Startups to watch: Meet 10 local ventures set to take off in 2022 – Nashville Business Journal

January 31, 2022

Since launching last fall, Nashville Inno — NBJ’s platform geared toward startups, technology and innovation wherever it may be found — has expanded its coverage of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. The following stories highlight startups and founders who are breaking technological ground in their fields, ranging from construction to health care and beyond. Some are at the earliest stages, figuring out how to get off the ground, while others already have significant funding and are ready to scale up. All are worth watching.
Domonique Townsend’s company, We Optimize Work, was founded nearly three years ago, but it feels more relevant than ever. 
In 2019, she decided that working moms of color needed extra support when navigating the workplace — and that their employers needed to learn how to accommodate them. Her startup’s professional development program partners with corporations to shift their focus from hours logged to outcomes earned, thereby giving busy moms more flexibility to set their schedules. We Optimize Work digs into a few questions: How can working moms of color communicate effectively with their managers and co-workers? What do they need to thrive in a corporate setting? How can business leaders more effectively engage these women in workplace conversations and decisions? 
“The theme for the year is teaching leaders to be more than an ally by equipping their women and moms of color with tools to succeed and thrive professionally and personally,” Townsend said.  
The idea echoes conversations that have sparked during the Covid-19 pandemic about burnout, work-life balance, gender and racial inequality and more. Throughout the past two years in particular, Black Americans have carried a heavy burden as more instances of police brutality became front-and-center, while the pandemic kept decimating normal life and creating new twists and turns of psychological strain. Meanwhile, childcare responsibilities fell disproportionately on working women, leading to many moms quitting the workforce, which Townsend says costs companies millions of dollars. 
Her goal is to make that scenario less likely by increasing awareness and creating a toolkit for the modern workplace. Townsend, an engineer by trade with 12 years of experience, has her own experience with navigating the office as a mother and a Black woman. Even when she had successes, she said she still felt overlooked and undervalued. Luckily, she had a co-worker who consciously tried to include her, hear her voice and mention her name for opportunities — but when he resigned, she found herself back at the starting line, fighting for a seat at the table. She found a way to survive, but she knows that not everyone is able to make a way for themselves or create a strategy to succeed. That’s where We Optimize Work comes in.   
When she first launched the company, she participated in an incubator program through the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, as well as one with Pathway Women’s Business Center. Now, she’s raised around $60,000 from grants and pitch competitions, and two employees are working with her. This year, she hopes to partner with five companies and onboard 150 working moms of color into her program for work-life success, as well do more keynote speaking. In the longer term, she hopes to automate more of her approach to reach more companies and more women nationally and internationally.
— Drew Hutchinson
When the NCAA last year said it would allow college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness, Bobby Bramhall and a small group of co-founders saw a major opportunity. Since these 480,000 athletes formerly weren’t allowed to monetize their images, posts and more, Bramhall, an attorney and former athlete, predicted a wave of chaos and confusion about where to start. After enlisting Melia Jones, who is also an attorney and former athlete, to fill the executive vice president and general counsel roles, Athlete Licensing Co. was born.  
The company — billed as the “solution to the name, image and likeness ecosystem” — plans to launch an app this year to help college athletes navigate accounting, branding, taxes, legal matters and royalties. It also offers expertise on creating those trendy non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, a unit of data that allows creators to sell the ownership of virtual assets like photographs. To solve more conventional problems, Athlete Licensing Co. draws inspiration from the music industry, where performers regularly jump hurdles related to pay, copyright laws and more. 
“Just like you’d pay Britney Spears to appear in a commercial, now athletes are doing the same thing,” Bramhall said.
Today, the Brentwood-based company consists of three executives, including Bramhall and Jones, and one employee. However, the company aims to make new hires in 2022. Bramhall declined to share the firm’s money raised so far, citing ongoing, confidential negotiations. But his startup has a major backer: University of Tennessee legend Phillip Fulmer, a College Football Hall of Fame coachwho serves as an advising board member. Bramhall also cites Athlete Licensing Co.’s location as a major plus: “It’sin the middle of the SEC andthe Southeast, which is sosports-heavy and has so many passionate fan bases.” He says he hopes connections from the college football Southeastern Conference will be a valuable asset going forward. 
