In this conversation, Scott Absher discusses the role of technology in human capital management and the need for reliable solutions in managing flexible labor. He emphasizes the importance of understanding gig economics and the user experience when evaluating technology partners.
Scott also highlights the potential of technology to bring reliability to the variable overhead of businesses. He shares insights into the company’s acquisition plans and expansion into different submarkets of human capital. The conversation concludes with a discussion on the significance of infrastructure for leveraging gig workforce and the future plans of the company.
- Technology can greatly improve the management of flexible labor and bring reliability to the variable overhead of businesses.
- When evaluating technology partners, it is crucial to consider their understanding of gig economics and the needs of gig workers.
- Infrastructure that connects gig workers, employers, and legacy systems is essential for leveraging gig workforce effectively.
- The company has a strategic acquisition plan in place to expand into different submarkets of human capital.
- 00:00 Introduction and Background
- 01:35 Recognizing the Need for Technology in Human Capital Management
- 03:07 Evaluating Technology Partners
- 04:14 Bringing Reliability to Flexible Labor
- 06:15 Acquisitions and Expansion Plans
- 08:18 The Importance of Infrastructure for Gig Workforce
- 09:49 Future Acquisition Plans
- 11:08 Closing Remarks
Mike Elliott (00:00.832)
to another exciting episode of CEO Roadshow. I’m your host, Mike Elliott, and today we’re diving into the innovative world of gig economy solutions with special guest, Scott Epsher. He’s the CEO of ShiftPixie, a company revolutionizing the way businesses manage their workforce in today’s fast-paced gig economy. ShiftPixie, traded under the ticker PIXY, offers cutting edge technology that empowers companies to efficiently navigate the challenges of staffing and human resource management. Their platform seamlessly integrates workforce management and compliance.
making it a game changer for businesses looking to adapt to the evolving landscape of employment. In today’s interview, we’ll uncover the vision behind Shift Pixie, explore their unique approach to solving modern workforce challenges, and discuss the future of gig economy with insights from Scott himself. So stay tuned as we delve into the story and strategies of Shift Pixie right here on CEO Roadshow. Welcome, Scott.
Scott Absher (00:53.234)
Mike, thanks for having me again.
Mike Elliott (00:56.096)
Well, let’s dive right into it. Let’s talk about recent developments. How do you think the recent developments such as financial offerings and technological integrations have impacted Shift Pixies position in the market?
Scott Absher (01:08.054)
Well, I think we were probably ahead of our time, to be honest. The technical innovations that we developed were based on a number of years in managing human capital. We knew that there would be a home for it in the marketplace in a couple of different verticals. We focused our whole attention on especially part-time labor or flexible labor because we knew that was an underserved part of the market. It was kind of a choke point.
in the human capital markets and we knew that with technology, we could better serve that population and make better connections for those people that relied on it. But we were still very ahead of our time. There was still, to this day, a very manual management of that type of human capital. And we’re just now seeing people recognize that it’s kind of a choke point in their business and that if they could become more stable.
and stable through technology, that it could be a more reliable and probably better leverage their overall human capital across both fixed and flexible human capital.
Mike Elliott (02:18.616)
Okay, great. So we know that adopting the right technologies and digital training tools is the key to implementing a successful gig customer experience. What criteria should a Fortune 1000 company prioritize when selecting technology partners to support their gig customer experience strategy? And how do these criteria align with ShiftPixie’s technology stack?
Scott Absher (02:40.098)
Well, I would say that the first thing to consider is if you’re considering a technology partner is do they really understand gig economics? Do they understand the ethos of this new gig workforce? Why do people, why are people motivated to use gigs as opposed to fixed full-time labor? What sorts of things do they need? What should their user experience be? And I think a lot of technology providers may not have thought through that.
And again, ours is born out of over 30 years of active human capital management that’s in the dailies and understanding what people need. And then we backed into development. So we came at it very differently. We didn’t come at it technology first. We came at it strategy first. So that’s, I would say, would be a starting place for evaluating a technology partner. In our particular case, again, because it’s rooted in manual, real-time experience, we
We were able to focus the technology development specifically on those areas that we knew we could automate. Some things were still going to have to manually interact, but we’ve succeeded in automating many of those things that were once very manual and very human driven, that were frankly choke points in the whole movement of human capital in a business.
Mike Elliott (04:02.536)
And Scott, in the context of gig customer experience, how would you approach load balancing between internal and external overhead to ensure efficiency and maintain service quality, especially during peak demand periods?
Scott Absher (04:14.574)
That’s a great question. One of the things, and I use the term reliability on the flexible labor. If you think about it, in any business, they have two sides of the ledger. They have their fixed overhead, which in most cases is a big chunk of that is their payroll, their staff. But a lot of large companies, especially in the Fortune 1000, especially in retail and e-commerce, they have another side of their ledger, which is variable overhead.
And that variable overhead scales based on demand or seasonality, whatever the case may be. And there’s this tension between the fixed and variable overhead. The challenge has been for a lot of those that rely on that variable overhead is to keep a full bench or to keep an active pool of workers that engaged. And the tradition has always been that was a manual process, people making that happen.
