Uber launches a shift-work finder app, Uber Works, starting in Chicago

What do you do when your current business model is so staggeringly loss-making you’re having to warn investors it may never turn a profit, at the same time as it’s under increasing legal and regulatory attack?

One answer might be to pivot. Uber isn’t doing that, exactly. Not yet anyway. But it has just officially announced the launch of a new app for matching shift workers with shifts, called Uber Works, working in partnership with staffing agencies.

The announcement confirms a report by the Financial Times a year ago, which reported Uber was working on an on-demand staffing business. The company declined to comment at the time.

The tech giant is best know for its ride-hailing platform but has been diversifying its business for some time — getting into food delivery (Uber Eats) and buying into the micromobility trend (with Jump e-bikes and scooters).

Becoming a matchmaker for shift work looks to be the next step on Uber’s quest for sustainability — both of its core business and, well, its reputation for exploiting labor.

In a blog post about the Uber Works launch, which is starting in Chicago but slated to be expanding to more areas “soon”, the company writes that it’s “committed to deliver services that support skill up-leveling and promote work re-entry”, saying it will be partnering with “various organizations that support workers in their employment journey”.

A month ago Uber’s home turf state of California signed into law a gig worker protections bill that squarely targeted at ride-hailing giants.

The new law means gig economy workers who are managed algorithmically via platforms will very likely be entitled to minimum wage, workers’ compensation and other benefits because it requires employers to apply the ABC test in order to classify a worker as an independent contractor — meaning they will need to prove the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity; performs work outside the scope of the entity’s business; and is regularly engaged in work of some independently established trade or other similar business.

The law is due to take effect January 1, 2020. Uber is not going gentle into that goodnight, and has continued to deny the law applies to its business — saying it will do what’s necessary to keep the contractor status.

It is pushing against the tide, though. At home and abroad. In Europe it’s already been forced to offer a number of concessions (such as free insurance and caps on working hours) after a series of legal and regulatory challenges, as well as close political scrutiny of how its business operates — including the pay and conditions it provides workers.

The regulator of Uber’s most important regional city — London — continues to withhold a full licence renewal. Transport for London denied its application to renew its licence in 2017, citing safety concerns and questions over its corporate governance and culture. And Uber’s ride-hailing business remains on a very short leash, with just a two-month extension granted last month — along with fresh conditions.

Safe to say, the costs of ride-hailing aren’t shrinking.

Uber Works looks like an attempt to find a less bumpy path to profitability — via a matchmaking platform for workers who are employed by staffing agencies, which Uber’s blog post is careful to note “employ, pay and handle worker benefits”. Ergo Uber doesn’t have to.

What it wants to be is a technology provider to staffing agencies, offering a platform that matches agency workers to available shifts — in roles such as prep cook, warehouse worker, commercial cleaner and event staff — while also carrying out time-tracking, tied to a carrot for workers of more “timely” payments.

The platform’s ability to track their work will also clearly be working for agencies, though — with Uber suggesting its “technology-first approach” will lead to a “more efficient marketplace… [b]y providing a reliable pool of vetted and qualified workers”. So that’s code for workers who slack off will be seen by the technology to be slacking — and likely won’t get matched to great shifts if they do.

Here’s how Uber is pitching the play:

Today, millions of Americans use staffing agencies to find work. Yet the status quo is not ideal, for workers or for businesses.

Workers face rigid scheduling and opaque information about where they can pick up shifts and how much they can expect to earn. Businesses struggle to staff up to meet peak demand, and have to grapple with missed shifts and high turnover.

We believe a new, technology-first approach can provide faster and easier means for people to get work, while offering greater insight into the many opportunities for work that are out there—improving the experience for workers and businesses alike.

That’s why over the past year, we’ve studied and built tech solutions that can help positively impact a workers’ shift experience and eliminate bottlenecks to finding work.

There is — it must be said — more than a little irony here. In that lawyers for Uber, the ride-hailing giant, have been repeatedly instructed to argue it’s just a technology platform, not a transportation company. (Two years ago Europe’s CJEU blew that argument out of the water.)

With Uber Works, Uber is again hoping to cast itself as a technology platform. Though by partnering with staffing agencies it’s hope will be that there’s less legal risk involved.

