when Evolv wins a deal, it’s usually displacing on-premise software from the likes of SAP, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft or SAS. Collectively those five control more than half of the market for performance management and analytics tools.

“The first generation of these apps are cumbersome and clunky to use,” Simkoff said. “A lot of them focused on creating really big, complex reporting engines. We set out to build an insight engine. Companies don’t want reports. They wan’t conclusions.”

As part of the investment, Bill Harding, a managing director at VantagePoint, will join Evolv’s board.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus