AUSTIN — Reflex, the online marketplace that helps brands find and connect with retail superheroes on-demand, today emerged from stealth and announced its $4.5 million oversubscribed seed funding round. Indicator Ventures led the round, with additional investment from Sugar Capital and Red Swan Ventures.
The latest round brings the total raised to $5.95 million after Reflex raised an initial $1.45 million pre-seed round in 2021. All previous investors participated in the seed round, including ATX Venture Partners, Precursor Ventures, Active Capital and Clutch VC.
The Austin-headquartered retail marketplace startup has quietly compiled an all-star lineup of angel investors, including retail veterans Jim Scully (former CFO and Chief Administrative Officer at J.Crew), Mike Tucci (former President of Coach’s North American retail division) and Ron Sargent (former chairman and CEO of Staples). Also investing were RetailMeNot founder Cotter Cunningham and Favor CEO Jag Bath.
Reflex offers store leaders and workers a marketplace that supports today’s retail store environment. Even with the boom in online shopping, shoppers still value the in-store experience, and the majority of retail revenue still comes from brick and mortar. Reflex helps retailers find the labor they need to meet in-store demand while ensuring retailers aren’t overspending or underspending on labor. The traditional gig worker doesn’t fit well into this model — retailers want associates with retail experience, but in an on-demand way that doesn’t compromise the in-store customer experience.
A Dual-Sided Marketplace That Solves Retail’s Biggest Challenge
Retail is about people. Retail workers are rejecting conventional work schedules, and they are leaving retail for more flexible opportunities where they can choose when and where they work. Reflex now gives workers the ability to work in retail without sacrificing flexibility and empowers workers to make extra money on their terms and schedules.
“Everyone deserves to be able to design a life where the things that matter most come first, instead of planning your life around work,” Reflex co-founder and CEO Mike Meyers said. “We’ve proven in our first year that there is a better way to work in retail. People want to work on their terms and design their work around their life, not the other way around.”
The company will use the new capital to expand across Texas through the remainder of 2022, as well as add additional major U.S. retail markets over the next 18 months. The seed funding enables Reflex to enhance its product experience for retailers and workers, and the company will accelerate hiring across operations, growth and engineering.
A Better Way to Work in Retail: Gig Is Out; Flex Is In
Retail is going through an evolution. Stores are struggling to have the right people scheduled to work at the right times, while the needs of the new omnichannel sales approach are breaking established in-store labor models. A McKinsey study found that 70% of retailers plan to rely more heavily on flexible labor over the next three years.
Many national brands, including premium clothing and lifestyle brand Faherty, currently work with Reflex to leverage a more flexible operational model.
“With a tool like Reflex, a store manager can protect the internal and external customer experience. That is something we are not willing to sacrifice,” said Alan Martin, VP of Retail at Faherty. “These days, the store manager must react to footfall pattern changes, in-store web fulfillment and inconsistent stock receiving while still driving in-store activities to create a memorable shopping experience. Having a modern way to get talent in the door quickly to support these variables has made our business better, for the team and the customer.”
Investor Perspectives on $4.5M Seed Funding Round
“Reflex is a game-changer for retail. No one else is delivering this type of value for store managers and workers alike,” said Geoff Bernstein, General Partner at Indicator Ventures. “Because it’s purpose-built for retail, Reflex reflects a keen understanding of what managers are looking for and how today’s workers want to structure their work.”
“Having worked for and with retailers for most of my career, I understand the pain points of staffing,” said Brian Sugar, General Partner at Sugar Capital. “After getting to know the Reflex team and seeing their growth across multiple national brands, we believe Reflex will help retailers leverage flexible retail talent to make staffing stores pain-free and efficient. Reflex will become a must-have solution for all retailers.”
To learn more, go to workreflex.com.