Uber says the year-long Uber Works project grew out of its business incubator — tapping into its “marketplace technology and operational know-how to help solve pain points that exist in connecting workers with businesses”, as it puts it.

There’s no word on where in the US it might expand Uber Works to next.

The tech giant is certainly entering an already crowded field.

There are a large number of shift, temp and blue collar work finder apps targeting a similar fast-paced, high turnover employment need in the the US and Europe — including the likes of Bacon, Catapult, Gig, JobToday, Limber, Rota, Shiftgig, Shiifty, Snag and Syft to name a few.

Coding training and outsourcing service Catalyte launches a toolkit for corporate ‘up-skilling’

Catalyte, the Baltimore-based coding training and placement service, has launched a new software service designed to take its machine learning-based skills-assessment and training program to companies around the country.

With revenues already approaching nearly $100 million for its outsourced software development services, Catalyte is hoping to take the lessons and tools it has learned and developed over the course of its 18-year history as a staffing and training company for the tech industry and sell them to companies looking to retrain or provide additional skills development opportunities for their employees.

“Even if we were the largest employer in the world we still would not be able to move the needle on the labor economy,” says Catalyte’s chief executive, Jacob Hsu. 

He sees the company’s mission as providing a critical step for companies to identify the employees in their workforce with the skills to become coders and an opportunity for those employees to then receive the training they need to move into higher-paying roles as software eats into low-skilled, repetitive labor.

“We’re encouraging all of these employers to deploy these up-leveling skills,” Hsu says.

At Catalyte, the company’s success has hinged on practicing what it preaches (and what it’s now selling). Launched in 2000 as a staffing service in Baltimore called Catalyst Devworks by a former White House economist, Michael Rosenbaum, the company expanded to locations in Chicago and Portland and offers training and workforce development through contracted consulting projects with companies.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The company’s recruits come from anywhere and everywhere and hiring hinges on a skills test would-be employees have to perform that is monitored by software that tracks how test-takers respond to the company’s questions.

Once an applicant passes the test, they’re brought in for training and given a two-year contract during which time they’re put to work on development projects Catalyte has won from customers like Under Armor, Aetna, AT&T and Microsoft .

Catalyte’s developers are paid roughly $40,000 per year (less than half of what a developer typically makes) while they’re working under the two-year contract and are then allowed to seek employment outside of the company. Any employee that breaks the mandatory two-year contract is subject to a $25,000 penalty, according to a report in “Fast Company.” As they enter the third year, their contract with Catalyte gets renegotiated and employees who stay with the company can earn at least $75,000.

“We’re taking people from all walks of life,” says Hsu. “The average salary is $25,000 for people who have come in to the program… But within five years from working with the company, the average salary is $98,000.”

It’s this kind of narrative, and the company’s solid revenue, that attracted investors like Steve Case, who’s backing Catalyte through his $150 million Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.

In 2018, Catalyte raised roughly $27 million in a round of funding from Palm Drive Capital, Cross Culture Ventures, Expon Capital and the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.

The relatively novel approach to training and hiring (with some of the company’s recruits even coming in through Craigslist ads that pitch getting paid for learning to code) has netted Catalyte some impressive statistics when it comes to the diversity of its workforce — another important criteria for Case’s Rise of the Rest fund.

“When you use this approach to hiring [in a city]… you end up with a workforce that’s similar to the demographics of a city,” says Hsu.

In Baltimore, the company’s workforce is about 29% African American and 30% of the developers are women. The average age of a programmer in the company’s workforce is 33 years old and education levels range from about one quarter with only a college degree to college-educated candidates. 

Catalyte’s growth over the past three years has been nothing short of explosive. The company went from 50 employees in 2016 to around 800 people on staff now.

That staff is critical not just to the company’s current business model, but also served as a training tool for the machine learning and assessment tools that Catalyte is now trying to sell. “We spent over a decade collecting outcome data from engineering projects,” says Hsu. And that data was what was used to create the company’s metrics for whether or not a candidate for a programming job at the company would be successful.

