Amit Oestreicher is the Founder and CEO of Xtras and G-nie, platforms that are revolutionizing the on-demand workforce industry in Israel and beyond. With over a decade’s experience as a founder, Amit has successfully built and scaled both platforms from the ground up. At G-nie, a SaaS platform for flexible workforce management, he tackles some of the largest issues within the labor market for businesses of all sizes and industries. His other venture, Xtras, is Israel’s biggest on-demand workforce platform, with more than 20,000 active users. An expert in on-demand staffing and the gig economy, Amit is creating new methods of working that prioritize flexibility and ease for businesses.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [9:16] How Amit navigated the job market crisis during the first quarantine
- [11:20] Amit’s experience with rapid staffing for a COVID lab
- [13:17] Why Amit’s approach to hiring differs from other platform-based work providers
- [15:18] Amit’s thoughts on the needs and preferences of younger generations in the job market
- [16:02] Amit’s unique and effective onboarding and hiring strategy
- [11:13] How businesses and job sectors adapt in a pandemic
- [15:18] The importance of a two-sided rating system for businesses and employees
- [16:02] Ensuring businesses on the platform meet quality standards
- [13:17] Why giving workers one employer across multiple jobs decreases job turnover
- [15:18] The impact of Xtras’ platform on cultivating community among its workers
In this episode…
In this episode, Amit Oestreicher, Founder of Xtras and G-nie, shares his journey of building the largest on-demand workforce platform in Israel.
Starting from his own need in the events industry, Amit had the vision to create a platform that solved the labor market’s biggest pains, from recruitment to scheduling, even during a crisis.
But when COVID hit, the hospitality industry — his main customer base — was shut down overnight. Amit shares the challenges he faced and his strategy of quickly pivoting to other industries like agriculture and operations, effectively making Xtras a more broadly-applicable platform beyond just gigs.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- [Israel Business Series] The Unstoppable Startup : Mastering Israel’s Secret Rules of Chutzpah with Uri Adoni on Inspired Insider Podcast
- “I asked myself, ‘Why don’t I have a button that when I push it, all my workers will come’.”
- “In one day, everything is canceling.”
- “We have an opportunity here to start a new thing.”
- “Let’s just grab the phones and find everyone that’s willing to hear us out.”
- “In less than a week we start to work again.”
Sponsor for this episode
At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution.
We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.
What do you need to start a podcast? When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.
The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.
We make distribution easy. We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.
Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.
The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.
Jeremy Weisz 0:22
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder of inspiredinsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. I have Amit here. He is the founder of Xtras and G-nie, which is G dash N I E.io and Amit before I formally introduce you. I always like to point out other episodes of the podcast people should check out since this is part of the Israel Business Leader Series. I had Uri Adoni, he’s the author of unstoppable startup. He spent 20 years in high tech, 12 years at Jerusalem Venture Partners. And he has a book which is Mastering the Unstoppable Startup: Mastering Israel Secret Rules of Chutzpah. Okay, that was a really good one. I don’t know if you’ve, you’ve heard of that one a meet but it’s a good book. Mois Navon of Mobileye, he talks about Mobileye, in their journey to being acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion. But what struck me about that journey is that, you know, it has a lot of ups and downs, and he had to go back to his family points in the journey to say, we can’t do extracurriculars, we can’t eat out anymore.
We can’t do the niceties because we’re in the lean times right now, at Mobileye. And so, just the entrepreneur journey is a crazy one. So check those out and on inspiredinsider.com and this episode is brought to you by Rise25 at Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and in how do we do that, we actually do that by helping you run your podcast or an easy button for a company to launch or on a podcast we do the accountability, the strategy and the full execution of it. And I mean, you know, we call ourselves the magic elves that are running in the background to make it look easy for the host, and the company to create great content and build great relationships. For me. The number one thing in my life is relationships, I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you thought about podcasting, you should if you have questions, go to Rise25.com. And I’m excited to introduce a meat striker. And he’s the founder and CEO of G-nie and Xtras.