Through the pandemic, Bramhall and Jones said their operation has sailed relatively smoothly — though most of their teammembers caught Covid-19 at one point or another (everyone recovered). One of the bigger struggles was education, meaning convincing the public that there were kinks likely to appear from the NCAA’s sweeping reform. Plus, they’re dealing with a lot of different regulations. The company works with sports agencies, universities and individual athletesto organize the confusion and keep the young players’ financial affairs in check. But all of this is complicated by individual state laws, especially as they relate to taxes.  
Still, in the midst of launching the business and handling allthe moving parts, Bramhall and Jones said feedback from athletes themselves has been positive — most of them weren’t aware of how much help they needed until they came in contact with Athlete Licensing Co., Bramhall said. 
And at the end of the day, that’s the company’s mission: to help young, talented adults turn a profit to set up their futures, help their families and gain certainty in an uncertain world.  
— Drew Hutchinson
Three months before the Covid pandemic hit the U.S., Michael Stahl and Integrative Life Center CEO Ryan Chapman went on a road trip through East Tennessee to visit rural health clinics. 
What they saw and who they met inspired them to create Integrative Health Centers Inc., a behavioral health care services provider focused on underserved rural and urban communities.  
More than two years later, Stahl gets that same inspiration every time he drives into a new community.
“The need [for behavioral health care] is real, and it’s not understated,” Stahl said. “The more that we have the opportunity to travel to different states and different communities and the more we grow … the numbers and the prevalence of the need that’s been reported … is very, very real.”
That need has fueled Integrative Health’s growth from seven clinics in five states in February 2021 to 61 clinics across 14 states less than one year later. The company plans to increase that number in 2022.
Integrative Health recruits and trains health care workers to work in existing clinics, alongside the facility’s staff. The company credentials the workers, charts the care provided and conducts billing through the clinic’s electronic health record system, creating a “white label” partnership.
Integrative Health solves three major problems for clinics in underserved markets — access to services, coordination and continuity of care — while creating an additional revenue stream for the facility. The company targets clinics that focus on the Medicare and Medicaid population. Stahl said 90% of the company’s visits are through telehealth. 
The ability to offer telehealth services became vital in the early days of Integrative Health, as Covid-19 forced people to shelter at home. 
Stahl said the pandemic exposed more people, more quickly, to telehealth than ever, accelerating the permanent adoption of the technology. The platform further proved itself as behavioral health patients responded well to the new form of care.
“Communities that may not have experienced [telehealth] before or were hesitant, what the pandemic did was … everybody was basically forced to try telehealth,” Stahl said. “What people realized is it’s a really effective way to bridge some of the access gaps, especially for services that lend themselves well to a talk-based service, like mental health services. Especially because we’re providing [mental health services] in conjunction with the clinic, so there’s a lot of good safety, reassurance and best practices that are still present.” 
Integrative Health, which has 35 employees, has a “very high” growth trajectory, Stahl said, piquing the interest of several investors. Stahl said he expects the company to raise funds in the coming year but declined to give an amount.
He also declined to say how many clinics Integrative Health expects to add in 2022, except to say the company would be “wise” in its growth. Stahl said the company will double or triple its headcount over the next 12 months.
“One of the ways we’ve been able to grow is we’ve gotten good reviews from our current partners. Everyone wants to do a reference check. Quality care can never be sacrificed for speed of growth,” Stahl said. “While we don’t put hard numbers on it, we expect to continue to grow as quickly or more quickly as we did last year.”
— Joel Stinnett
Health-tech startup DARVIS moved its headquarters to Nashville from San Francisco in June.
The two cities may feel like they’re a world away, but for German-born Jan Schluter, the move to Music City is still shorter than the one he made when he co-founded DARVIS seven years ago. 
DARVIS — which stands for Data Analytic Real-World Visual Intelligence System — uses artificial intelligence to automate procedures in the health care industry, such as managing medical inventory, patient hygiene and facility bed availability.
The company has 95 employees in the U.S., 15 of whom work out of DARVIS’ 3,500-square-foot Nashville headquarters, at 240 Great Circle Road in Metrocenter. 
The company decided to move to Nashville after participating in the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Project Healthcare program, a year-long accelerator that gives health care entrepreneurs access to experts and resources within the industry. 
Schluter said the program helped introduce DARVIS to the U.S. health care ecosystem. That was valuable to the company in part because when Schluter moved to San Francisco from Germany to launch DARVIS, he did so with the intention of creating a video gaming company. 
