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Polished POC Leads to $9m Seed Round

Disrupting a very outdated and inefficient job search and application process | Via:

Designing an Experience Specifically for Hourly Wage Earners

In today’s job market, job seekers face numerous challenges in their quest for employment. The process of finding job opportunities with desirable wages has become increasingly complex and time-consuming. Traditional methods of job hunting, such as newspaper classifieds or word-of-mouth referrals, often fail to provide comprehensive and up-to-date information about available positions, especially for hourly wage workers, and especially in a job seeker’s local area. Just the sheer volume of job listings across various online platforms can be overwhelming, making it difficult for individuals to efficiently navigate and identify relevant opportunities.

Many hourly wage job seekers struggle with traditional job boards and employment sites because they are often aggregated from multiple geographic areas. They are often forced to sort through countless job listings across multiple platforms, which can be overwhelming and time-consuming. There is often limited visibility into job opportunities within a specific geographic area, hindering job seekers who are looking to work locally. The process of applying for jobs can be cumbersome, involving multiple steps and platforms, leading to a lack of engagement from potential candidates.

Upwage is on a mission to create $1 trillion new wealth for the 44% of Americans who make less than $16/hr by making it easier to find and apply for jobs in their localized area and making employers seeking these individuals more accessible to their target markets. – “Find competitively paid hourly work close to home”

The team at Upwage needed to build a proof of concept quickly, but, to make an immediate impact, they didn’t want to skimp on quality. The team conducted some initial user research to find out if interviewees use or have used job search sites, which sites, the motivation, difficulties, overall experience, and points for improvement. The vision was to build the experience around a map and provide progressive, granular discovery of job postings and specifics.

Considering All of the Objectives

I had previously worked with the new CTO and he referred the CEO to me to have me help them develop a design direction and do some initial exploration of the sign up process. They were so pleased with the detailed thought that went into the initial few screens, they quickly engaged me to design out all of the primary flows. Some of the primary drivers I kept in mind as I designed out these flows included:

  1. From a technical perspective, job listings were aggregated from various sources into one centralized platform, giving users a 1000ft view of job opportunities, reducing information overload.
  2. Personalized Recommendations: I designed out robust filtering to deliver personalized job recommendations based on a user’s skills, experience, and preferences. This ensures that users only see relevant job opportunities.
  3. Geolocation Features: Upwage leverages geolocation technology to display job listings based on the user’s location, making it easy for job seekers to explore opportunities in their local area. I designed a UI that made it easy to sift through a display that would often contain dense mapping results.
  4. Progressive Disclosure: For every job listing, comprehensive insights into requirements, work environment, and employee experiences provided detail at varying levels allowing users to quickly assess their interest in applying for a job without have to spend a lot of time moving back and forth from the search map.
  5. Mobile First Approach: I took a mobile first approach based on my understanding of the target demographics. 58 percent of Glassdoor users are looking for jobs on their phones, and, according to a Glassdoor survey, 35 percent of job seekers say that they would actually prefer to apply to jobs from their phones.

Results: A $9millon Seed Round

  • The POC lead to a a successful beta launch across a broad user base focused in the LA Metro area
  • The polished POC was shipped in code leading to a $9million Seed round for the company, allowing them to continue to build out the base features of the product and turn their focus to some AI enhanced functionality to attract more employers.


Product Design • UX • Visual Design • Research


B2B • B2C • Employment Tech • HR • Mobile Application • Consumer Tech


Consultant • Fractional Founding Designer