The company intends to bring its assessment tool to market in the fourth quarter, but on the back of its recent fundraising, Catalyte has been ramping up its research and development activities. It wants to begin putting together a curriculum around cybersecurity and site reliability engineers. The software will cost roughly $1,000 per seat for every employee that receives its training regime.

“One of the fundamental ways our economy is going to both remain competitive on the international level and expand opportunities to more Americans is by changing the way we identify talent,” said Case in a statement discussing Catalyte’s financing last year. “Catalyte proved to us that not only can it bring new and underrepresented groups into the fold, it can do so while helping its own clients grow.”

While the company is growing its product pipeline, it also intends to expand the number of development and training centers it operates. The plan, according to an interview Hsu gave to the local technology news site Technically Baltimore in February, is to have 20 development centers around the country by 2020.

Devin Wenig steps down as eBay CEO

eBay this morning announced that Devin Wenig has stepped down from the role of CEO. A former executive at Reuters, Wenig joined the company eight years ago this month as president of its global market place division. He was appointed to the CEO role in July 2015, following eBay’s spinoff of PayPal.

“Devin has been a tireless advocate for driving improvement in the business, particularly in leading the Company forward after the PayPal spinoff,” Chairman of the Board Thomas Tierney said in a release tied to the news. “Indeed, eBay is stronger today than it was four years ago. Notwithstanding this progress, given a number of considerations, both Devin and the board believe that a new CEO is best for the company at this time.”

Scott Schenkel, the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer has been appointed interim CEO by eBay’s board. Schenkel has been with the company for 12 years, having previously spent several years in management at GE. eBay says it will “consider internal and external candidates” as it searches for someone to fill the position on a permanent basis.

The move comes amid turmoil at the company. Earlier this year, investors Elliott Management suggested key structural changes to help reinvigorate a floundering company.  “Today eBay suffers from an inefficient organizational structure, wasteful spend and a misallocation of resources,” it wrote in a letter at the time. eBay went through layoffs and restructuring, in the wake of the letter.

As part of these new changes up top, eBay will be appointing Vice President, Global Financial Planning and Analysis, Andy Cring, to the position of interim CFO.

The team behind Codementor launches Arc to help companies hire talented developers around the world

Arc, a platform that wants to simplify the process of hiring developers who work remotely, is launching officially today. The new company grew out of Techstars-backed Codementor, an online education platform for software developers. Codementor will continue to operate as a standalone product under Arc.

While there are already many freelancing platforms, Weiting Liu, the founder and CEO of Arc and Codementor, said Arc is more focused on long-term contractor and full-time employee positions instead of short-term gigs. To make the recruitment process easier for tech companies, all developers on its platform are vetted by Arc in a process modeled on the hiring assessments used by tech companies in Silicon Valley. Arc’s clients have already included Spotify, Chegg, Hims, Fivestars and AppLovin.

Codementor launched in 2014 to connect developers with instructors around the world for coding education. Arc has the same mission of helping boost the careers of engineers who live outside of major tech hubs.

“I think Arc is a natural evolution. Codementor had hundreds of thousands of developers in the community already and that created a very strong and inclusive community to help developers worldwide continuously improve their skills,” says Liu. “We definitely see Codementor and its network creating a strong funnel of talented developers who want to work remotely.”

Remote hiring has benefits like increasing the talent pool for tech companies while helping employees maintain work-life balance or avoid moving to high cost-of-living areas. But despite the increase in remote hiring (for example, Stripe recently described its remote engineers as the company’s “fifth engineering hub”), there are still many hurdles to overcome.

The team of Liu’s first startup, Y Combinator alum SocialPicks, were based in different cities. In 2006, that meant everyone had to find a way to work together even though collaboration tools like Slack and Trello didn’t exist yet. But while it has become much more easier to work remotely over the past decade, hiring people who live far away still presents a lot of friction for companies. “From an employers’ perspective, there are a lot of fears and unknowns for hiring strangers online for a permanent, full-time role, but I think things are changing,” says Liu.

He adds that Arc is different from other hiring platforms like AngelList or We Work Remotely because of its vetting process, designed to identify developers who can stay with a company for a long time.

“People can still hire remote developers for short-term contracts, but we want to enable more companies to hire long-term, full-time regular employees who are not based in their ZIP code, but should be treated no differently than their Bay Area counterparts because they are as good, if not better, than Silicon Valley developers,” Liu says.