“We started with a completely different story. It was live streaming and gaming in virtual reality. It was completely different than what we do today, but everything that we did in the last seven years is included in the product we have today,” Stahl said. “We [pivoted to health care] by chance.”
Schluter said DARVIS was already tracking boxes and cards for gaming when a friend asked if they could do the same thing with a hospital bed. 
“Of course we said ‘yes,’ because we’re a young company and everything is an opportunity for us.”
That opportunity opened up the world of health care to DARVIS, where the company saw a need for a better inventory-management platform.
Most of DARVIS’ hospital clients are in Germany, but that is about to change as the startup begins to focus on the U.S. market in 2022. 
As a result, Schluter expects “worst-case-scenario” for DARVIS’ revenue to triple in 2022. He also expects to double the company’s headcount.
The company, which has raised$8.5 million to date, plans to raisean additional round of funding this year of at least $10 million, Schluter said. 
“We chose Nashville to be our headquarters because of Project Healthcare and because we felt very welcome here. People were very supportive here, and of course, Nashville is the center of health care in the U.S.,” Schluter said. 
“We didn’t know that Nashville is a hotspot … of a thriving, growing tech city, but we realized it after the decision we made to come over from San Francisco to Nashville. We haven’t regretted it. The way of living here, the infrastructure and the support has made it outstanding.”
— Joel Stinnett
Matt Houston’s idea for his newest business came when an imposing man stood in his office doorway and said something to the effect of, “I can’t stand you tech guys.”
That man was a frustrated Chad Collier, president and co-owner of Collier Engineering Co. Inc. He was on his third attempt to have outsourced software developers create a platform for his construction engineering inspectors. Government agencies hire those workers to audit and verify work done on taxpayer-funded construction projects before payment is made to the contractor.
Houston immediately saw a parallel to his previous Nashville startup: Beachy Co. 
That business is far different: Its product is software that beach vendors and resorts use with their guests and customers who are renting beach chairs or buying food, drinks or dolphin tours. 
But as Collier talked, Houston sensed the same need to simplify work in the field with tablets (he described Beachy’s aim as “tap, rent, go”) while improving all the behind-the-scenes necessities for the business owner, from inventory management to payment processing. There also was a bonus: While Beachy was trying to chart new territory, Oversite would tie into the long-established and heavily regulated realm of publicly funded infrastructure projects (which is getting a $1.2 trillion boost from the federal government under a law passed late last year).
“It was the same pain points as Beachy, repeated on a much larger scale, in a market that is structured,” Houston said. “We can wash-rinse-repeat, and I’ve already stepped on every mine in this field.”
Contractors on a public project aren’t paid for work until it’s complete — and double-checked by a site inspector. It can be one month to three months before a payment may arrive. Many small or mid-sized contractors and site inspectors often handle invoices by mail, or they’ll have to create PDFs so numbers can’t be changed. 
“As soon as you have someone PDF-ing a spreadsheet, that’s an opportunity,” Houston said, describing Oversite as a “paper-to-digital play.”
After more than a year crafting Oversite and testing it with various simulations, Jan. 10 marked the first day Oversite began to be used for a real project: Collier is using it on $926,000 of roadwork. 
It’s the beginning of the “product/market fit” stage, in which Houston will solicit other contractors for feedback. He will feel validated if they come back with positive reviews and minor tweaks, as opposed to long lists of changes or defects. “This is the part where a lot of people fail,” Houston said.
Houston has raised just shy of $700,000 so far. The vast majority came from a “friends and family” raise involving nine locally based angel investors, including Jerry McKamey, Mike Master and Houston’s three fellow co-founders at investment firm Clandestine Capital. He expects to do another round of funding this year.
“We will hire a team this year,” he said. “Whether that’s three or 20 depends a lot on the success of the product.”
— Adam Sichko
Summarizing what Sashank Purighalla’s company does is not easy. 
“This is a technical product intended to be sold to a technology leader,” he said. “We’re a dev-tech company, so everything about us is abstract.”
There are some numbers, though, that show what he’s doing is working. BOS Framework banked $2.5 million of revenue last year, more than doubling 2020’s results. Purighalla expects revenue to double again this year. Customers are signing two-year contracts, at a minimum price of $100,000 and an average of $150,000. Out of more than 1,000 applicants, BOS was among the 0.8% selected for the Techstars Atlanta Accelerator in 2020. 
