New Platform Bandana Aims To Empower Hourly Wage Workers


Bandana, a new startup founded by CEO Timothy Makalinao, is on a mission to empower hourly wage workers by providing them with access to better job opportunities. Makalinao, who grew up in a working-class household, witnessed the struggles faced by his parents in finding decent work that offered fair wages and benefits. Together with his co-founders, COO Caleb Lee and CTO Larry Zhang, Makalinao is building a platform that aims to rejuvenate the working class of America.

Key Takeaway

Bandana, a new startup, is building a platform to help hourly wage workers find better jobs. By focusing on higher-paying job opportunities, benefits, and convenient locations, Bandana aims to rejuvenate the working class. With a mission-driven approach and an economically sustainable business model, the startup is positioned to compete with established job search platforms. Recent seed funding will enable Bandana to attract users and develop new features, with plans for future expansion and monetization.

Filling the Gap for Hourly Wage Workers

Bandana’s platform serves as a two-sided marketplace, connecting job seekers with employers. The startup focuses on jobs in the New York City area, with plans to expand to other geographies in the future. Its goal is to help workers find jobs that pay above minimum wage, offer benefits like health insurance and paid time off, and are conveniently located near their place of residence. By addressing these key factors, Bandana aims to provide better livelihood opportunities for hourly wage workers.

A Business with a Mission

While Bandana’s mission is rooted in helping hourly wage workers, the startup also understands the importance of building an economically sustainable business. Makalinao, who brings with him a background in strategy and finance, emphasizes the need for the company’s business model to be economically sound. Bandana aims to attract workers without the need for expensive advertising or marketing campaigns, relying instead on the platform’s quality and user-friendly experience.

During an early beta test, Bandana attracted 30,000 users without any advertising or marketing efforts. This demonstrates the potential of the platform to compete with established job search platforms like Indeed. Makalinao believes that by treating workers as individuals, rather than commodities, Bandana can attract and retain the best talent available.

Seed Investment and Future Plans

To bring its platform to life, Bandana recently secured a $3.8 million seed investment led by General Catalyst and Craft Ventures, with participation from Triple Impact Capital, Sarah Smith Fund, and angel investors. The funding will be utilized to keep the platform free for users for approximately a year while attracting both job seekers and employers.

In the long term, Bandana plans to monetize its platform by charging employers for job postings in exchange for access to a pool of high-quality workers. The startup also has plans to expand geographically and introduce additional features, such as certifications that can help workers secure better-paying jobs with opportunities for career growth. Furthermore, Bandana is considering incorporating fintech elements to provide workers with tools for savings and financial literacy.

Building a Community and Reflecting Ideals

Bandana is currently a lean team of six employees, including the three founders. As a mission-driven organization, the startup is deliberate in its hiring process, seeking individuals who believe in its ideals and can represent the wider community that will benefit from the platform. Bandana understands the impact its team has on shaping its public image and is committed to hiring individuals who align with its vision.

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