When Jordan Boesch was working for his father at Quiznos in Regina, he saw firsthand the struggles that restaurant owners face when scheduling and communicating with staff. To help his father, Boesch created 7shifts as beta software to help overcome management challenges within the restaurant industry. When the Quiznos’ staff started using it, he knew there was an opportunity to offer that software to other companies.
“I created the software because I was trying to solve a problem for my dad. I taught myself some programming and started chipping away at it,” remembers Boesch. “I love to learn.”
7shifts streamlines the scheduling and team management process by making it easy for managers to build schedules, optimize their labor costs, manage timesheets, and communicate with staff. Employees can trade shifts, group chat, and see each other’s schedules—all from within the platform and the free mobile scheduling app for iOS and Android. With the ability to connect to the tools that restaurants already use, 7shifts seamlessly integrates with dozens of POS and payroll systems to create labour-optimized schedules and simplify running payroll.
Looking back, in 2014 Boesch and the two cofounders, Johannes Lindenbaum and Andrée Carpentier were accepted into an accelerator program in Silicon Valley – Boost VC. They raised seed funding in San Francisco, then came back to Saskatchewan to grow the company.
“Everyone thought we were crazy leaving the tech ecosystem in Silicon Valley to come back to Saskatchewan,” laughs Boesch. “But this helped us achieve great growth and traction in the early years.”
In 2019, the 7shifts team raised $10 million USD in a Series A funding round led by Napier Park Financial Partners. Then more recently in May 2021, 7shifts secured $21.5 million USD in Series B financing led by New York-based growth equity fund Enlightened Hospitality Investments (EHI), with participation from existing 7shifts investors Ten Coves Capital, Relay Ventures, and Conexus Venture Capital.
“It’s hard to raise money when you’ve lost money from March to September,” Boesch explains as he navigated the raise during the global COVID-19 environment. “But the pandemic can’t change social behaviour. We went through some hard times, but our new investor, Danny Meyer, felt a ton of conviction, and we ended up working with EHI on terms that benefit both parties.”
Because 7shifts felt that the restaurant industry would be bouncing back, they resisted pivoting and focused instead on improving their products and fast-tracking features that were already on their roadmaps, such as task management and health screening tools. Since January 2021, 7shifts has been hitting historical record months—adding over 1,000 new restaurants a month to their platform.
As they scale their platform to meet the needs of restaurants gearing up for the post-pandemic world, 7shifts is heavily invested in the restaurant employee lifecycle and how individuals move through hiring, training, scheduling, paying, and retaining. They recently rolled out their hiring software where managers can easily post jobs, track and rank applicants, and get new hires on the schedule fast.
All of this lends itself to 7shift’s growth goals of creating a robust platform that can integrate with other partners. “We’re on track to do twice as many partner-led integrations than last year,” Boesch says. The 7shifts platform is being used in over 20,000 restaurants today, and stretching for more as they empower restaurant management and employees with new and improved features.
As Innovation Saskatchewan and the Government of Saskatchewan work toward tripling the tech sector by 2030, 7shifts is leaning into that goal as they utilize their raises to grow and hire local graduates and talent within the province.
“Innovation Sask helped us immensely navigating the immigration processes and putting us in touch with the right departments to help us get the right people into the company quickly and effectively,” shares Boesch. “They've helped us navigate IRAP and SR&ED, and continue to play an important part in the tech landscape. They help find the right ministers to chat with, are very helpful working together with SKTech and navigating the private and public sectors.”
“There are a lot of hardworking people that genuinely care about learning here,” Boesch shares. “Finding those people are critical to the success of our ecosystem. It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you have a high learning velocity and want to be part of something bigger. We’re looking across North America, but we’ve found many of those folks right here in Saskatchewan.”
Founders: Jordan Boesch, Johannes Lindenbaum, Andrée Carpentier
Incorporation Date: January 2014