Something is working at When I Work. The scheduling app for use with hourly employees has tripled its customer counts in just three years. Chad Halvorson was a grocery store clerk when, at just age 15, he realized how many employees came in on Sunday to check their schedules. By 16, he bought the wheniwork.com domain. Flash forward to 2010, and he built the app and launched the company that year.
Since then, the company has seen tremendous growth. About 8,000 companies and 500,000 employees have found the tool useful for scheduling. Big name customers like Uber, Virgin America and Ben & Jerry's all use it. About 10,000 new customers sign up for a trial each month. That's 3X the number of new sign-ups per month compared to 2014 and 5X the sign-ups compared to 2013. The service has an incredibly low churn rate -- the company claims once it gets customers to start paying, it loses only 1% of them every month and says that's been true since the start. The company has tripled its customers every year for the past three years.
One of the keys to its success, as is true of many startups that build a worthwhile product that meets a pain point, is simple word of mouth. The company says 50% of all new customers just heard about the service from someone else. Another major differentiator? Its customer support team is empowered to go beyond the norm. They've had a few exchanges in public where the rep sent out the customer's favorite candy just as a cheer-me-up.
Of course, all of those happy customers and the low churn rate has led to some incredible revenue growth. In 2013 it had $90,000 in monthly recurring revenue (or $1 million annually). In 2014, it had $350,000 in monthly recurring revenue (or $4 million annually). For 2015, it projects $800,000 in monthly recurring revenue (or nearly $10 million for the year).
It's easy to think the simple word-of-mouth marketing led to this growth, but there's something else at work here. The product is a godsend to managers. They can fill out a schedule and email or text it to an employee in seconds. Employees can then quickly request a change either through the app or online. Managers who are mobile receive this request and can easily approve the change. There's even a Time Clock feature that lets the employees check in, and the manager can use a GPS feature that confirms the check-in is legit.
Editor's note: Traction Watch is a new column focused obsessively on growth, and is a companion to the DEMO Traction conference series, which brings together high-growth startups with high-potential customers. The next DEMO Traction will take place in Boston on September 16, 2015.