Online retail-worker marketplace Reflex has secured $4.5 million in seed funding which it will use to expand across its home state of Texas this year, and enter other major U.S. markets over the next 18 months.

It will also improve its product experience for retailers and workers, and step up the expansion of its operations, growth and engineering teams.

Reflex lets retail workers find local shifts, helping retailers fill vacancies in such situations as callouts, no-shows, holidays, omnichannel support, and unexpectedly large shipments.

It says that the flexibility it offers retail workers prevents them from deserting the industry for more convenient gig-economy opportunities. The marketplace promises workers higher than average and fast payment.

“Everyone deserves to be able to design a life where the things that matter most come first, instead of planning your life around work,” said co-founder and CEO Mike Meyers.

“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 Texas-based company says it serves 15 million U.S. in-store retail workers, with 70% of retailers telling researchers for McKinsey that they were planning to tap into the independent workforce over the next three years.

“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 client company 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.”

The fresh investment takes the total sum Reflex has raised close to $6.0 million, following an initial $1.5 million pre-seed round in 2021.

The oversubscribed seed funding round was led by Indicator Ventures, with participation from Sugar Capital and Red Swan Ventures, alongside former executives from J.Crew, Coach and Staples.

Previous investors, including ATX Venture Partners, Precursor Ventures, Active Capital and Clutch VC, also participated in the seed round.

“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,” said Geoff Bernstein, general partner at Indicator Ventures.

Brian Sugar, general partner at Sugar Capital, added, “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.”

The Austin, Texas-based marketplace was founded by Meyers and Carson Jones.

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