There’s two platforms that are transforming the on demand workforce industry in Israel and, and beyond Israel, with over 10 years of experience as a founder. He’s built and scaled both platforms from scratch. And G-nie, which we’ll talk about is a SaaS platform for flexible workforce management and solves some of labor markets biggest pains for businesses of all sizes and industries, then Xtras is Israel’s largest on demand workforce platform as more than 20,000 active users creating the future of work for workers and employers. And, you know, he’s used some of the innovative technology. And they provide that for businesses, with on site workers on demand in a matter of hours. And it can be for a day, could be four weeks, it could be ongoing. And what’s interesting about your company, unlike some of the gig economy, is you actually take, you know, full responsibility and employ these people, even though they can kind of work in various various things. And I know from Jeanne, there’s recruiting, scheduling, managing all that’s on site. And so we’ll talk about that, but you are an expert in on demand, staffing and gig economy. So thanks for joining me.
Amit Oestreicher 3:53
Thank you very much for the opportunity to talk.
Jeremy Weisz 4:01
I know I mentioned Xtras, and G-nie, but if you could just take a second and tell people about Xtras in what you do and what it does for companies.
Amit Oestreicher 4:14
Well, Xtras is the biggest workforce management platform, we help businesses solve their manpower crisis, even for a day, if they want to work for a day for if you are a gig, or for have to build a team for a longer term that can fluctuate between seasonality and the number of workers depending on project size and things like that. And as he said we take full responsibility over the whole process, from the recruitment stage into the interviews, the scheduling, and we manage them and employ them for the businesses that use our services.
Jeremy Weisz 4:50
Where did you get the idea for this? Because it’s pretty remarkable to have know that many you build this from scratch
Amit Oestreicher 5:00
Yeah, where’d you get the idea? I was working most of my life in the events industry, I was working dining halls and I was an event producer. And in 2013 10 years ago, I needed staff for my event, I was not searching everywhere. When I was young, my friends worked for me. You know, I was calling my friends. Hey, I need a waiter too. They can’t work. And they grew up, they had families, they had more than mortgage, and they don’t want to work in that kind of business anymore. So I was missing, like, 10s Dozens of people for the weekend.
And I knew that if I had a pool of workers, I would, you know, send the word out. And someone would say, yes, I want to take that job. But I didn’t have that, you know, kind of pool of people. And I asked myself, Why don’t I have a button that when I push it, all my workers will come. And then I decided to develop that button. And then X was, you know, created? What kind of companies use Xtras. So when we launched in 2015, we started with the events industry which was very easy for me because I understood the need and the pain. And I had clients all over Israel, that really friends that wanted to use the services, and then we expanded into the hotel industry. So we were mainly in hospitality. And during COVID, everything was shut down in like two days.
And instead of staring at the wall and saying, okay, to businesses that I understood that there is a vacuum because this is a platform that’s connecting demand and supply between businesses that need workers and workers that are looking for jobs. So then we expanded quickly into agriculture, we went into operation, we moved into factories, laboratories, we moved into, you know, we did a lot of business development during that year. And then it became our platform that’s working not only in gigs, and in few of our gigs, but in longer term short term projects and jobs.
Jeremy Weisz 7:09
It’s a stressful industry in general, right, people, sometimes last minute peeping staff, staff cancel, or whatever I could see with COVID, too. You’re in the hospitality industry, right? That’s probably why you have no hair. I mean, this, you know, but the way you pivoted right, and you had to pivot quickly talk about I mean, you say it kind of casually now, but at the time, overnight, you lose your clients. Right? So what were you thinking? And what did you do to keep your head on to actually move forward? Well, it was one of the most stressful moments in my life.
Amit Oestreicher 7:53
When everything was shut down, really, the phone didn’t stop ringing to cancel everything, anyone flowing down, I stopped answering the phone because I knew what’s going to be on the other side.
I stared at the wall for practically 24 hours, like, you know, it was just before the judicial week to him, it was supposed to be like a big, you know, the gigs for the platform. And there were a lot of jobs there.
And we were supposed to launch new features, and everything was supposed to be the stalling of an amazing year. And in one day, everything is canceling. So a really standard wall for 24 hours. And then I called all my staff and told them, okay, everything is shut down. But we have an opportunity here to start a new thing. Let’s just grab the phones and find everyone that’s willing to hear us out and understand that we have a solution. And we just, you know, expanded everywhere. And in less than a week we start to work again.