Arc pre-screens engineers and teams using what it describes as “Silicon Valley-caliber technical and behavioral assessments.” Candidates go through behavioral and technical interviews conducted by senior developers and technical recruiters who have worked for Google, Facebook and other big tech companies. In order to judge how well they will work with a team in another location, Arc also asks developers to prepare programming during the interview process to simulate the process of collaborating remotely.

As Arc grows larger, Liu says it will build tools that will help them gauge developers at scale, as well as features to companies manage remote workers.

California recently passed a significant new bill that, if signed into law, would dramatically change the gig economy by requiring companies to give independent contractors who do the work of employees minimum wage, workers’ compensation and other benefits. Liu hopes this signifies a shift in how remote workers are viewed.

“There are a lot of first-generation online platforms for ‘remote work,’ but most are freelancing work. Platforms like Fiverr and Upwork are pioneers of this space, so they are the first generation of online freelancing platforms,” Liu says. “They came into a world where people felt comfortable working together in very short-term freelancing gigs. I think the second phase means there is increasingly higher trust and better infrastructure to enable long-term, permanent full-time work to be made possible remotely, and we want to be the main facilitator of that.”

Despite Brexit, UK startups can compete with Silicon Valley to win tech talent

Brexit has taken over discourse in the UK and beyond. In the UK alone, it is mentioned over 500 million times a day, in 92 million conversations — and for good reason. While the UK has yet to leave the EU, the impact of Brexit has already rippled through industries all over the world. The UK’s technology sector is no exception. While innovation endures in the midst of Brexit, data reveals that innovative companies are losing the ability to attract people from all over the world and are suffering from a substantial talent leak. 

It is no secret that the UK was already experiencing a talent shortage, even without the added pressure created by today’s political landscape. Technology is developing rapidly and demand for tech workers continues to outpace supply, creating a fiercely competitive hiring landscape.

The shortage of available tech talent has already created a deficit that could cost the UK £141 billion in GDP growth by 2028, stifling innovation. Now, with Brexit threatening the UK’s cosmopolitan tech landscape — and the economy at large — we may soon see international tech talent moving elsewhere; in fact, 60% of London businesses think they’ll lose access to tech talent once the UK leaves the EU.

So, how can UK-based companies proactively attract and retain top tech talent to prevent a Brexit brain drain? UK businesses must ensure that their hiring funnels are a top priority and focus on understanding what matters most to tech talent beyond salary, so that they don’t lose out to US tech hubs. 

Brexit aside, why is San Francisco more appealing than the UK?

International students face immigration hurdles under Trump

This fall, nearly half a million international students will begin or return to STEM degree programs at U.S. colleges and universities. If you’re among them, congratulations — look forward to being wooed by talent-hungry U.S. tech firms when you graduate. But there’s bad news, too: Under current immigration rules, switching from a student visa to an employment visa can be tricky, so it’s important to understand what’s required and how the latest policy upheavals could impact your journey.

In theory, it’s a great time to be a STEM graduate. U.S. STEM jobs are expected to grow by nearly 11% — or about 10.3 million positions — between 2016 and 2026, faster than all U.S. occupations. In practice, however, it can be tough for international students to secure permanent residence in the United States. The H-1B skilled-worker visa system is badly clogged; a federal lawsuit could slam the door on many STEM graduates, and the White House is shaking up both the skilled-worker and student visa systems.

But don’t despair: There’s still a pathway to a future in the United States — you just might face a bumpy ride. Whether you’re starting your studies or preparing to graduate, it’s crucial to understand your options.

Getting an employment-based visa

An employment-based green card requires an executive-level job, a truly extraordinary résumé, or an employer willing to pony up thousands of dollars in fees and labor-certification costs. Because it’s hard to get a green card, most international STEM students aim for an H-1B visa, which lets you work for a specified U.S. employer for up to six years. It’s not a permanent solution, but it can be a useful launchpad for your career.

Even getting an H-1B isn’t easy, though. There’s a hard cap on H-1Bs: This year, there were more than 200,000 applicants vying for just 85,000 visas. Recipients are selected via lottery, and while you could land an H-1B on your first attempt, many tech workers have to try again — and again, and again — before they finally get lucky.