Crucially, BOS Framework is cash-flow positive and also profitable, four years after Purighalla founded the business.
“That helps us call our shots,” he said.
It all positions BOS [Business Operating System] Framework to be a leader in the evolution of Nashville’s tech scene. The company is doing more intensive and intricate work that requires a higher caliber of tech skills — it’s software for software developers, not something used by consumers.
BOS Framework aims to automate a boilerplate framework for the kind of work software developers often custom-create from scratch over and over. That could include security features, compliance features, payment systems, logins and user management.
“What has traditionally been viewed as a manual process, with experts providing artisanal solutions using niche tools, is now offloaded to an automation platform,” Purighalla said. This allows a customer’s software developers to focus on what Purighalla calls “creative work” while shedding time-consuming “engineering work.”
“Visualize someone who needs HIPPA compliance. Using BOS, it takes nine weeks to get there, not nine months,” Purighalla said.
“It’s a very strange dichotomy today: We have more tools that are better, faster, more secure — and we have more problems. It’s antithetical to how you’d think it would be,” he said. “It’s not about the tools; it’s an ecosystem problem. And an ecosystem problem is addressed not at a patch-specific level, not superficially, but at the bedrock level.”
Purighalla has three interconnected goals for this year. He wants to add more customers, which will allow him to present more thorough metrics to potential investors. Adding customers would propel him toward his revenue target of $5 million, which would tee up what he calls a “very large Series A” raise. He also wants to build out an executive team.
Purighalla was born and raised in Hyderabad, India, and came to the U.S. on a full scholarship for a master’s in computer science at the University of South Alabama. BOS Framework is his third startup and evolved out of something he and his team created at his prior company, which was based in Philadelphia.
Purighalla wanted what he called a “more forgiving Tier 2 city” to grow not just BOS Framework, but his family as well. He picked up three customers within his first two months in Nashville, as well as key early investors. He’s raised $2 million from investors including: Clint Smith, founder of early Nashville tech darling Emma; Robert Grajewski, now senior vice president at Franklin-based Enexor BioEnergy; Andrew Goldner, who lives in Nashville and is founding partner of San Francisco-based seed investment fund GrowthX; Steve Proctor, co-founder of Edgenet (which sold for close to $100 million in 2019); and Wes Warrington, founder of Franklin-based Resolve Diagnostics.
He believes his product is a solution for companies that at once have many kinds of tech jobs open and also face rising attrition. The price of BOS Framework may sound expensive, he said. “But that potentially offsets the need for four or five people, each of whom would cost you $150,000 to $180,000 — and then they’re not dependable because they learn one skill and they’re $20,000 more valuable to somebody else.”
He is facing his own battle for talent, both finding and retaining the level of skill he needs. Some of his more recent hires live in Virginia, Denver, Seattle and Los Angeles. For now, he seems determined to stake his claim in Nashville.
“I chose Nashville to be my home,” he said. “This is a Nashville play.”
— Adam Sichko
Traci Snowden’s business is centered on helping people adapt. 
But mid-pandemic, it was her business that went through an adjustment.
Snowden grew up in a bilingual family, eventually taking on German as a third language before studying abroad in Germany.
When she came back to the U.S., she landed a job teaching at a small school in Cincinnati that catered to children of Procter & Gamble ex-pats.
It was there that the seed was planted for what would become Apto Global, a social learning platform that helps users learn language and local culture to help adapt to a new community. 
Snowden said the need for people of different cultures to connect is so large that Apto is in talks with a major cellphone maker to have its app preinstalled on nearly 100 million devices.
However, when Snowden launched Apto in Nashville in 2015, it was more of a service than software. Apto’s model was then B2B, with Snowden and her team working directly with ex-pat families at companies such as Nissan Motor Co. and Bridgestone Americas Inc.
“That’s really where the idea came from,” Snowden said. “Many of the families said, ‘The way that you teach by combining culture, language, hyper-local knowledge and helping me and my family understand these things within the environment — I wish I had something like it online and before I came [to the U.S.].’ Because you don’t know what you don’t know, and once you get here you’re kind of immediately thrown to the wolves and you learn a lot of things the hard way.”
After failing to find an online resource for her clients’ needs, Snowden decided to transform Apto from a B2B service into a consumer platform, finishing the new app in December. 
