drone pilot industry$48 million for payments platform Branch, $7 million for upskilling platform retrain.ai, and more

August 18, 2021by helo-10

August 18, 2021

Funding rounds were recently announced for payments platform Branch along with training platform retrain.ai, “deskless” worker management platform AnthillAI, and work services platform FlyGuys.


Branch — the provider of a platform that provides digital payments to W-2 and 1099 independent contractor workforces — announced Wednesday that it closed a $48 million Series B funding round. Total funding at the Minneapolis-based company is now more than $540 million.

Branch’s clients include Kelly; Tagger, an influencer marketing platform; Delivery Drivers Inc., an independent contractor management solution specializing in last-mile delivery; and Rippling, an HR and IT management platform.

The $48 million funding round was led by venture capital firm Addition with participation from HR Tech Investments LLC, a subsidiary of staffing giant Recruit Holdings Co. Ltd. Others taking part in the round include Drive Capital, Crosscut Ventures, Bonfire Ventures and Matchstick Ventures.

Branch was founded in 2015.


This week, retrain.ai, a New York-based platform that uses artificial intelligence to help organizations retrain and upskill talent, announced a $7 million funding round. The company’s total funding is now $20 million.

The round features a new investor, Splunk ventures, along with Square Peg, Hetz Ventures, TechAviv, .406 Ventures and Schusterman Family Investments.

Plans call for the funding to be spent on expansion in the US, hiring of key talent and product development.

The CEO of retrain.ai is Shary David, who previously co-founded video platform Kaltura. Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf, who previously co-founded an HR startup, is the COO. Chief Technical Officer Avi Simon previously served as chief data officer of the Israel Defense Forces and as CIO and CTO of the Israeli Military Intelligence Corps.


AnthillAI Inc., a Chicago-based platform for managing “deskless” workers, raised $3 million in seed funding. Deskless employees are those who work away from a desk or computer.

The company engages with workers through texting-based surveys and creates talent mapping of a deskless workforce.

The $3 million round was led by Rethink Education along with participation from Origin Ventures, BBG Ventures, The Fund, JFF (Jobs for the Future) and others.

“Future of Work gets a ton of venture investment, but only a tiny percentage has been focused on deskless workers,” said Susan Lyne, managing partner at BBG Ventures. “We believe Anthill can have a huge impact on these overlooked employees, by helping companies identify, internally hire and retain them.”


Venture capital firm Advantage Capital earlier this month announced a $2 million equity investment in FlyGuys, a work services platform that connects drone pilots to clients with aerial imaging data needs. Clients are in industries such as construction, energy and utilities, agriculture and real estate.

“This investment will help us take our business to the next level, allowing us to purchase additional remote sensing technology, or LiDAR, drones, invest in software and technology, and build out our pilot network,” FlyGuys founder and CEO Adam Zaynor said.

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