In the meantime, international students typically start out using the temporary work authorization through their student visa until they transfer to an H-1B. 

Let’s dig into the details of what’s allowed under your student visa: 

If you’re on an F-1 visa

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Image via Getty Images / South_agency

The F-1 student visa is one of the main on-ramps to the U.S. tech sector for foreign-born workers. That’s largely thanks to Bush- and Obama-era changes that expanded the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which allows F-1 holders to work at American companies after graduating, from 12 to 36 months. 

Graduates with multiple STEM degrees (such as a bachelor’s and master’s degrees) can also chain together their OPT periods, working for up to six years in total before switching to another visa. That’s great news because each year of OPT is another chance to play the H-1B lottery, increasing your odds of winning a visa. 

To use OPT, you’ll need to get a work permit (“Employment Authorization Document,” or EAD) as you near graduation. You’ll also need to file for visa extensions in order to make the most of your OPT entitlement. 

If you’re on a J-1 visa

Similar to the F-1, the J-1 visa is designed for students involved in cultural exchange programs or who receive substantial funding from governments or institutions. 

As a J-1 student, you won’t get OPT but 18 months of Academic Training (AT). Any internships or jobs you take during your studies will count toward your AT allotment, so it’s possible to finish your degree with less than 18 months of work authorization remaining. And while a second 18-month AT period is available for postdoctoral research, there’s no automatic extension for STEM degree holders: Once your 18 months are up, you’ll need to leave the United States.

There’s another catch: Many J-1 visas come with a home residency requirement (HRR), requiring holders to return to their home country for two years before seeking a work-based or family-sponsored U.S. visa — that or apply for an HRR waiver

If you’re on an M-1 visa

The M-1 visa is used by students at technical and vocational schools, not academic programs. As student visas go, it’s very restrictive: You won’t be able to work off-campus and can’t work for more than six months. You also won’t be able to switch to an F-1 visa and won’t find it easy to transition to an H-1B. If you hope to stay in the United States long-term, think carefully about whether an M-1 is right for you.

No job lined up?

If you don’t have a job offer, there are other ways to stay in the United States after finishing your studies. One popular option is to enter a graduate program: Getting a master’s degree could extend your student visa by a year or two, while upgrading to a PhD program could get you several additional years. In fact, an advanced U.S. degree under your belt effectively doubles your chances of getting an H-1B in the same lottery. 

If you can’t find work and don’t want to keep studying, you’ll need existing family ties to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder). If you’re the direct relative of one (for example, a spouse or child), then things are relatively easier: You have a clear path toward a family-based green card, allowing you to live and work permanently in the United States. That’s true even if you’ve become a family member through marriage: You’ll be able to obtain a marriage-based green card more quickly and easily than an H-1B or other employment-based green cards.

If you’re the spouse or child of someone on a temporary visa, such as an H-1B or O-1 visa holder, you can usually obtain a dependent’s visa. Such visas often allow you to study, but you won’t qualify for OPT after graduating. It’s also getting harder for H4 visa holders to obtain work permits, so don’t count on using a dependent’s visa to launch your career in Silicon Valley. In many cases, OPT is still a better springboard to an H-1B or green card.

If the person who claims you as a dependent applies for permanent residence, you may be able to get a green card through “derivative” benefits, meaning their green card eligibility trickles down to you.  

Next step: Mark your calendar

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Image via Getty Images / normaals

Whatever immigration status you currently have or want to get, you’ll need to plan ahead. In some cases, you might need to start planning your next step almost as soon as you begin your studies, in order to make sure you aren’t left without a valid visa.