Apto users fill out a profile when they log on, listing their goals, interests and learning needs: if they are adapting for work, school or to get around town, Snowden said. Apto features a “community” tab that connects users to people from their home country, culture or professional field in the area, as well as locals who may be interested in the user’s culture or work at their company. There is also a “guides” tab that provides specific learning content about the region, from how to fill out a form at the DMV to cultural differences. 
Much of the information is sourced from Apto’s community of creators, who provide information about their hometown or travels. Apto’s team, and the app’s machine-learning algorithm, collects, organizes and moderates the content.
Snowden said Apto is launching a series of campaigns in cities around the country to get the word out, beginning with Nashville in April.
“I’m going back to my roots of Native American storytelling and the idea that we learn best from each other. Not only from people that are like us, but also from people that are different from us,” she said. 
Apto has 10 employees and expects to round out its leadership team in 2022 with 10 new hires, Snowden said. 
The company has raised $1.8 million since it pivoted to a consumer-focused model. Snowden said Apto aims to raise an additional $5 million this year. 
Those numbers could change, however, if Apto’s deal to get its app on nearly 100 million devices in the U.S. and abroad is realized, which could happen as early as the end of the first quarter. She said the parties are finishing terms and conditions.
 “[Closing this deal] is like being Taylor Swift without Universal versus Taylor Swift with Universal,” Snowden said.
— Joel Stinnett
Alexis Jones knows about those bags in your bedroom corner or your closet, or especially, the trunk of your vehicle.
They’re those clothes or shoes or other items you’ve been meaning to return to the store or ship back to the retailer. But you just haven’t done it. That’s where Jones, who speaks from experience, wants to step in.
“I realized I was making excuses — ‘Oh, it’s only $20’ — or I’d miss return windows. How much money in the course of a year am I losing and leaving on the table by not returning items?” Jones said.
Jones is a former hospice nurse who left the profession after having her daughter at the end of 2019. Her online orders skyrocketed, sparking the idea for a business. She spent most of 2020 and the majority of 2021 developing the concept and learning about business. (“Nursing and business are complete polar opposites,” she said.)
The result: Jones and her business partner, Ryane Pamphile, co-founded a digital platform named Noted (stylized as noted). It’s a Google-approved application that scans a customer’s Gmail and notifies them when a return window is closing. Or, customers can upload purchase information into their Noted account. The tracking and reminders are free. 
They officially launched the business in August 2021 and now have 205 active email users.
For a one-time fee of $15, Noted will come get your items and make the returns on your behalf, no matter how many stores are involved. So far, Noted has done five paid pick-ups; Jones or Pamphile are usually the ones driving. If items aren’t returnable, Noted will donate them to a nonprofit.
The company has logged the return policies of more than 100 retailers in its database, including Amazon, Target, Nordstrom and Macy’s. 
Jones and Pamphile, whose husbands formerly played for the Tennessee Titans, have self-funded the business. Jones put in $500,000 and is majority-owner; Pamphile added another $100,000. Their only other full-time employee is a chief operating officer.
Jones is raising money now, with a goal of $1.5 million. “We’re looking to reach angel investors. We’re hoping not to go the venture capital route, because I don’t want my little voice to be diminished by what they have to say,” she said.
Jones believes the company’s existing funding can last through February. 
“The biggest hiccup is you thinking you know what everybody else wants,” she said. “That’s been the hardest battle: pacing yourself and finding what a consumer wants, instead of what you want.”
Jones has ambitious goals for the year beyond that seed round. She wants to forge partnerships with retailers or places such as condo buildings or apartment complexes. She wants to expand to two additional cities, noting that people from places such as New York, Houston and Charlotte have enrolled for the free service. Jones is creating more payment options, including a subscription rate as well as prices for buying a group of nine or 15 pickups.
The pandemic altered shopping habits, leading to a surge of online buying and also prompting people to overbuy in stores, with dressing rooms closed. But pandemic or not, Jones said, “the hassle of returning has always been there.”
— Adam Sichko
Starting a business takes a lot of spirit. Especially when that business is bourbon.
Departing from the tradition of Tennessee whiskey, Memphis native Michael Frazier took a cue from Kentucky when he founded Reverence Bourbon. The company’s product won’t officially launch until the end of January, but has already been generating buzz.
The 31-year-old firefighter said he’d always wanted to start his own business. He considered opening a gym or going into real estate, but decided to focus on what he loved.