What we think can happen now for many large companies that rely on this contingent workforce as part of their business model, we think technology can bring some reliability to that, that variable overhead, so it’s much more dependable. And I think that’s where the load balancing concept comes in. The idea that this tension between fixed and variable overhead can now be much better managed through technology. And that load can be much better.
were easily balanced. We should talk about load balancing in technology in the server business and in terms of internet bandwidth, but that was all resolved with technology over time anyway. And so we’re at that kind of place in the human capital markets where now technology can help balance that tension or balance that load between fixed and variable overhead or fixed or variable human capital.
Mike Elliott (06:07.592)
Okay, great. What is, you know, before I forget, can you give us an update on the staffing acquisition we discussed last time on our call?
Scott Absher (06:15.998)
Yeah, we’ve, we have, as we’ve let people know, we’ve been socializing this, it’s not been a secret. We had been very busy curating acquisitions for a SPAC that we sponsored in the 2020 that we ended up ultimately closing down in 22. What remained of that were all these acquisition opportunities that were, there were sellers that still wanted to make a deal. We were a very motivated buyer.
So what we did in the middle of the year this year was we review all of our stack of opportunities, that whole portfolio of acquisition opportunities. And what we did was we put together packages, groups of three or four acquisitions that kind of were strategically lined up. And we also lined up debt capital to address those. And so our first group is.
has been documented, a buyer and seller, we’re all in agreement. What we’re waiting for now is the completion of the debt syndicate for this first group. And again, everybody’s trying to get us in a position where we can close that even yet this year, but it may drift into January, February. But all the work is in motion. Everybody’s engaged. Everybody’s motivated.
And we just got to let the financing process do its thing. You got large commercial banks that they have diligence work they have to do, and things that they have to do in order for them to put terms out there. So that’s the work that we’re waiting on right now.
Mike Elliott (07:58.512)
Okay, great. And this is going to be a follow up question to kind of our earlier question about technology partners. I want to go a little bit further into this. How should a company evaluate a potential technology partners capability to offer scalable and flexible solutions that adapt to the dynamic needs of gig customer experience, particularly in a rapidly changing market environment?
Scott Absher (08:18.646)
Well, you know, when we talk about the gig customer experience, we’re talking about people trying to leverage gig workers as opposed to having a fixed staff. So they’re trying to leverage or trying to create and utilize a flexible workforce so it’s not part of their fixed overhead. And that’s a great idea. There’s some great opportunities to do that. However, if you don’t have an infrastructure, a digital infrastructure,
that really locks those connections together and makes it easy for people that want to do that kind of gig work to access and communicate with you and be trained on it and to actually also manage the initial customer engagement. You got a lot of work to do. If you’re going to leverage that for say a project, let’s say you’re a consumer products manufacturer and you have a new product you’re introducing.
and you want to leverage an agile workforce or a gig workforce, you must have infrastructure that ties back to your legacy business so that everybody, all the stakeholders, anybody that’s in that mix is able to get the data they need, get the connection they need, get the engagement they need to engage your customers.
Mike Elliott (09:39.324)
Okay, great. Well, last question here, Scott, given the recent strategic moves, what is your vision for Shift Pixies future and how do you plan to achieve it?
Scott Absher (09:49.506)
Well, we’ve got, again, a path that we’ve crafted here that we’re very dedicated to and working very hard on that is an acquisition path that takes us through 2024. We’re trying to set ourselves up to close groups or individual acquisitions once a one per month going through 2024.
Some of those are also focused on some of the subsets of the human capital markets, such as medical human capital, such as industrial human capital, technical human capital, and more recently skilled trades, such as the trades that are kind of going off in the ether, the carpenters, the electricians, the plumber type trades. And so we’ve got plans to…
to address some of those sub markets in some very unique ways. Again, leveraging all that we’ve built, everything that we’ve done, and even some of the consumer facing technology that we’ve developed a high level of expertise in are all kind of coming together in 2024.
Mike Elliott (10:56.588)
Great, well Scott, as always a pleasure to have you on the show, that’s all the questions I have for today. I think we covered a lot of territory, really exciting things happening with Shift Pixie. Any other comments you wanna add before we wrap up?
Scott Absher (11:08.694)
No, it’s all good, Mike. And you’re keeping us faithful to our journey, making sure we’re still on track doing our thing. And again, our friction points for getting things closed are really just time. So everybody’s dedicated to the path. And now we just gotta let the time sands kind of run out so we can get some things closed here. We’re all chomping at the bit.
Mike Elliott (11:34.676)
Well, excited and looking forward to 2024. You guys made a lot of progress this year with your technology stack. And, and, you know, I think the gig economy is maturing. And I think, you know, every year that passes, it looks like that the, you know, the directions you chose two, three years ago have become more and more aligned with, with your vision you had back then. I think you guys may have been a little ahead of the game, but I think, you know, you’re hitting your sweet spot right now. And with the incorporation of.
of new technology and analytics and AI especially is going to help, I think, augment, you know, people’s ability to do this gig work and employer’s ability to connect with the right people at the right time. So really exciting investment story there. Scott will continue to follow it for the foreseeable future and hope to catch up with you again soon. Have a great week.
Scott Absher (12:20.622)
That’s sounds great. Thanks Mike.
Mike Elliott (12:23.36)