  • For graduate study: Update your existing student visa before the end of the 60-day grace period (for F-1 visas) or 30-day grace period (for J-1 visas) following the program completion date listed on your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record and I-20 or DS-2019 form. 
  • For F-1 OPT: Apply no sooner than 90 days before and no later than 60 days after completing your studies. If your official completion date is June 1, 2020, for instance, you can apply for OPT between March 3 and July 31 of that year.
  • For J-1 AT: Apply shortly before your program ends. Your school will facilitate your AT application and will set its own deadline to process your paperwork before the end of your studies, but your AT must begin no later than 30 days after completing your program.
  • For H-1B visas: Play the annual visa lottery held in early April. You’ll need a job offer lined up well in advance from an employer who’s willing to sponsor you. You can’t begin working until your H-1B is approved, unless you have separate work authorization through OPT, AT, or some other means.
  • For employment-based green cards: The timeline depends on your specific green card category, but you’ll generally wait months or years
  • For green cards through marriage to a U.S. citizen: You’ll typically wait 10–13 months, but you’ll be able to stay in the United States while in the meantime, even if your student visa expires.
  • For green cards through marriage to a permanent resident: You’ll typically wait 29–38 months, but you’ll need another valid visa, such as an unexpired F-1, for the first 11–15 months.
  • For family-based green cards (other than for spouses and children of U.S. citizens): You might face a lengthy wait depending on your relationship to your sponsoring relative and home country

Whatever your plans, remember that immigration rules are constantly changing — and seldom in ways that benefit new immigrants. If you can, file your visa or green card application right away to avoid nasty surprises.

Trouble coming down the line

It’s important not only to understand your current visa but also to recognize that the U.S. immigration system is in flux — and many of the planned changes spell bad news even for immigrants with advanced degrees and vitally needed skills. 

The new public charge rule, for instance, will make it harder to get a green card if you’ve used public benefits and allows the U.S. government to deny your application if they suspect you’ll fall on hard times in the future. For STEM grads with solid job offers, that might not seem like a major concern, but the new rule will apply even to those on temporary visas, including H-1Bs, who wish to extend or change their immigration status. At the least, it’s a sign of how much harder the immigration process is getting.

The Trump administration is also targeting students with a new “unlawful presence” rule that imposes tough punishments for minor violations of student visa terms. Fortunately, the rule is tied up in court, but if it goes through, it could lead to lengthy bans on future work visas if you overstay on your student visa, work in ways that aren’t authorized, or otherwise fail to play by the rules.

Such changes underscore the importance of doing your own due diligence and not simply relying on your college or employer to steer you right. Figuring out your immigration options can feel overwhelming — but as the many thousands of foreign-born STEM graduates who’ve successfully built careers in the United States can tell you, it’s well worth the effort.

Get your pressing immigration questions answered

Have a question about the complex and shifting immigration process? Boundless can help. Please send your immigration-related questions to our resident immigration expert, Anjana Prasad, at [email protected]. We will consider your question for a future column on the Boundless blog.

Agave wants to fill the need Google Hire’s impending shutdown will create

With the scheduled 2020 shutdown of Google Hire, the tech giant’s applicant tracking system, there’s more room for startups to emerge as the go-to tool for hiring managers. Agave, which has $1 million in funding from SV Angel, Box Group and others, is aiming to serve that need.

Agave is a free hiring platform that offers job postings, hosted career pages, customer relationship management tools and full API read and write access. Agave also offers two paid tiers, ranging from $2 per user a month to $6 per user a month, which offer features like automated e-mail follow-up services, interview scheduling or pre-formulated offer letters. It’s available today, but it’s still early days in invite-only mode.

Similar to Google Hire, Agave is focused on small- to medium-sized businesses — anywhere from 20 to 500 employees.

“That’s the sweet spot,” Agave founder Jared Tame told TechCrunch. “After 20 people, companies tap out their referral networks and need to get more active about sourcing talent. After a certain point, it makes sense to use an ATS because the processes start to break down.”

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Tame started the company because of his own experience working as a hiring manager and feeling frustrated with some of the products out there, he said.

Despite Google Hire’s impending shutdown, Agave still faces other competitors in the space, including Lever, which has $72.8 million in funding and Greenhouse, which has $110.1 million in funding. Right now, Agave has a handful of startups using its platform but is hoping to entice additional customers with its 48-hour guarantee for migrations from Google Hire to Agave.

HP CEO steps down, citing ‘family health matter’

HP Inc. announced this afternoon that Dion Weisler is stepping down as president and CEO. The executive cited a “family health matter” in his decision, noting that he will be returning home to Australia.

