Cologne-based how.fm, a digital workforce training platform, announced on Thursday that it has raised $5.4M (approximately €5M) in a seed round of funding led by Join Capital.
Kindred Capital, Capnamic Ventures, Christopher North (ex-Amazon UK CEO), Michael Wax (CEO of Berlin-based logistics service Forto), angel investor Francois Nuyts (Allegro CEO), and business angel Andrej Henkler also participated.
As part of the fundraising, Jan Borgstädt, Join Capital Partner, will join the how.fm board.
The company says it will use the funds to recruit across the business, grow its commercial teams in Cologne and London, and expand into the manufacturing, retail, and food industries.
What does how.fm solve?
Since the pandemic, the trend of online purchasing has accelerated, resulting in an e-commerce logistics boom.
A report from Interact Analysis reveals that “28,500 additional warehouses to be added [globally] in the next five years,” which will need associated staff, all of whom will require training alongside various points of compliance.
Once an employee has been onboarded, it can cost over $7k to replace them due to spending on in-person training, and loss of productivity and quality.
The logistics and warehousing industry has a steep turnover rate of 59.5 per cent YoY in permanent workers and 420 per cent in temporary staff, facilitating 2-4 peaks per year. Thus, it’s critical to acquire a high number of effective employees.
Here’s where how.fm comes into play. The company solves the key high-growth high-turnover operational problems, including fixing labour shortages.
Andreas Kwiatkowski, co-founder and CEO of how.fm, says, “Employers in warehousing and distribution must undertake a huge effort when hiring, training and ensuring compliance for each employee, in an industry that sees exceptionally high levels of staff turnover. As online shopping and e-commerce grow, increasing competition for efficient staff will cost businesses a great deal. how.fm aims to streamline the process of repetitive staff onboarding and management – in each employee’s native language. This allows senior staff to focus on the most valuable areas of the business.”
how.fm: What you need to know
Founded in 2019 by serial entrepreneurs Andreas Kwiatkowski and Farhoud Cheraghi, how.fm provides a software-as-a-service training platform, allowing enterprise customers to onboard, upskill, and support their operators every day.
The company’s software covers pre-onboarding, orientation, health & safety, job-related skills, and work instructions.
The German company says it offers off-the-job training, which ensures complete compliance, and has reduced the churn rate by 5 per cent across its client base.
The company also claims that the on-the-job training it provides has reduced ramp time by 15 per cent, increased output quality by 30 per cent, and live support led to reduced interruptions by 50 per cent.
how.fm’s current clients include leading logistics professionals Kühne + Nagel and Ingram Micro.
Other brands, including Bloom & Wild, Fressnapf, and many more across Europe, use how.fm to generate policies and process training, and train their workers in over 30 different languages.
Join Capital is a Berlin-based, early-stage VC firm investing in the European Neue Industry. The VC focuses primarily on industrial and enterprise startups that are laying new foundations for an increasingly automated and connected world.
Jan Borgstädt, founding partner of Join Capital and new how.fm board member, says, “The logistics industry is under immense pressure to deal with the constant increase in e-commerce, and most logistics contractors have very antiquated onboarding processes. Andreas and his team impressed us with a very short proof-of-value when we introduced them to 4 prospective customers in our network. We liked the execution power that drives the founders as well as their positive resonance within Join’s network, who, within minutes, unanimously recognised the potential added value of how.fm in their day-to-day logistics operations.”
Andreas Andersson, EMEA Safety Lead at Ingram Micro, says, “how.fm helps us overcome the language barriers our business faces every day. The CMS system allows us to quickly set up training material to use for anyone in our facilities, regardless of employment type or country of origin. The fact that we can test the knowledge of each trainee helps us a lot on the compliance part as well. An excellent system that is easy to implement, set up and then use.”