Jeremy Weisz 9:04
So you were thinking okay, this industry shut down what’s not shut down. So what talk about the pivot and what companies actually you did start working with at that time.
Amit Oestreicher 9:16
That worked with our culture company. That was the first quarantine will billions of unemployed people here in Israel. It was all shocking. You know, it was the time that the whole world saw the zombie attack coming and everybody’s done dying. So yeah, there was a huge shortage of people like everywhere. And a friend of mine connected me to a big agriculture company. We signed a contract. My lawyer didn’t want me to sign that contract. I probably say why? Because it was a very, very long contract. Very long contract, but There was one line missing how much money I’m gonna get from that work. Ben said I made, you’re not gonna sign this contract because they aren’t going to pay you. And I thought, okay, you know what I need to start moving forward.
And they want people in the field tomorrow and I can bring them to people. It’s an IP owed company, it’s a big company. They don’t want to get sued. I’ll find a way to solve it. Let me start working again and say okay, it’s your responsibility, because I’m not new to signing this contract. And I did. Because, you know, there was something that needed to be done. And, you know, people waiting in line because it was the first quarantine. Nobody got out of their homes because everybody thought they’re gonna die. And people just begged for permission to go out of their house, you know, because they’re locked down for weeks. I need to go out, you know, give me permission to tell everybody that I have work to do. They want to volunteer really, they want to manage and just want to breathe fresh air, just like prisoners, seriously.
Jeremy Weisz 11:13
The agriculture industry and also, um, you were mentioning labs, COVID Labs. What happened to that?
Amit Oestreicher 11:20
Yeah, well, one day, one day, we had a phone call, over the pH of one of the biggest kava labs here in Israel, was introduced to me and she asked me, it was Friday. No, it was Thursday. And she talked, she called me and said, Okay, we are starting to build a lab. And we’ll need staff to run the labs. And can you build me a staff of 30 people for next week to do instructions and all kinds of things? And yeah, for sure, I can do that. And that was Thursday. And then she called me Friday, the next day. And she asked me, “Do you remember me from yesterday? Can you be with people now? And I asked her how she is now. And I thought, okay, I can preview people now. But there could be people in two hours or so. Okay. So start bringing them in two hours.
Total, but what about the people for next week? Sit down, don’t forget next week. Start now. And then we brought our people in like flowers. And then she called and said, okay, so you’re bringing people for the evening sheets and for the night shift or for tomorrow as well right? Now, okay, let’s start rolling. And, like 24 hours, you build a staff of dozens of people, we were running like almost 100 people a day and shifts, scheduling through training, and all of that, and you did that, like in a minute.
Jeremy Weisz 12:53
What made you decide to take a slightly different approach, right? Because you actually, I think you were mentioning, employ the people. Even you know, so it’s a little different from, you know, like an Uber or something where they’re not really employed by the company. They’re just kind of gig workers and work on demand. Why did you take that route? Well,
Amit Oestreicher 13:17
I have a little problem. I’m a people’s person, I love people. And I have managed unemployed people for almost 25 years. And, you know, I read researchers, and I’m Generation X. And when you talk about Generation Y, and Zed, they tell them people that they’re lazy, that they don’t work, and all those kinds of things, you know, when talk about the younger generations, but you know, the researchers say that when you ask the younger generations, what they think about the labor market, they were great workers, we just don’t want to work in your way. We were working our way, which is flexibility and the ability to choose the way of life. And it was an experiment to say,
Okay, let’s give them the ability to work whenever they can and walk and let’s see what happens, you know, and I understood that it’s really working because when it gives them full flexibility on one hand, and you give them the assurance that they have someone to talk to, and they, if they have any problems, someone is taking care of it. And they can work in several businesses and they get one salary from one employer, which is us. It gives them peace and quiet, it lowers the retention. They don’t want to leave because they understand the value of the platform and the advantages that we give them. They bring their friends to bring their families like it’s a community of people.
Although you will know, we don’t see them face to face, we interview them by phone or by resume, we don’t meet them on the ground. But their relations, you know, people meet people engaged, we have the first couple that got married, that met in Xtras in a job. You know, it happened just two months ago. It’s amazing. What’s also interesting,
[Continue to Page 2]