Cincinnati’s UpShift Brings New Way to Hire to Columbus

Cincinnati-based startup UpShift is now active in Columbus and on its journey to become the largest employer in the state by 2020. Also building its presence in Cleveland and Dayton, the digital platform looks to achieve its lofty employment goal by connecting businesses in need of extra workers with pre-qualified “UpShifters.”

It’s a win-win for businesses and the individuals finding work through the platform. Businesses get shifts filled without an HR headache; individuals – which the platform calls UpShifters – have the control to work when and where they want to.

Inspired by the pain points CEO Steve Anevski experienced as a bar owner and operator managing upwards of 150-200 hourly employees, UpShift is optimal for convention centers, catering halls, event venues, industrial facilities – operations where a constant churn of employees are needed on an ongoing basis.UpShift Logo

Employers post shifts, from a single day to multi-day opportunities, for positions that require little training for an individual to jump in and be effective, and don’t fall under the umbrella of skilled labor – think banquet bartenders and servers, housekeepers, warehouse fulfillment, etc. The employer reviews the UpShifters that have applied, chooses who they want to work with, and voila – shift filled. UpShifters are W2 employees of UpShift – meaning everything from interviewing to withholding taxes is handled by the startup. Free to use for those looking for work, UpShift makes money by charing businesses a fee at the completion of a shift that covers various insurances and taxes.

Scrambling to find 40 extra employees that a business might only need for a few days a month is extremely difficult, especially through traditional hiring methods explains COO Alex Pantich. UpShift provides a revolutionary, time-saving alternative finding ready to work ’employees’ at the touch of a few buttons.

Pantich explains that they call the individuals that work for them UpShifters instead of employees because it’s a very different mindset. They’re not given a schedule or told where to work.

“It’s really based on empowering you to work around your own schedule and work how you want,” says Andrew Farren, head of HR.

UpShift address potential employer concerns of finding qualified candidates with a rigorous vetting process.

Before taking any jobs, UpShifters are required to take a pre-employment assessment.

“About 60 percent of people fail that assessment,” Pantich says.

Make it past the assessment and the individual then has to physically visit UpShift’s office for a document check request. Show up on time with their information, and an individual is demonstrating they can show up on time for a shift.

UpShifters are also motivated to make an impression because there are consequences for a poor job done.

“The companies that use UpShift are able to rate the employees that work for them,” Farren says. He also notes that employers can see the ratings other companies have given an UpShifter, what kind of work they did, and how effective they were.

It keeps individuals from applying for shifts they are not qualified for as it directly affects their future potential on the platform.

Pantich says it’s a mix of folks using UpShift as supplemental income and those picking up shifts full-time. Some UpShifters might even move on to full-time employment with the companies they pick up at, either through their work ethic or UpShift-to-Hire options coordinated through the platform.

Since its expansion to Columbus, UpShift has quickly gained some notable clients, including OSU, the Columbus Zoo and Sodexo, along with a plethora of wedding venues across the city.

A napkin idea and a track record of entrepreneurial success put Pantich and Anevski into Cincinnati accelerator The Brandery to build UpShift in the fall of 2016. The platform started to gain traction in early 2017 before expanding to Columbus later that year. Pantich says the expansion was a logical decision – it’s close, they know the market and they city is growing.

Pantich believes the UpShift alternative to the traditional hiring process will make them the largest employer in the state by the end of the decade. From there the plan is to keep expanding, first regionally then nationally.

For more information, visit