Instant Teams raises $1.5M to grow platform connecting military spouses with remote work - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Feb. 13, 2020 2:44 pm

Instant Teams raises $1.5M to grow platform connecting military spouses with remote work

The round was led by Baltimore-based Squadra Ventures.
Instant Teams cofounders Liza Rodewald and Erica McMannes.

Instant Teams cofounders Liza Rodewald and Erica McMannes.

(Courtesy photo)

While running software company, Liza Rodewald built remote teams for work in the government and healthcare sectors. During that time, she became accustomed to distributed teams.

When she married a service member, she also connected with another community of distributed workers: military spouses.

“Most military spouses live in Facebook groups online. At least 10 times a week you see, ‘Where do I find a remote job?'” she said.

It was also a theme she heard as she lived in predominantly military neighborhoods. She became a mentor to other military spouses who were seeking to continue career growth, even as there was uncertainty about how long they would be in one place and move every two to three years.

“There were so many different types of skillsets that were being underutilized,” she said.

Meeting Erica McMannes in 2014, Rodewald connected with a fellow military spouse with tech and remote-team building experience, and they pushed forward with a long-percolating effort to build a remote workforce software platform that had a social mission of providing work opportunities for military spouses. They became cofounders of Instant Teams, with Rodewald as CEO and McMannes as COO.

After building and testing manually, the cofounders launched the software platform to automate the process of building and managing teams, called Arti.

Companies on Instant Teams’ platform define hiring requirements and provides onboarding and management. It’s offered on a software-as-a-service model. For the folks looking to join the team, there are four layers of vetting. Then, the platform provides connections to work as well as participation in customer groups via Slack that help them stay connected.

“We’re super excited to be able to give that solution directly to the military spouse community,” Rodewald said, and connect them “with companies that have the need.”

Last year, workers on the platform contributed 40,000 hours of work to over 40 customers. Rodewald said many of those on the platform are working in administration and marketing, with customer success being one frequently emerging role, as well as tech support.

That growth caught the attention of Baltimore-based Squadra Ventures, which led a $1.5 million round for the company, Instant Teams announced this week.

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“With the ability to rapidly spin up teams of pre-vetted, skilled professionals on-demand and integrate them into a customer team, Instant Teams has raised the bar for what executives should expect from their outsourced solutions,” Filippelli, who is managing partner at Squadra Ventures and joining the company’s board, said in a statement. “What Liza and Erica have accomplished over the last three years has radically changed the access to and availability of professional opportunities for the 24% of active-duty military spouses who are unemployed. This is the kind of impact that changes lives, and we are all in.”

With the new funding, the 11-member distributed team is looking to bring on new executive leadership and scale sales, as well as continue developing the product with leadership from an in-house team. Rodewald, who is currently based in Honolulu, Hawaii, said the team is planning to grow its presence in Baltimore as it continues to hire. Currently, there are eight positions open within the company itself.

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