The company already has a successor lined up, as its president of Imaging, Printing and Solutions, Enrique Lores, got unanimous approval from its board of directors. Lores will be assuming the top spot on November 1.

“Enrique is an inspiring and proven business leader and is the right person to lead HP into the future. Since the time of separation, the board has had an ongoing and diligent succession planning process that included vetting and benchmarking internal and external candidates,” board of directors chair Chip Bergh said in a statement. “Through this rigorous process, Enrique emerged as the board’s unanimous choice as successor and we are confident he will build on the company’s progress and capitalize on new opportunities.”

Meantime, Weisler is set to stay on the company’s board of directors through HP’s next shareholder meeting in order to “ensure a seamless transition.” That will keep him around through January of 2020. Weisler joined the company in 2012, becoming CEO in 2015 when HP split from HP Enterprise.

Lores’s history with the company reaches back much further. As HP notes, he joined the staff 30 years back, as an engineering intern.

“Thirty years ago, I was drawn to HP by the company’s unique ability to bring out the best of humanity through the power of technology,” Lores said in a statement. “The opportunities ahead are vast and the need for us to keep reinventing is more important than ever. I continue to be inspired by our customers, partners and employees, who are turning bold ideas into meaningful innovations. This is where we will set our sights for the future.”

The news arrived as part of the Bay Area-based printing company’s third-quarter earnings.

How Dropbox, Nike, Salesforce, MailChimp, Google and Pepsi welcome their new hires

The first day of work at a new job can be very stressful. The unfamiliar surroundings and onslaught of new material can cause new hires some degree of discomfort. But sometimes the atmosphere at the new company can be welcoming and can help counteract the stress.

Different companies have their own traditions to help make this transition period more comfortable and memorable for new hires. Some of these traditions include:

  • Team-building day trips for new hires
  • Breakfast with the CEO
  • Tours of the best cafes, parks, and other spots in the neighborhood
  • Office “quests” (or some other gamification of onboarding)
  • Personalized onboarding programs or interactive company academies

Usually, only employees can experience these traditions. But there’s one new-hire tradition that has become extremely popular and often highly publicized: the “welcome kit”.

Welcome kits usually contain a hodgepodge of items that employees will need on the job (pens, notebooks, books, etc.) and things to make employees feel welcome (clothing, stickers, water bottles, or more unusual items — often with the company name or logo on them).

To get a sense of how different companies handle their kits, we talked to four successful startups about their welcome kits in the article below, followed by our look at a dozen more:

Table of Contents:

This article is based on the personal welcome kit collection of Vladimir Polo, founder of AcademyOcean. AcademyOcean is a tool for interactive onboarding and training (and Vladimir Polo is a fan of welcome kits).


IAC acquires nursing marketplace NurseFly for $15M

NurseFly, a startup that’s created a job marketplace for short-term nursing positions, is announcing its acquisition by holding company IAC.

While the companies aren’t disclosing the deal terms, a source with knowledge of the acquisition said the price was $15 million.

Co-founder and CEO Parth Bhakta told me that hospitals often hire travel nurses (signed for contracts of 13 weeks or a few months) when there’s a staffing shortage, or just because of seasonal needs. He said job sites aren’t really designed to fill these positions, while the existing, offline hiring process is “opaque,” where a nurse’s application “kind of goes into a black hole.”

On NurseFly, on the other hand, nurses can compare multiple offers, chat with employers and research the cost-of-living in different locations. The startup works directly with staffing agencies, charging them a subscription fee (the nurses use the site for free) for access to a pool of qualified candidates who have already provided the necessary documentation.

The startup was founded in 2017 and says it currently has more than 30,000 active job listings, with revenue growing 6x year-over-year. It’s headquartered in San Francisco and recently opened an additional office in Denver.

Bhakta described IAC as the “perfect partner” to help NurseFly “really go after the opportunity with additional resources, really go after it more aggressively with a larger team and organization, to create the best place for healthcare job seekers.”

Bhakta and his co-founder/CTO Eric Conner will continue to lead NurseFly post-acquisition. The company will become part of IAC’s Emerging & Other segment, which already includes staffing platform Bluecrew, and Bluecrew CEO Adam Roston will become NurseFly’s chairman.