“I’m a bourbon drinker, so I thought, ‘Why not create my own bourbon?’ I’ve been studying and developing my tastes for about three years now. I’ve been doing whiskey trails and going to different distilleries, trying over maybe 200 different types of bourbon and whiskey just to develop my palate,” Frazier said. “The last three years have been a labor of love for me.”
There are a handful of Black-owned whiskey distilleries or brands in Tennessee, but Frazier said Reverence Bourbon is the state’s first Black-owned bourbon brand. As a born-and-raised Tennessean, he said he’s proud to be writing his part of the state’s story.
The company’s name is a tribute to Frazier’s youth. In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, his mother, who served in the military at the time, was called up to duty and relocated to Maryland for over a year. Frazier, who was then 12, was left in the care of his older brother, who gave up playing high school football to care for him.
Frazier said the experience is the foundation of his work ethic and taught him to endure hardship in the pursuit of a goal.
“The name ’Reverence’ is a way to pay homage to my past experiences,” Frazier said. “The journey I’ve had through life has made me who I am today.”
Frazier raised money by leveraging his personal credit to get a credit card for the company and invested his own money on his dream. All in, the operation took about $34,000 to get off the ground. He’s the sole employee, but said his brother has volunteered to help as needed.
One of the biggest hurdles to developing an alcohol brand is finding space to distill it. Frazier contracts with Nashville Craft Distillery, whose president is Bruce Boeko, whom Frazier said has been a key figure in helping him learn the world of producing spirits.
Frazier said one guiding piece of advice is to stay patient.
“Make progress every day. Time is your most valuable asset, so utilize it and remain productive. There’s no finish line, every day is another step. Success is a process, not a destination,” Frazier said.
His goal for the coming year is to make Reverence Bourbon available across the state. Frazier has a distribution deal with a Nashville-based company that will deliver to eight Middle Tennessee counties once the product launches. He also hopes to work directly with cocktail lounges and cigar bars to get Reverence Bourbon on their shelves.
— Ian Bradley
The days of walking into a restaurant and asking for a job application could be numbered, thanks to a Nashville-based startup.
Halle Hayes and Mary Pillow Thompson are the founders of Foh&boh (stylized as foh&boh, which is shorthand for industry terms “front-of-house” and “back-of-house”), a digital platform that simplifies the hiring process to help employers find workers, instead of placing a “help wanted” sign in the window or placing individual digital ads across a variety of platforms.
Foh&boh lets employers contact candidates, schedule interviews, hire and onboard, all via text.
“In under two minutes, a restaurant or hotel can create a profile and post open positions. We match them with our candidate base, which are passive candidates that already have profiles in our system. We also send their jobs to over 65 digital jobs boards and act as an aggregator across all those boards for their applicants, so they’re housed in one place,” Hayes said.
Hayes and Thompson started the company in late 2019. The two were operating a recruiting firm at the time and saw an opportunity after realizing how much restaurants were willing to pay to find new employees. The coronavirus pandemic began shortly after they founded Foh&boh and turned the hospitality industry upside down.
The company has raised just under $2.5 million to date, raised through investments from Claritas Capital and Clandestine Capital. The company has 17 employees spread across the country — Hayes said she and Thompson didn’t want to limit themselves to hiring within the Middle Tennessee area. As such, the company doesn’t have an office; Foh&boh is an entirely work-from-home operation. 
Looking to 2022, she and Thompson are going to double down on the company and focus on growing their sales, customer support and engineering teams. While Foh&boh is available across the country, Hayes said they want to grow their presence in major markets.
“We’re really focused on getting analytics out to our customers and giving them the tools to be successful, whether it’s video tools to highlight why prospective employees should choose them, or analytics of what they need to pay to be competitive or just recommendations for job description optimization,” Hayes said. “We are focused on building tools to help them be more successful and more competitive.” 
Foh&boh hasn’t been spared from the upheaval of the hospitality industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The industry’s already high employee turnover rate has increased dramatically, which Hayes said has been a “blessing and a curse.” 
“We conceptualized this platform for standard industry turnover, which is around 75% annually. Covid fueled that fire immensely, so now turnover rates have more than quadrupled,” Hayes said. “It’s cutthroat right now because restaurants are all fighting over the same reduced pool of candidates. People come to us thinking we’re a magic bullet, and we’re not. We’ve had to have tougher conversations with our clients to really educate them on what workers are needing, what they want right now to come back to work and how to compete with other industries.”
— Ian Bradley
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